Circus World Museum


Step Right Up!

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We had an amazing day at the Circus World Museum this summer. One of the most beautiful areas in the state of Wisconsin, are the Baraboo Bluffs.  Take some time out of your busy schedule and enjoy nature at it's best and...while you're there you might as well spend half a day or better at Circus World! Yes, this is the original home of the Ringling Brothers, all five of them!  

On our visit to Circus World Museum Baraboo, we enjoyed taking in so much history about the famous circus and walked away much enlightened that day! Of course, my husband Steve and I love historical events, news and places of interest. The grounds cover approximately 64 acres of land with about 30 buildings. This would include four original winter quarters buildings, plus the original Ringling Brothers Circus Train complex.

We spent almost five hours at the museum checking out the entire complex. You can see the performance schedule on the website before you go, so you get an idea of what times the shows run. This place is huge, so give yourself enough time for the live shows and exhibits.

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First, we stepped right up...to the circus that is!  We visited the Hippodrome Variety Revue which show cased old fashioned and classic circus routines. The big top show lasted nearly an hour and included tigers, elephants, dogs, magicians, juggling, clowns, acrobats and more. The shows are scattered through the day and spread out enough so you can probably see most of the shows.

 

Amazingly, there is an interactive children's circus in which kids can create their own circus fun. We watched as the loads of kids had so much fun painting clown faces, learning tricks and so much more.  On our way out we saw kids enjoy camel and elephant rides.  But, it's not a true circus without a carousel, and a they have a marvelous one at that!

We especially enjoyed checking out the wagon, costume and animals barns or houses which some date back to the late 1800's. The buildings with the restored wagons are an absolute must see! It would be difficult to even explain the beauty of the circus wagons and such. There are a large number of antique wagons, costumes, rail cars and posters you just have to see for yourself!

The collection of Circus World Museum artifacts is most likely the largest in the entire world. This would include over 210 original wagons and vehicles. The museum also has an excellent collection of circus ads and posters. The collection also includes thousands of journals, manuscripts, original oil paintings, hand bills and a collection of rare photographs.

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We learned from one Circus World staffer that the original Ringling Brothers Circus Parade started out very small and grew with lots of funding from area businesses and merchants and people who love a good circus parade.  However, due to lack of funds, the parade is put on hold! If you go to Circus World's website, www.circusworldwisconsinhistory.org , you can find ways to donate or help their endeavors.

 

Circus World Museum sports a monthly events newsletter calendar.  We just happen to be there on the weekend in July when the host the ever famous Buffalo Bill Wild West Show.  Now, who doesn't like cowboys??  They sport those chaps and, wait...what about Annie Oakley?  She could out ride and out gun any man!  This show was by far A -plus in my book.  An old fashion bank robbery, trick riding and roping...it doesn't get any better.  

I bet school aged kids love coming here on field trips.  Personally, just reading some of the history, made me want to go back in time and be part of that early era.  It's hard to believe Ringling Brothers Circus was founded in 1884 and this establishment is considered an icon, a National Historic Landmark. If your from Wisconsin, you'll love our rich Wisconsin history and if your from out of state, you'll go home knowing so much more!


Circus World is located in old downtown Baraboo, on 550 Water Street, and literally, a river runs through it!  I just can't say enough pleasant things about this place! We love it and so we recommend it to everyone. It is worth every penny of the admission and offers a wide variety of entertainment without fighting huge crowds.



Location & Contact Information

Circus World Museum
550 Water Street
Baraboo, WI 53913
866-693-1500 or 608-356-8341
Circus World Museum
Map Location



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