Wednesday, July 10, 2024

The Circus World Museum

I am back from a summer break.  I took the week of the 4th of July off to spend with my family.  We did so many fun activities of which I hope to share with you in an upcoming lifestyle post.  Meanwhile, I am going to interrupt my midwest travel series to do a post on the Circus World Museum, one of the places we went to with my family.    I didn't want to postpone this post until my travel series is over, because it only has circus performances in the summer and I wanted to give this amazing place some free advertising; hoping that some of my readers might make it there this summer!

I have lived in Wisconsin most of my life, and I always knew about the Circus World Museum but I had never been there.  Dummy me thought it was just a museum where you learn about the circus world and see beautiful antique wagons.  Well, it is just that, but so much more!  In the summer, they do FIVE performances, plus there are camel and pony rides, a carousal, a train ride, and a children's play area.

The Circus World Museum is located in downtown Baraboo Wisconsin.  The site has 30 structures, seven National Historic Landmarks, and over 260 Circus wagons.

There was a large alligator statue right outside the museum, so of course we had to stop and take a picture!  The grandkids loved it!

Circus World Museum has 64 acres located along the beautiful Baraboo River.  Pictured below is the Big Top Tent where the main circus performance is held.  

The site of the Circus World today was home to the Ringling Bros Circus from 1884-1918.

The museum shows the history of the circus.  Circus World Museum opened in 1959 and the property was transferred to the Wisconsin Historical Society, who continue to operate the museum today.  The exhibits show the work and life of the Ringling Brothers, and everything and anything you could imagine connected to a circus, such as:  famous animal trainers, circus wagons, street parades, circus trains, side show attractions, clowns, logistics, etc.  

I've always loved vintage images, so my favorite part of the exhibit was all the antique Circus posters.  Did you know the Circus World Museum has one of the largest collections of circus posters in the world?  Yup! 9000 of them!

Circus World has 260 beautifully restored wagons and vehicles.  It is the largest collection of authentic circus wagons on earth!  It is worth coming to Circus World Museum just to see these gorgeous wagons.  They are works of art!

In the museum portion of Circus World they have incredible displays of old circus attractions.

My granddaughter loved the Cinderella carriage. 

The first show we went to was "Kid's World Circus" located in the Hippodrome (a smaller circus tent).  Here children were welcomed up on stage to put on a circus performance for their parents!  They play the part of performers and animals.  Here my grandaughter is playing the part of a lion.  She had to growl and jump through a hoop!

She really enjoyed being a star in a circus!

If the kids get restless there's a nice playground right next to the Cookhouse Grill.  

Being a lover of both art and antiques, I really enjoyed walking through the Deppe Wagon Pavilion to see all the beautiful and incredible wagons.  Here are just a few of my favorites.

They did have a guided circus wagon tour.  We stayed for part of it, but couldn't stay for all of it as the kids got restless.

Finally, it was time for the biggest event of the day:  the Big Top Circus.  This year's theme was "Blast Off" and started with a man walking on the moon (or upside down).

One of my favorite parts of the circus, and also the grandchildren's favorite part, was the poodles.  Oh my, they were so cute and fun to watch.  And you could just tell how much these dogs loved to perform.  They had so much joy and excitement.

This amazing gymnast showed off his incredible strength.

There were jugglers.

The Circus World Museum no longer has elephants, but they still have camels, lamas, and ponies.

My granddaughter loved this aerialists.

The same acrobat who displayed his incredible strength pictured four photos above, also returned to the ring with his wife to perform an amazing acrobatic performance.

They have several vintage trains set up on the property, which my grandson Elisha loved.  He's crazy about trains.  The train pictured below you could inside of.  It was a train once used to haul circus animals.

This tent showed all the freaky side shows circus used to have like the fat lady, the thin man, etc. 

Circus World has a working vintage carousal for the young uns'.  The rides are only $1.00 each!

I love old buildings, and Circus World still has many of their old circus buildings on the property that you can walk through.

A view of some of the old historic buildings as seen from across the river.  Of the 25 Ringling structures that once existed in Baraboo, ten remain:  all National Historic Landmark Structures.

These old buildings were once used to house animals, repair equipment, and practice and train.

I just loved all the circus animal statues.  They are so creative and artistic.  Baraboo has several cool circus animal statues located about town along with other circus theme signage and art.

The Camel House had really cool circus miniature displays that my grandkids just loved.  Kids love miniatures!  There is a mega miniature Circus display located inside the C.P. Fox Wagon Restoration Center that is not to be missed (not pictured here)!

Not all of the historic buildings are open to the public, but you can still enjoy them from the outside!

Well, it was time to round up the gang and head back home.  They were kinda out of control, so I had to put them in a cage. 😆

Circus World Museum has other performances I didn't get photos of.  There is a human cannonball once a grandkids thought that was awesome!  They all have a musical performance, which we only saw half of because it was at 1:00 and we were just getting back from lunch.  My daughter really enjoyed the half we saw and wished we could have seen all of it...oh time!

Circus World is open daily from 9:00 to 4:00 during performance season (May 17-September 1, 2024), and I strongly suggest getting there when it opens if you want to see and do everything.  We barely spent anytime in the museum portion as there was so much to read and with little kids, it wasn't possible.  My husband was disappointed in that as he is a huge history buff. But I noticed during their off season, tickets are only half price (they only do circus performances in the summer), so we will have to go back.

