Sarasota is a haven for historical sites, with several attractions related to the unique arts-centered culture and the legacy of circus founder John Ringling.
During a visit to Longboat Key at Casa Del Mar, you can enjoy a wide range of incredible Sarasota historical stops and Longboat Key attractions that are sure to fascinate you and your family.
Below are three essential stops in the area. Don’t miss any of these the next time you stay at our exclusive Longboat Key resort.
Ca’d’Zan is a remarkable structure that served as the former winter home of famed circus magnate and real estate developer John Ringling and his wife. The Ringlings incorporated architectural influences from the Venetian Doge’s Palace and is a prime example of Venetian aesthetics, with a beautiful view of the Sarasota Bay. The house covers 36,000 square-feet in total, has a full basement and it is five stories tall.
A variety tours of the home are available ranging about 45 minutes in length and cover each of the floors where you’ll be able to see the former game room where Ringling may have played poker with other prominent leaders of the time, and the Belvedere Tower which offers one of the most incredible views of the ocean and surrounding scenery in all of Sarasota.
In the outdoor area, you can find a gorgeous flower garden with the coast in view. Ca’d’Zan is located approximately 25 minutes from Casa Del Mar, right across the Sarasota Bay.
St. Armand’s Circle
No visit to Longboat Key is complete without a trip to St. Armand’s Circle, as it’s just a quick drive 10-minute drive away.
Although this area is now known as one of the prime shopping, dining and recreation destinations in the world, it has an interesting story behind its creation. Also tied to John Ringling, St. Armand’s Key was purchased in 1917 by Ringling, where it was first homesteaded by Charles St. Armand in 1893. Ringling developed the area into a shopping center arranged in a circle and residential lots.
Today, the area is still largely commercial, including over 130 stores and restaurants, arranged in a similar configuration as Ringling’s original design.
The Circle is particularly popular for its dessert shops and restaurants. High end boutiques, souvenir stores and clothing stores can be found there as well, along with a range of other specialty boutiques. The Circle also features works originally purchased by John Ringling displayed on a statue walk.
Unconditional Surrender Statue
The famous photo of a sailor kissing an unknown nurse during the V-J celebration in Times Square after World War II was turned into a series of 25-foot sculptures by Seward Johnson. The first version of the statue was located in Sarasota in 2005 and was built with computer technology. It remains one of the most popular destinations in Sarasota. You can find it on Island Park Drive on the Sarasota Bayfront west of Island Park, just a short drive from Casa Del Mar.
These are just a few of the top Sarasota and Longboat Key attractions that you might want to enjoy. Indulge in circus history, visit the beach, and find the best historical sites, the next time you stay at our Longboat Key resort.