Tuesday, March 13, 2018

42 Years Ago

On this date, March 13th, my son was born...Gregory Michael Wehmeyer.  I am so proud of the wonderful, responsible, honest, hard-working, humorous, loving man that little baby boy has become!
AND...he's a great dad! Actually...the "World's Greatest Dad" ;o)
I love you Greg and I hope you have a wonderful day, even if it is snowing!

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Friday, March 2, 2018

The Ringling Experience...Part 2 (Outside)

We spent a couple of hours touring the circus museums, then headed toward Mabel Ringling's rose garden.  Mabel was enchanted by everything Italian and that love is reflected in her rose garden.  Unfortunately, every February and October, all of the flowers are trimmed off in order to strengthen the plants themselves.  Hence...no roses in the rose garden ;o(
There is a lot of statuary and pillars, tho.  I can imagine it's quite lovely when all the plants are in bloom.  

There are several huge banyan trees on the property, which I believe covers 66 acres.
We followed the path to The Secret Garden, as well as the Ringing Burial Site.  To be honest, the Secret Garden was not very secret, at least not any more.  John Ringling died in 1936, his wife died in 1929 but they were moved and interred here in 1991.
His sister is buried here also.  There is an interesting article here about how they ended up in this particular spot.

We didn't buy tickets to tour the inside of their 56 room mansion, called Ca' D'Zan (House of John in Venetian) but we will next time we visit.  The outside is spectacular.  I know there are a gazillion beautiful places in the world that I will never see, so this is probably the most breathtaking one I will see.
The outside "deck" is marble and reminds me of a quilt.  I tried to find information about it online but didn't have any luck.  
Longboat Key is in the background
This small walkway surrounds the "deck".
The back of the house overlooking Sarasota Bay
Looking back from the Bolger Campiello and Promenade
FYI...this was their winter home.  We followed the Promenade along the water toward the Millennium Tree Trail.  This sculpture is located along the walk but I couldn't find any plaque describing it.
We continued along, passing the Ellis Japanese Tea House, which overlooks one of the ponds on the property.
We loved this temporary display of bronze heads, designed by a Chinese artist...                 Ai Weiwei.
"Circle of Animals/ Zodiac Heads"
As much as I love the dog, I think the dragon is my favorite.  It was hard taking pictures of them because the sun was so bright.

There is a huge art museum on the property but we didn't get into it, either.  Maybe next time.
Love the roof on this section of the museum (Center for Asian Art) and if you look closely, you can see windows in the upper third of the roof.
One of the statues surrounding the art museum.
We walked back to the Circus Museum to purchase a Christmas ornament and noticed these two trees in bloom.  Not sure what the first one is called but the second one is a Pink  Trumpet Tree.
There is no way we could have seen the huge art museum, as well as tour the house, in the four hours we spent here today.  Next time we visit, we will skip the two circus museums and concentrate on the areas we didn't see.  

You can learn some fun facts about the "Mansion the Circus Built" here.

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Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Ringling Experience...Part 1 (Inside)

After wanting to visit this venue for several years and cancelling plans to go in January because it was so cold...the weather today was perfect for visiting!  It took us a little more than an hour on the road to get here but we traveled without incident and arrived around 12:30.  

Our first stop was the Tibbals Learning Center, which houses a handcrafted, nearly 1 million piece, "3800 square foot, 1/16th scale model three-ring circus".  It's basically a complete miniature circus village.  My photos do not do it justice; it's very impressive!
The Center Ring
The mess tent
Elephants preparing to enter the big tent
The Side Show entrance with posters
This is looking down from the second floor...
Remember, each one of the pieces in this display was hand crafted, including the folding chairs, pots, pans, dishes, animals...everything!

This building also includes a lot of historical pieces and memorabilia, including this Bandwagon.
This is an elephant blanket...very ornate and LARGE!
There is a tightrope to be walked, a partial horse to be ridden and even a small clown car.  I'm not very big and I was squished.
Upstairs, along with the areas to overlook the circus town, there is a huge, hand carved circus parade.  I'm guessing it may be over 100' in length; I can't express how small these pieces are and there must be thousands of them!
We ate lunch at the Banyan Cafe, then checked out the Original Circus Museum.  This building houses historical papers, props, costumes and the railroad car used by John and Mabel Ringling.
There is a walkway on the other side which allows visitors to look inside.

There is also a group of volunteer woodworkers that meet weekly to maintain and repair all of the wood pieces in the museum.
This totally amazes me!

Considering that the circus called it quits within the last year, we are so glad that so much of this history has been saved and is shared.  
Self portrait
I always loved these mirrors...they made you tall and skinny or short and fat but we always laughed and we would stand in front of them over and over and over.
This is one of the cages that transported the large cats.
Check out the woodworking and the awesome tires.   Actually, wheels is probably a better term.

I never saw a side show and it could never be done in this day and age, but I can remember posters from the Acton Fair, of all places.
The Bearded Lady
The Fat Lady
The Siamese Twins
That wraps up the part of our day spent inside.  Stay tuned for the outside adventure!

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