Circus World and Ringlingville keep the circus tradition alive and well in Baraboo, Wis.
Baraboo, Wis., is a small town that is big into the circus. The birthplace of Al Ringling, the town served as the winter home of his Ringling Bros. Circus. Today, this small town just 13 miles south of the Wisconsin Dells and 40 miles north of Madison, Wis., is home to Circus World. (For more information on Dells activities, read our articles on Dells water parks and family thrills and relaxation.)
The attraction, which sits on the site that once housed the Ringling Bros. Circus during the winter months, celebrates everything circus. It presents a one-ring circus daily during the summer, houses the largest collection anywhere of intricately carved and restored circus wagons, and provides tours of Ringlingville—the largest surviving group of original circus structures in North America.
While Circus World is its best-known attraction, Baraboo also is home to some natural wonders. Devil’s Lake State Park boasts 500-foot sandstone cliffs that make it one of the premier (and few) Midwestern rock climbing destinations.
The International Crane Foundation is a world center for study and preservation of cranes, the tallest flying birds found in nature. It claims to be the only place in the world where visitors can see all 15 species of cranes in one spot. If the birds bore the kids, wake them up with a ride on a real steam locomotive at the Mid-Continent Railway Museum.