John Ringling first visited Sarasota back in 1909. By 1927, his circus trains rolled into town every November to renew and refresh for yet another season.
Although the Ringling’s have long disappeared, Sarasota is still home to thousands of active and retired circus families and the legacy of this unique form of entertainment lives on.
Ever think you would see a highwire in someone’s backyard, a globe of death or a flying trapeze? All around us there are major performers practicing century old family traditions… like Nik Wallenda and Bello Nock who was labeled “The Greatest Clown Ever” by Time Magazine and featured on America’s Got Talent.
This city not only has a rich circus heritage, it continues to grow with wondrous attractions you simply must see!
In 1997 Pedro Reis and Dolly Jacobs opened Circus Sarasota. As lifelong circus performers, Pedro and Dolly drew talent from around the globe to create a one-ring, five-star European-style circus. Now operating under the Circus Arts Conservatory name, it performs in both Sarasota and Fort Myers every spring.
What began as a high school gymnastics class in 1949… Sailor Circus has evolved into a spectacular 4-ring youth circus… billed as… the Greatest “Little” Show on Earth.
Student performers – from the 4th through 12th grades are trained and mentored by retired performers, alumni and enthusiastic parents, for Winter/Spring performances.
Sailor Circus is a non-profit organization that has merged with Circus Sarasota to help youth develop self-discipline and gain confidence while learning the circus arts.
Big Cat Habitat
For six weekends beginning in January, Big Cat Habitat holds an Animal Extravaganza under the Big Top. You’re more than welcome to come for a visit to the habitat year round from 12:00-4:00 Wednesday-Sunday.