New Year's in Sarasota: Friends, Food and Cuban Flair
Discover the wonder of “The Greatest Show on Earth” at the Ringling mansion and museums, get a taste of Cuban culture in Ybor City and ring in the New Year with a Cuban celebration!
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Program No. 21262RJ
6 days
Starts at
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6 days
5 nights
13 meals
5 B 4 L 4 D
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Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Sarasota, FL
Lido Beach Resort

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 4:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. After you have your room assignment, come to the Road Scholar table in the 8th floor hallway to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, other important information, and to learn when and where the Orientation session will take place. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. Orientation 5:00 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: In our private room in the hotel restaurant, we will enjoy a catered dinner, including coffee, tea, water.

Evening: After dinner we'll spend some time becoming better acquainted with participants and program staff. Find out what we have in common beyond a love of learning! The rest of the evening is free to continue making new friends or just to relax and prepare for the full day of activity ahead.

Ringling Museum, Architecture Walk, Transfer to Ybor City
Sarasota, FL
Lido Beach Resort

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles.

Breakfast: In our private room in the hotel restaurant, we will enjoy breakfast, plus coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We will discuss Ringling as a collector and the architectural elements of his famous home, as well as delve into the social and political backgrounds of the late Renaissance and Baroque periods, including Peter Paul Rubens and his contemporaries featured at the museum. After a short break, an architecture instructor-artist will provide us with an overview of historic buildings from an architectural viewpoint, as well as points of interest we’ll encounter on our guided walk.

Lunch: In our private room in the hotel restaurant, we will enjoy a lunch, including coffee, tea, water.

Afternoon: This afternoon, we will partake in an historical walk through Ybor City with our Cuban guide, as well as a visit to the Ybor City Museum State Park. A stop for a coffee or mojito is included.

Dinner: At a restaurant in the Ybor City Historic District, we will enjoy dinner featuring Spanish and Cuban cuisine, plus coffee, tea, water. Over beverages available for purchase.

Evening: After dinner we will enjoy a Flamenco show at the restaurant as we savor our dessert.

Historic Ybor Sites, Ringling Museum Complex
Sarasota, FL
Lido Beach Resort

Activity note: Walking up to 1.5 miles at Ringling Museum Complex.

Breakfast: Hotel meal.

Morning: This morning, with our Cuban expert, we will delve into historic sites and statues, like the José Martí statue we saw yesterday in Ybor City. After our lecture, we will continue our exploration of the Ringling Complex with a walk through the palatial Ca' d'Zan, with a local guide. Ringling’s estate, described as “the last of the Gilded Age mansions” to be built in America, was based on the unique style of Venetian Gothic palaces. We will next move to the Circus Museum, established in 1948, where we will view colossal parade and baggage wagons, sequined costumes, memorabilia and artifacts documenting the history of the Ringling family circus. It was in Sarasota that the circus movie, The Greatest Show on Earth was filmed. Next is the museum’s Tibbals Learning Center, which houses an exhibition of circus posters ranging in size from window-sized to barn-sized. The learning center also contains the world's largest miniature circus, the Howard Bros. Circus Model, a replica of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus from 1919-1938, created over a period of more than 50 years.

Lunch: At a restaurant at the museum complex, we will enjoy a pre-ordered lunch, with coffee, tea, water included.

Afternoon: After lunch, we will continue to the Ringling Art Museum, where local docents are available for guided visits. Officially opened in 1931 after years of halted constriction due to financial woes and Mable Ringling’s death, the building was designed to emulate Florence’s Uffizi Gallery by architect John H. Phillips. After leaving the Art Museum, we will have time to explore the gardens and grounds, preserving the exuberant lifestyle of America’s spectacular Roaring Twenties. The beautifully landscaped grounds contain over 400 species of exotic Florida trees, plants, flowers, sculpture garden figures, and Mable's historic rose garden.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: We will continue our exploration on the historic circle before returning to the hotel.

Sarasota Architecture Walk, Bay Cruise, Cuban New Year’s Eve
Sarasota, FL
Lido Beach Resort

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles. Minimal walking from bus to afternoon cruise on Sarasota Bay.

Breakfast: Hotel meal.

Morning: We will board our private motorcoach as we explore the exterior of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center, designed by architect William Wesley Peters of Frank Lloyd Wright's firm, and dubbed "the purple cow" and "the purple people seater" when it first opened in 1970. We’ll then continue on to the Sarasota Visitor's Center Museum for a deeper understanding of this fine city’s local history. We’ll begin our expert-led walk in downtown Sarasota, focusing on significant architectural landmarks and starting at City Hall, highlighted by the 1926 Sarasota Times Building, designed by Dwight James Baum, plus other significant buildings.

Lunch: Lunch in downtown Sarasota. Part of the charm of this program is choosing the cuisine you prefer, whether classic North or South American, Asian, French, Greek, Indian, Italian, Spanish, and many more.

Afternoon: After lunch, we will board our ship for a relaxing, entertaining, and informative cruise through calm waters along the shoreline of Sarasota Bay, flanked by palm trees. As our guide tells us about some of the area’s fascinating history and folklore, we’ll be able to gaze at magnificent homes right out of Architectural Digest, and, if we’re lucky, we may see local bottlenose dolphins or manatees.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we will start our evening festivities with a New Year's buffet dinner, plus coffee, tea, water.

Evening: After dinner we will ring in the New Year with old and new friends. Our New Year's Eve party will end at 11:00 p.m., with the opportunity to stay until 12:00 midnight. Various hors d'œuvre items will be available for our enjoyment, along with two glasses of either wine, beer, soda, or water, plus a champagne toast. Other beverages available for purchase.

Clowning, Circus Ring of Fame, Free Time, Circus Folk Class
Sarasota, FL
Lido Beach Resort

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles. Hotel shuttle van can return you to the hotel if requested after the presentation. You must schedule with hotel yourself for a pick up.

Breakfast: Hotel meal.

Morning: We will hear firsthand experiences of the Ringling Bros Circus from a professional clown. We’ll then walk to St. Armand’s Circle, where our clown guide is the emcee of the annual Circus Ring of Fame. The ring commemorates 80 circus greats from around the world with bronze plaques. We’ll also learn more about John Ringling’s role in the development of St. Armand’s Key.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll enjoy lunch, plus coffee, tea, water.

Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: In our private room in the hotel restaurant, we will enjoy a farewell dinner, plus coffee, tea, water.

Evening: After dinner, we will learn about famous circus folks and legendary performers from the past and present, including high wire artist Nik Wallenda, who has done a walk over Niagara Falls.

Cuban Citizen, Program Concludes
Sarasota, FL

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast: Hotel meal.

Morning: Our farewell lecture will be a discussion with a Cuban citizen about his life in Cuba and America, as well as firsthand stories of his family's role in Cuban history. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!