In our Travel on a Tankful series, will be sharing interesting places to travel to for a tankful of gas or less!

Ladies and gentlemen… Children of all ages… Step right up for Baraboo, Wisconsin!

Situated along the Baraboo River, Baraboo is the largest city in Sauk County, Wisconsin. With a 2020 population around 12,500, Baraboo is known primarily for its colorful circus history. In 1884, the Ringling Brothers Circus was established in Baraboo, as it was the home of the famed Ringling family. Eventually, several other circuses came to Baraboo, earning the town the nickname “Circus City.”

Circus World Museum – Baraboo, WI (photo: Brian Weckerly)

Embracing such a rich history, Baraboo is home to Circus World Museum. The museum features circus artifacts and exhibits and hosts daily live circus performances during the summer months. Owned by the Wisconsin Historical Society, the museum sits on some of the land once owned by the Ringlings themselves. Boasting an antique carousel, elephants and other assorted animal performers, acrobats, jugglers and clowns, the museum features a circus performance under the big top, along with multiple live shows on the grounds. Fair food, a playground, antique circus wagons, displays and a tranquil setting make for a wonderful day of family fun. Circus World Museum is located at 550 Water Street, Baraboo. For more information, click here.


Nestled in the quaint downtown area of Baraboo is the International Clown Hall of Fame & Research Center (IICHOF). Dedicated to the preservation and advancement of clowning as an artform, Greg DeSanto, graduate of the prestigious Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College, former touring clown for the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus and veteran performer for circuses and shows worldwide, is at the helm, serving as Executive Director of the International Clown Hall of Fame and Research Center. Wall-to-wall history, dedications, props, costumes and videos are a feast for the eyes and soul as clowns of all backgrounds are honored. Make sure to ask lots of questions, as any of the guides are more than happy to share their love of clowning as an artform. Staff may occasionally lecture and attend festivals on behalf of the ICHOF, so it’s always a good idea to call ahead to ensure they will be open for your visit. The International Clown Hall of Fame & Research Center is located at 102 4th Avenue, Baraboo. For more information, click here.

Proof that Baraboo embraces its circus history is evident with its yearly Big Top Parade. You can watch the parade from June 25, 2022 here.

Check out Baraboo for around a tankful of gas, and may all your days be circus days!