OUR BIG TOP TOURS
We conduct our tours aboard your bus or van. Don't have a bus? We can also recommend a local transportation company for your group; or, we can bring one of our informative and entertaining lecture/programs to your location!
Our guests have included active residents of retirement communities, professional organizations, church and synagogue members, condominium associations, as well as convention and motor coach travelers.
Our Big Top Tours last about 2-1/2 hours. We suggest beginning the tour around 10AM, concluding around 12:30PM; generally we offer our tours Mondays through Fridays. A unique catered lunch aboard a circus train is also available and can be arranged as an added attraction.
Along the route, Toby Circus Ballantine will provide historical perspectives as we pass dozens of familiar (and not so familiar) locations that have surprising ties to the circus. You will hear and see how John Ringling, Charles Ringling and their family, colleagues and successors helped to create the cultural and colorful community that Sarasota is today. At the same time, Toby will regale you with stories of circus life; and, he will entertain you with magic and mirth.
Among the places that you will visit...
The opulent, hidden mansion of Charles Ringling
St. Armand's Circle with statuary from John and Mable Ringling's personal collection plus the Circus Ring of Fame
The site of the World Premiere of the Academy Award winning motion picture, The Greatest Show on Earth
St. Martha's Church: "The church the circus built"
The very conventional home once occupied by an extraordinarily unconventional lady: Mademoiselle Toto (the bride of Gargantua)
The unique and exclusive Showfolks of Sarasota Club
"Bob's Train": an actual four-car circus train featuring a dining car, an extensive private gallery of circus photos, and the historic railroad car, The JOMAR, originally owned by John and Mable Ringling, and currently undergoing restoration.
The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art (You will see and learn about "The Ringling," although the tour does not include museum admission.)
Other sites that you'll visit include:
- The two tiny homes that are described as "the little people's homes," associated with the diminutive Doll Family, famous for their circus and movie roles
- The house and workshop of the legendary highwire artist and family patriarch, Karl Wallenda
- The Sailor Circus Arena, home to America's longest-running youth circus
- The site of the original winter quarters for The Greatest Show on Earth®
Plus, many more circus locations including homes and neighborhoods where performers still reside!
FOR GROUP TOUR AND LECTURE INFORMATION,
CALL BOB COLLINS @ 941.966.1226 OR SEND AN E-MAIL INQUIRY TO BOBCOLLINS@OUTLOOK.COM