Circus World Museum Opens May 18, 2018


Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wis., begins its summer season May 18, 2018 with daily Big Top performances seven days a week through Sept. 2 by circus stars from around the world, under the 85-foot diameter European-style tent from the Royal Hanneford Circus.

  • “A tent is the preeminent way to experience and interpret the American circus, says the Museum’s executive director, Scott O’Donnell.
    A tented circus reaches into your soul and adds to the wonder and emotions of the circus performance", he added.

The big tent allows close-up, amazing aerialist acts, each seat is 30 feet or closer to show ring. The hour-long Big Top performance, with a new 1950s Doo Wop-theme this year, also includes: acrobats, jugglers, clowns, unicyclers, clever canines, performing pigs and the talented, enormous yet tender-touching elephants, with live-band accompaniment.

The Museum is open daily May 18–Sept. 27, 2018, 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m., with four live shows:

  • Shake, Rattle & Roll circus-music demonstrations at 9:40 a.m.
  • Tiger Adventures featuring majestic, royal Bengal tigers at 10:15 a.m. and 1:45 p.m.
  • Big Top shows at 11:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
  • Nothing But Nonsense comedic variety show in the Hippodrome at 1:00 p.m.

The schedule changes June 28, 2018; check the Web site for new show times

This engaging history museum has the world’s largest collection of authentic circus wagons, more than 200 wagons and vehicles small to large, in varying condition and stages of restoration, with individual stories of moving circuses from town to town by horsepower and then by rail. Meander the Wagon Pavilion yourself and see the adjacent restoration workshop, or take a guided tour daily at 1:30 p.m. to see these rolling masterpieces of wood-carved art.

The Museum grounds are the original Ringling Brothers Circus’ winter quarters along the Baraboo River and one of Wisconsin Historical Society’s 10 historic sites, and a National Historic Landmark.

 Also enjoy

  1. Collections of advertising posters and circus memorabilia
  2. The original Ringling Bros. Circus buildings
  3. Fascinating new exhibits
  4. Two gift shops


Plan Your Visit

The Inn at Wawanissee Point bed and breakfast is 10 minutes south of Circus World Museum.

Plan on spending at least a half day, but a full day to see it all. The Cookhouse Grill has sandwiches, cotton candy, ice cream and other circus treats. Get your hand stamped to leave the grounds for a picnic along the Baraboo River or lunch at one of the many cafes four blocks away in the Downtown Baraboo Historic District. Parking is free with a convenient drop-off area.

  • See the daily schedule and learn more about Circus World at
  • Circus World is open during rain because many activities are in buildings or under tents.

Book a guest room HERE for a May getaway or call us at 608-355-9899.


Other Museums Around Circus City Open May 18, 2018

H. H. Bennett Studio in downtown Wisconsin Dells, 30 minutes north of the Inn, is open for its daily season May–Oct., 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m., with extended hours after Memorial Day. Tour this inventive photojournalist’s restored 1908 studio and adjacent museum to see his original work, equipment and inventions. Historic site details at

  • See a Victorian Magic Lantern Show, A Thrill in the Dark, May 19 at 1:00 p.m.

The Mid-Continent Railway Museum, an outdoor living-history museum in North Freedom, 10 minutes west of Baraboo, is open for weekend rides May 12 until June 1, then daily beginning June 2. Plan your visit at

Flyways Waterfowl Museum opens for its spring season May 12, adjacent Devil’s Lake State Park’s north shore entrance, Baraboo. Spring hours: Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Details at

Fort Winnebago Surgeons Quarters Historic Site opens for the season May 16, Portage, 25 minutes from the Inn, Wednesday–Sunday, 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. Visit

Historic Indian Agency House At Fort Winnebago opens for the season May 15 and celebrates its 85TH anniversary, Portage, 25 minutes from the Inn, 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m., on 225 acres with a nature trail and at the trailhead of the Ice Age Trail’s Portage segment. Details at

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