Bodaciously Awesome Family Show: The Ringling and Circus Museum

BAFS Podcasts

Central Florida has more to offer than just theme parks and beaches. Sure, those are the attractions that bring the tourists in, but the area is pretty diverse with cultural locations. Recently, we took a trip to Sarasota, FL to check out The Ringling (and the Circus Museum).

Listen to the podcast episode here:

The first thing we need to mention about The Ringling is that it is IMMENSE. Seriously big. It’s acres and acres big. This gigantic campus contains a museum (well, two, but one was closed during our visit), a mansion, a modern art museum, and a playground (with the World’s Fastest Slide {Note: not official, but it certainly felt that way to us}).

We spent the majority of our visit inside the Circus Museum. The kids weren’t sure if they’d see anything they’d like. Those fears were quickly dispelled when we found “the model.” The model is a giant (giant is an understatement. It is super giant. Mega. It’s like a sideshow attraction all by itself) showcase of what a town looked like when the circus rolled through. Here’s one small section of it:

Circus model

It took us almost 30 minutes just to walk through it. As you walk through you see how they used over 1300 workers to build the tents, cook the food, care for the animals, and create the magic of the circus. Not only does the model give you a physical look at the sights of the circus, but it also fills the air with sounds. Each part of the model is accompanied with different background noise to help put you in right in the circus. One of the kids is convinced he even smelled cotton candy at one point. We ogled at every piece of detail, every sound, every smell.

Whereas the model was the single most impressive thing, it was only the beginning. There is a room dedicated to circus advertising (far more interesting than it sounds). There is also an area devoted to the show itself. Not only can you see famous acts or read about the performers, there are also interactive exhibits like walking a tightrope, a human cannonball model, and stuffing yourself into a clown car. (Note: of course I tried to squeeze myself into it. Getting in was far easier than getting out…)

Apparently you can stuff a 200-pound human into a tiny clown car.

Remember to click on the podcast link above to hear all about this amazing adventure!

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Note: Visit Sarasota County provided the passes for our trip to The Ringling. All opinions in this article and podcast episode are our own. You can learn more about attractions in Sarasota, FL, at or

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