“Over 52, 000 square feet of American Carnival and traveling show history”
The International Independent Showmen’s Museum contains over 52, 000 square feet of American Carnival and traveling show history preserving it for future generations to come. Not to mention acres of show wagons that allowed the carnivals to travel to the cities and towns of America bringing excitement and entertainment to families throughout the years. There’s one of the first Ferris Wheels in the country, which is assembled and in operating condition inside the museum. There’s also one of burlesque performer Gypsy Rose Lee’s slinky black beaded costumes, which turned many a head back in the day she performed with the great Royal American Shows Carnival. And don’t forget the outfit worn by the “Viking Giant” himself, Johann K. Petursson. He stood nearly 9 feet tall and weighed 425 pounds. You will see his colorful costume and the actual boots he wore daily -they’re the size of a small child. See one of the rings he wore that you could fit a half dollar through. The museum features thousands of rare photographs of carnivals, circuses, wild west shows and early traveling shows that brought the main and sometimes only form of entertainment that many towns throughout America would enjoy all year. Visitors will also be able to walk through antique wagons and trailers with ornate facades where show people lived or ran the day to day business of the carnival.
This Museum you wouldn’t-even think it ever existed due to the area being somewhat of a mess for when you were driving to the designated location could spot out many ruined signs, lots of trailer homes, and even some houses without any doors or windows but deep within this there laid a Circus Themed Museum. The prices as of 4/21/18 for admission were $10 per adult/ $7 per student along with being there until it closed plus a bonus on if you were wanting to do some research you could ask the assistant up front, who by the way was very kind!
Overall for my Florida bucket list to visit this area was pleased to say I’d enjoyed the history even though some areas gave me goosebumps, especially the creaky elevator (psst... people who have disabilities of any kind can freely roam around the area for it was somewhat spacious along with you being able to access the second floor by either the stairs or elevator.). In all if you’re a fanatic about oddities, circuses, history, or even needing to experience a Ripley’s vibe this is the place to go.
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International Independent Showman's Association
- Sun, Sat: 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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