On the grounds is located the Ringling Circus Museum, the Ringling Art Museum, and a learning center. After our guided tour of the home, we headed for the Circus Museum. One building contains circus memorabilia from over 100 years of Ringling Brothers Circus. This included costumes, wagons, rail cars, posters, and personal items. It is difficult to convey the beauty and colors of the circus. The second building is filled with miniatures of the circus. Estimated at greater than 50,000 pieces, a full circus of over 1200 employees, tents, wagons, animals and the public is created on a scale of .5 inch per foot. It is in incredible detail. The miniatures are a 50 year effort by Howard Tibbals. One interesting note is that all of the miniatures have the name of Howard Brothers Circus on them. The Feld Corporation, current owners of the Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus name, refused to let Mr. Tibbals use the name on his miniature creation. Quite a silly decision, in my opinion, in view of the free publicity that could be generated, to say nothing of the authenticity of the display.
Below are some of the pictures we took with comments on each picture.
The ceiling in the Great Hall. Hand painted showing various people dancing to the same music.
The Banyan Tree. Its roots grow DOWNfrom the limbs and can cover over
300 sq feet. This is one tree.