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Riverview's must-see Showmen's Museum celebrates the history of carnivals and fairs

A giant Ferris Wheel spins inside the building
Posted at 3:53 AM, May 07, 2021

RIVERVIEW, Fla. — Doc Rivera ran away to join a carnival at age 14.

"I didn't have two parents," Rivera says with a smile. "I had 40!"

Doc's love for the life of a traveling showman never waned. He's been in the business almost 60 years now. He's owned his own carnival. A talented artist, he's also provided signage for shows.

But his greatest achievement in the carnival and fair biz just may be his Smithsonian-level collection of rides and artifacts at the International Independent Showmen's Museum in Riverview.

An over-the-top spectacle, complete with a 1903 Ferris wheel spinning inside, the Showmen's Museum is a must-see attraction about sideshows and stunt shows and the history of the Tilt-A-Whirl.

The museum is currently open Saturdays and Sundays from noon until 5 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults. Children under 10 are free.

For more information on the Showmen's Museum, click here.