Trip Start Oct 04, 2007
142Trip End Feb 03, 2008
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We first visited the Asolo Theatre
Our next stop was at the Circus model built by Howard Tibbals over 50 years. It is a painstakingly accurate replica of the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey circus from 1919 - 1938. It consists of 8 main tents, 152 wagons, 1,300 circus performers and workers, more than 800 animals and a 59-car train. It occupies 3,800 square feet. Photos do not do it justice. Inside the ticket office, where no one can see, is a man sitting at a desk, with a cash register, with money in its drawer. When asked why he built something no one would know was there, Tibbals said he knew.
On to the Circus Museum where we took a tour with a very knowledgeable guide. This had costumes, clown faces (did you know that clowns patent their look?), circus wagons etc.
We just made the 16:00 tour of Ca d'Zan which was conducted by the same guide. She is a lace restorer and she had spent years restoring the lace work in the house. We found this house overwhelming - not the sort of place you'd feel comfortable curling up on a sofa and reading a book. Often at weekends the Ringlings would invite people for a sit down dinner - about 100 people. Mable liked to look after her guests so she would employ 50 butlers so everyone was served at the same time
After this tour we just had a little time to quickly race through part of the Museum of Art that John Ringling built to house the Art he donated on his death to the State of Florida. By no means could we say we did this building justice. But we did see the two rooms he bought when one of the Vanderbilt (we think) New York mansions was being demolished. There was a beautiful display of intricate fans in one of these rooms.
Back to the hotel for a swim in the pool for Tom (Ruth had found the water too cool yesterday) before a wander downstairs for dinner in the hotel restaurant.