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Riverview, Florida: Carnival History Museum

Antique carnival rides and circus wagons. Special exhibits on Johann the Viking Giant, Father Mac the Carny Priest, and candy apples.

International Independent Showmen's Museum

6938 Riverview Drive, Riverview, FL
International Independent Showmen's Museum. I-75 exit 250. Drive west on Gibsonton Drive for two miles. Turn right onto US Hwy 41/S. Tamiami Trail. Drive one mile, cross the bridge, then turn right at the next stoplight onto Riverview Drive. Drive a half-mile. You'll see the museum on the left.
Sa-Su 12-5 (definitely call first). (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Adults $12, Children w/school ID $7.
RA Rates:
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Visitor Tips and News About Carnival History Museum

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Showmen's Museum

Now in a new building, the museum houses colorful artifacts, photographs, and eclectic memorabilia from the carnival and circus midways of the past, spanning over a century of traveling shows in America. Don't miss the Sound Truck Calliope, which played loud, rousing marches to let the public know that the Big Show was in town.

[Jim Carson, 02/04/2023]


Carnival History Museum

We went to the Showmen's Museum with a Groupon, but I would be okay paying the regular admission price. There was a ton of stuff in there to look at!

[Lindsay, 08/20/2019]

Carnival poster.

International Independent Showmen's Museum

This carnival history museum includes over 52,000 square feet of exhibits, featuring carnival games, photos, rides, and relics.

[JP, 05/08/2016]

Showmen's Museum.

International Independent Showmen's Museum

52,000 square feet of American carnival history, highlighting the traveling shows. Includes several rides (1900s Ferris wheel and 1950s children's carousel among others), trucks, original sideshow banners/props, vintage signs, posters,carnival games, memorabilia, ephemera, a large model railroad-scale circus, calliope, and several travel wagons. The museum is staffed by volunteers from the International Independent Showman's Association and all of the items were donated by members. These are the folks who've invested in the business of entertaining us for the last 50 years or more. They've got great stories from the road, and all admission goes to the upkeep of the museum.

[Vivienne Marie, 02/14/2016]


IISA Showmen's Museum

The museum contains an incredible collection related to the history of carnivals and amusement parks, as well as the history of the neighboring town of Gibsonton, which was once home to over 50 "human oddities" (sideshow freaks). The museum charges admission but you can view antique carnival trailers for free from the parking lot.

And in the surrounding neighborhoods -- which are still a base of operations for the carnival industry -- you can see many rides, trailers, and mobile hot dog stands in various stages of repair and construction.

[Hawk Krall, 03/17/2015]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Boot Monument For Civic Circus GiantBoot Monument For Civic Circus Giant, Gibsonton, FL - < 1 mi.
Power Station ManateesPower Station Manatees, Apollo Beach, FL - 5 mi.
Seaworthy Victory Ship from WWIISeaworthy Victory Ship from WWII, Tampa, FL - 7 mi.
In the region:
Dupree Gardens Ruins, Land O' Lakes, FL - 27 mi.

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