Sunday, July 24, 2016


We packed up the car and headed out the door at 8:30am to go on an Adventure Day.  The kids found out that we were going visit Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin as we pulled out of the driveway.  (I have really vivid memories of wandering amongst the brightly colored wagons as a child during an off-season visit, and wanted to visit during the on-season, when there is an actual Big Top show!)  It is about a three hour drive (plus bathroom and lunch stops) from our house, so this was a commitment.

About an hour into the trip, we had our first excitement-- Justin's second loose tooth fell out!  Having learned from our last experience, I carefully wrapped the tooth in a napkin and placed it in the ZIPPERED pouch of my wallet.  Safe!

We arrived at Circus World Museum around 1pm.  I was hoping that the recent heat wave (real feel temps in the 100-116) was over, but it was still really humid and hot out.  Luckily there is a large portion of the museum that is air conditioned.  We strategically attacked the grounds, ducking back in to the a/c whenever we got too warm.  Frog Toggs chilly Danas for the win (if you don't know what these magical bandanas are, you need to take a look!).

We caught the tail end of a calliope/chime musical show that was really cool (and they played a bunch of Disney songs since this is the 60th Anniversary of Disneyland and Walt invited a circus to be at the park on opening day).

I have a very love/hate relationship with circuses (and zoos) due to animal welfare issues.  I do have to complement Circus World Museum on the health and seeming contentment of the animals on the grounds.  It was an extemely hot day, and they made sure to let people know that they had a VERY limited time to see the animals, as they would NOT be out on display for extended periods of time.  The elephants only were out for a half hour before and after the Big Top show.  The tigers trained/performed only a 20 minute show twice a day.  We obviously weren't allowed to see the behind-the-scenes set ups for the animals, but the impression was that they were well cared for.

With the assurance that the circus animals were being well cared for, I was able to focus my attention on caring for MY troupe.  We kept the frog toggs on the kids and made sure they were treated to LOTS of cold water and some cool treats as well.

The Big Top show was really neat-- although basically like sitting in a sauna for thirty minutes!  We just kept pumping the kids full of water and they were enjoying the show, so we monitored for signs of heat exhaustion.

All our work paid off!  Both kids enjoyed the day and learning about the history of the circus (especially the Ringling Brothers who began in Baraboo and used these grounds and buildings as winter grounds).  We visited the circus wagon museum (easily my favorite part of the visit) and marveled at the gorgeous carvings and vibrantly restored colors.  It was overwhelming to imagine what it must have been like to see these spectacles roll into your town.  How exciting!

We also got a very quick lesson on stereotypes!  The "Wonders of Asia" wagon had a bunch of carvings of the peoples of Asia-- we talked about why Americans in the 1900's would have been fascinated by the idea of other cultures, and how cultural differences were sensationalized for marketing purposes.  VERY interesting to see how the representative of (obviously "British") India was portrayed!

We finished the afternoon with a quick tightrope/balance practice at the neat playground and decided to drive through the main commercial section of the Dells to show the kids what that whole side of the vacation destination is about.  They are really excited to plan a (maybe fall?) trip to go and do all the touristy 'stuff'.

Trip Advisor recommended a Mac n-Cheese restaurant that we stopped at.  While it was definitely good, I wouldn't rate it as the 'best'.  My buffalo chicken dish was basically noodles topped with buffalo chicken.  Dave had a jalapeno popper mac-n-cheese that was the same basic principle.  Good, but not worth a specific trip.

After lunch we hit a quick candy shop to grab a couple sticks of candy for the three hour ride home.  We rolled in to the driveway about 8:30pm to make a complete Adventure Day day trip of 12 hours!  Whew-----  amazing, but exhausting!

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