Saturday, September 26, 2015

A Night at the Circus!

Growing up, we rarely went to the circus. I'm not sure if it was that the circus didn't come around as often back then, or if it was too cost-prohibitive for my parents with four kids, or if it was just too exhausting for my mom to take the four of us out in public anywhere! Hahaha! Probably a mix, especially with my brother and his sensory issues with sounds and crowds and lights (which helped prepare me for helping and understanding my own sensory kiddo!) But I remember how overwhelming the three-ring circus was, with so much going on all at once. I like this new one-ring format better, with clowns and some aerial acts to entertain us while they're setting up for the next performers.

Feld Entertainment has provided me with a 4-pack of tickets to take my family to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents Built To Amaze!® in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own. 

This was the first time I can remember seeing protesters outside the circus. I didn't do a whole lot of research before deciding to attend, but I liked that there were mostly human acts, and I read up on Ringling Bros commitment to the health and safety of their animals. Granted, the information comes direct from them, so do your own research and make the choice that feels right to you! In the past, my kids have liked the animal acts best, but this time around, they were more excited about the performing "monkeys" [people!]

We attended opening night at the Showare Center in Kent with our 7- and 3-year-olds. I like it there because they will allow me to bring in a factory-sealed tub of dye-free cotton candy, as long as I declare it when they're checking our bags. We can buy Cracker Jacks, roasted peanuts, and bunless hot dogs at concessions, and they always have bottled water for a safe beverage option (they also had Vitamin Water and Coca-Cola in bottles, which don't contain artificial dyes or flavors either, and I don't have to worry about cross-contamination from the soda fountain nozzles!) I always bring empty EasyLunchboxes to use as lap trays, since bunless hot dogs are difficult enough to eat, especially when they're cut up for dipping in ketchup. And when we have to get the jumbo one because it'll be 25 minutes to get a regular dog that hasn't touched a bun, it's easy to pop a lid on over the leftovers and take it home! The EasyLunchboxes also make it a snap to share the peanuts and Cracker Jacks!

Dye-free tip for those of you wanting other treats or souvenirs: you can get the snow-cones in the collectable cups out at the tables, and ask for one with just ice. Then add some juice or soda (Coke and the lemon-lime ones are both safe) that you purchased from concessions for an icy treat!

I don't know if it was just opening night jitters or what, but several of the acts had some major flubs, with performers falling or tripping. But it gave me the opportunity to point out to my kids that even experts can still make mistakes, and that they got back up and tried again. And no one got hurt! Whew! Having the performers modelling perseverance and not giving up even when they'd made a mistake is a great lesson for any kid!

Both girls were delighted and awed by most of the performances. We had REALLY great seats near the front, which helped immerse and engage them better, and gave us all a great view of all the acts!

The girls liked all the aerial acts best, with the troupe doing throws and flips in midair, and the solo trapeze artist, and the ladies hanging from cloth and rings throughout various other acts. But my favorite was when the clowns tried to recreate the archer stunts with an audience volunteer. Hilarious!

We went on a school night, so the girls started getting whiny near the end. But the finale was flashy and fun enough to reel them back in. It was a great ending to an exciting night, and we got home right before bedtime!

The all-new Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents Built To Amaze!® plays the XFINITY Arena in Everett, WA from October 1 – 4, 2015, or check for other tour locations and dates!

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