Monday, September 28, 2009

Summer Vacation Day 4: Ringling Brothers & Anna Maria Island

Day 4 found us enjoying our first full day in the Tampa area, specifically Sarasota-Bradenton. 

Knowing how much our little ones enjoy the circus, we planned for a must-see adventure to the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus museum.  It was fantastic; although it did require a bit of walking between buildings in the extreme Florida heat and humidity of July.

These are just a few of the pics that I took inside the Circus in Miniature building.  It was an incredible replica of the three ring circus during its heyday.  Basically, the first floor of the museum houses this incredible circus town in miniature providing a historical overview of how the circus traveled from town to town, set up, fed the animals and crew, performed, and broke down for the next town.


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The Circus in Miniature building.





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The left and right sides of the big top.  (Flash photography not allowed)

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View from 2nd story observatory.  The second floor also housed actual period circus costumes including those from Cirque du Soleil from the 1980s.

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Our next stop was the Ringling Brothers museum that housed actual circus artifacts. This building was also amazing to wander around and probably even more fun for our little ones since everything was life-size.

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The following series of pictures shows John & Mable Ringling’s home (also on the museum property).  It was incredibly beautiful, especially that outdoor terrace!  As you can see, their home’s architectural style was very much influenced by their travels around the world.  The interior was also exquisitely designed and furnished.

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After a long morning/afternoon of museum touring, we ended our sight-seeing with a trip to Anna Maria Island. The water was incredibly clear with beach sand the color of sugar.


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Seconds before falling down…

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Moments after having fallen down in the Gulf…makes for one soggy diaper!!!


  1. Valerie--
    What fun, I didn't know such a place existed. I bet the kids
    loved it!
    Cool Beans!!!!!


  2. How did I miss so many posts! The tour of the Circus museum looked like fun, the house was amazing. I'm guessing you didn't go in. That could have posed a problem with the little ones! Your outing at the "ranch" looked like fun, bareback rider and all. She looks like she was having fun too. It looks like you had quite the trip, that blue water looks beautifully inviting!


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