“a Wisconsin historic site”
The Ringling Bros. Circus was founded in Baraboo, WI, in 1884 by five brothers: Al, Otto, Charles, John and Alf T. Ringling. Ringlingville was the name for the original Ringling Bros. Circus winter quarters in Baraboo. The buildings, standing along the north bank of the Baraboo River, date from 1897 through 1918 and are the largest surviving group of original circus structures in North America. There are also remains of a footbridge which employees took to cross the river in the winter. The world-famous circus wintered in Baraboo for 34 years until 1918, the year before it merged with the Barnum & Bailey Show (which the Ringlings purchased in 1907) to become the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Combined Shows.
They have shortened days (Mon-Fri) in the spring, are open 7 days a week in the summer, and are closed in the Fall and Winter. Worth it to see their massive Big Top tent they put up for shows during the season!
This was definitely a worthwhile stop on our trip and I would recommend it to others. There was much more to see and do than I expected, even though it is late in the season and some things were closed. I would liked to visit the Ringling mansions also, but we decided to move on.
I think this is a must-see if you have ever enjoyed the history of the circus! I have been very familiar with the Ringling Estate and winter hdqtrs in Sarasota. This is amazing!!! Saw Magic Show, saw elephants being treated to watermelons, camel rides, the most unbelievable collection of hand carved lifesize circus wagons. These are priceless!!! Wardrobe dept., posters from the 1800's! I could go on and on - it is a family oriented place. No, it is not Disney, but takes us back to the elegance and time of The Big Top! I would go again and probably see some of the things I missed!
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Circus World Museum
- Sun - Sat: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
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