The admission is so inexpensive when you consider almost everything is included with admission (pony and camel rides, train rides, and the carousal are extra).  It is $23.00 for adults and teens, $20 for seniors, $15 for children ages 5-12, and children under 5 are free.

Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!


Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Hocking Hills Ohio: Old Man's Cave

This post is day two, part one of a travel series of our road trip in the midwest where we traveled to four states:  Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana to visit one state park, two national park, and a historic farm..  To start at the beginning, go HERE.  The rest of the posts in consecutive order are HERE.

On our second day in Hocking Hills we woke up super early to hit the most popular trail in the park:  Old Man's Cave.   Old Man's Cave is normally super crowded, but we were only the second car in the parking lot on the day we were there, plus it was drizzling a bit, so we had the trail pretty much to ourselves for most of our hike;  which we loved.

If you remember my post from last week, I showed a diorama we saw at the Visitor's Center which displayed the Old Man's Cave trail.  It is such a cool trail because the entire trail is deep inside a gorge with many interesting geological attractions like waterfalls and caves.

The trail is a one-way 1 to 1/2 mile loop trail depending on where you decide to exit the trail.  You start the one-way loop trail at the Upper Falls so right away you see immediate beauty and you didn't have to hike for miles to see it!

                                Upper Falls

I just love the old stone bridge above the falls.  I think the mix of modern architecture with the natural geological formations was one of my favorite things about this trail.  The creators did a beautiful job making sure all the bridges and steps blended well with the natural surroundings.

We took a lot of very short videos of all the highlights of this trail.  This first video shows the Upper Falls.

The Devil's Bathtub

The Devil's Bathtub is the next trail highlight we came across.  I included a video that shows the Devil's Bathtub in action and also a photograph of the plaque that explains the natural phenomenon.

There were so many picturesque bridges to stop and take a photo on;  and of course we stopped at each and every one! 😀

My hubby found this geological formation humorous:

A Frame Bridge Over Gorge

The A Frame Bridge over the gorge is just stunning.  And right below it is a very interesting foot bridge over the creek.  The A Frame Bridge and the foot bridge are works of art in a forest!  Even though it's perfectly safe, I was a little nervous walking across it because there are no handrails and my eyes played tricks on me with the water below and all the different levels of the bridge.  My husband took a humorous video of me attempting to cross the bridge, you can see that below.  Try not to laugh too hard. 😆 I am not an athlete.

We saw a couple of more interesting rock formations before we reached Old Man's Cave.

Old Man's Cave

If you have little kids, they will love walking through this tunnel of rock!

Old Man's Cave isn't actually a cave, but a huge cliff overhang.  It is about 200 feet long, 50 feet high, and 75 feet above the stream.

Here is more information about the cave and also how it got its name. 

I actually found the area around the cave more interesting than the cave itself.  I loved the steps leading up inside the cave.  Can you see them in the photo below?  They blend in with the sandstone so much.

There is also another gorgeous stone bridge and a Romeo and Juliet style balcony!

Right beneath the cave is another little waterfall.

This is the view from inside the cave.  I love the "frame" the cave walls naturally provide.

And finally, here is a video of the entire cave, starting with walking up to it and the view from the inside of the cave.

From here you can continue up and out of the gorge completing your one mile loop or you can hike another a half mile to see more interesting sites.  We hiked the extra half mile, plus another 1/4 mile detour to see "Broken Rock Falls".

Once again, I was blown away by the man made architecture and how beautifully it blended in with the natural surroundings.

There is so much gorgeous green moss in the gorge as it is the perfect growing environment.

Of course we found another cute bridge to stop and take a photo on!  😁

Did I mention how much I love moss?

Sphinx Head

The next natural highlight on the trail was the Sphinx Head.  I had to squint my eyes and look pretty hard to see it, but eventually I did.  Can you see the sphinx head in the second photo pictured below?

Lower Falls

The Lower Falls is the last big highlight of the trail.  Once you reach this point, you can either climb back up out of the gorge or hike 1/4 further to see "Broken Rock Falls".

A video of the Lower Falls

The Lower Falls is very serene.  I loved the huge rock wall in the area.

And of course it had yet another gorgeous stone bridge! 😀

We started to climb back up and kept seeing one jaw dropping sight after another.

Pictured below are the steps to get you out of the gorge and back to the Visitor Center, or you can hang a left like we did and hike 1/4 mile further.

Broken Rock Falls

"Broken Rock Falls" isn't much to see, and quite frankly isn't worth the extra 1/4 mile hike, BUT, the trail leading to "Broken Rock Falls" is pretty cool!

Eventually this "cool" trail comes to a complete end where you see a little trickle of water flowing through a broken rock.  The falls are very aptly named.

Yup, this is it.  Broken Rock Falls 😆.  Can you see the trickle of water in the top right corner?

I hope you enjoyed hiking Old Man's Cave with me today.  Once again, I could not believe I was in Ohio.  This is quite the trail and definitely not one to be missed if you are ever in the Hocking Hills Region.

Because next week is a holiday week, I will not be posting that week.  I will be back with more trails we hit on Day 2 on July 10th.

Have A Great Day and a Happy Independence Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!