For years, I ran up and down I-75 from Key West to see my son who was attending University of South Florida in Tampa. Every time I passed the Sarasota exits, I had a little pain. I knew there was a lovely miniature circus at the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus Museum. It would have to wait. I was either in a big hurry to see my son or a big hurry to get home. After I retired, I found out about the Molly Cromwell Miniature Show in Sarasota and decided I would attend. I had this mission - I had to leave early enough from Key West to reach the Museum about 3 p.m. so I would have at least 2 hours to see the circus I left Key West at 4 am and made the museum about 3. I was in awe. I knew in my heart it would be fantastic; but wow - never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be so terribly enraptured with the museum.
That first year, I didn't see anything other than the circus display, but the following time I went to a show, the hotel was closer to the museum and I spent several hours at the circus and a bit longer touring the rest of the museum. All worth the time to go and see it.
First; the circus model is "The Howard Bros. Circus Model" and not the Barnum & Bailey Circus. Early on, the use of Barnum & Bailey was denied and the "Howard Bros. Circus" stuck.
There are books and many pictures of this circus; I will share some of my favorites.
This is just a small taste of what you will see at the museum. If you're traveling up and down I 75 near Sarasota - find a few minutes and stop and see this museum. It is worth the time. I think it's time for me to go again to see it.