Thinking about taking your children to the circus? Yesterday my family went to see the Greatest Show on Earth in the LA area and it did not disappoint. I had not been to the circus since I was a child so my expectations weren’t all that high but this new edition of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus was contemporary without losing the old-fashioned elements that I recall from long ago. There were the familiar trapeze and high-wire acts along with some impressive body bending stunts and 7 motorcyclists rotating around inside a somewhat compact sphere. That part just made me nervous but Rocky loved it.
Although we splurged for front row seats, all the seats in the arena had a pretty good view. If I had to do over, I would spend a little less and sit in the next price level down. Once I saw just how much work goes into a production like this (it took hundreds of people to run it) I didn’t feel too bad about contributing to the continuation of the show. I would not recommend the celebrity seats ($100 per ticket) unless you have a huge desire to sit on stage for a few minutes of the show. From what I saw, these guests weren’t particularly engaged, just placed within the action for a short time.
Yes, everything they sold was costly ($7 popcorn, $15 program, etc) but you could see that everyone involved, from the impressive ringmaster, Jonathan Iverson, to the elephant pooper scoopers, put their all into it. It was almost as much fun observing the set changes as it was watching the show. It took so much organization to prep and dismantle each part of the program but they made it look balletic. The costumes, the effects, and the choreography – this circus has evolved into a Vegas act on the road. At times the show was a little long for my 4-year-old’s attention span but the constantly changing acts helped keep him from getting bored too much. And the cost of the ticket included a pre-show for those who chose to arrive early. We saw an elephant paint!
I’ve heard some complain about the poor treatment of animals in shows like this one. I recall one performance of the Moscow Circus where they made a polar bear ice skate. I don’t even want to know what goes into making an animal like that do such a stunt! I did not see any evidence of that here. The animals looked healthy and I did not witness any whippings. The whips the animal trainers held hit the ground, not the animals. Animals were rewarded with treats and the tricks weren’t quite as outrageous as jumping through fire or skating. In addition, this circus now boasts an elephant conservation program and their newest baby elephant, Baby Barrack, does no tricks but is already a star. He’s just so darn cute.
We’re definitely considering another trip to this circus next year. We can’t wait to see how they top themselves.
For more information, you can go to Ringling’s site at
For discounts on tickets, try http://www.goldstar.com/. You have to sign up to access their discounts but if you like going to plays, concerts, etc, it’s worth checking out and it’s free.
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Filed under: Event, Review | Tagged: Barack the elephant, circus, circus fun, Funundrum, Funundrum review, greatest show on earth, Jonathan Iverson, Ringling Bros. circus, Ringling Brothers and Barum and Bailey, ringling brothers circus review, the librarian | 8 Comments »