Venice Travel Planner logo   Circus in Venice Florida
Once the winter home of the circus, Venice remembers it fondly. 
 

 

From 1960 to 1992, Venice was the winter quarters of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Practices, rehearsals, and the final virtually-a-show dress rehearsals were held in the Venice Arena, a huge, rambling barn-like structure off Field Avenue East and Airport Avenue East that stood near Circus Bridge, the southern drawbridge on Venice Island.

Venice Arena, Venice Florida
Venice Arena after the circus left town...

When, in 1992, the railroad stopped running as far as Venice, the circus moved its winter quarters north to Sarasota.

Local history and circus buffs made an effort to save and repurpose the Arena, but they did not succeed. The Venice Arena was razed in 2014.

History remains; and not just history. Trapeze star Tito Gaona's Flying Trapeze Academy remains next to where the Venice Arena once stood, visible from the drawbridge, where you can learn how to fly—safely.

Flying trapeze rig, Venice Florida

At certain times of year, there may also be a circus camp for kids here.

The Circus Museums at the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota give you the whole story.

For a superb youth circus show during summers in New England, catch a performance of Circus Smirkus. Its founder and some of its principal staff were trained at Ringling's Clown College when it was in Venice. More...


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Train Depot, Venice Florida

The historic train depot in Venice Florida, where circus trains would load for their trips around the country.