The World's Largest Miniature Circus
On our recent trip to Florida, we took a day trip to Sarasota to visit The Ringling. John Ringling was one of five "Ringling Brothers." He wisely invested his profits from The Greatest Show on Earth, making him one of the richest men in America in the 1920s. The Ringling comprises several different properties and museums, including John's house, Ca’ d’Zan, a huge art museum, gardens, and the circus museum, which houses The World's Largest Miniature Circus.
The 3,800 square foot Howard Bros. Circus model is "a 44,000-piece re-creation of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus combined shows from 1919-1938." The model is the life's work of Howard Tibbals and is crafted to an exact 3/4-inch-to-the-foot scale.
Tibbals has been working on the model for more than 50 years, and it includes everything you'd expect to see at a circus and probably much, much more. There are billboards and trains; trapeze artists and barbers; general stores and ice cream stands; elephants and zebras and tigers; clowns and ticket booths—and of course a big top.
I have always loved miniatures—I even bought a book on how to make them when I was younger so I could make my own for a dollhouse that never materialized. My only complaint about this marvel is that you can't possibly see it all, and I'm sure so much of the fine detail goes unnoticed. The overall effect is incredible—there's even a viewing platform so you can get the bird's eye view. I'm so grateful the world includes people like Howard Tibbals, who really understand that the biggest joys can be found in even the smallest of things.