Ringling Bros. Circus Review: Circus Funundrum

Traditional circus faire blends with more modern acts in Funundrum

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.

Torres Family in Funundrum

Motorcross bikers go 65 mph in a small sphere

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.

We are no longer posting new material on this site but you can find me at www.jedismama.com

8 Responses

  1. we are going aug. 1st to the pond got celeb seating….Looking forward to seeing my neice and nephew light up and of coarse my 1 yr old son!!!! I’m just hoping a elephant dosnt decide to run off into the front row LOL

    • Awesome, Jeanice, let me know if you feel the celebrity part of it was worth it. We went to a matinee showing and it didn’t look like much was going on from where I was but maybe there is stuff I missed! I’d worry more about the tigers than the elephants! JK LOL

  2. I’m glad to hear it was a great show! I’m always nervous crossing this picket lines, wondering if there’s truth in their concerns. I have another question for you, what about clowns? I had a horrible experience at the circus when I was a child with those darn clowns, are they still a big part of the act?

    • I was afraid of clowns as a kid and I still don’t care for them! But I guess it isn’t a circus without them. Fortunately, the clowns in this show were relatively calm and not forcing themselves on people who seemed uncomfortable. That is the worst thing when a clown continues to dog you to get a laugh when clearly you aren’t enjoying it. Only one approached Rocky and stood next to him and tapped him until he was noticed. Rocky gave him a high five and that was it. Whew.

  3. They do a great show, but elephants still shouldn’t be treated as props. There is still poor treatment of animals by Ringling Brothers. You don’t see it in the show. Just keeping elephants on concrete is terrible for them. I agree that it’s fun to watch, but don’t dismiss those picketers lightly. Also, baby elephants stay with their mothers for about 16 years in the wild, and then stay in the same herd for life. That cute baby won’t get that luxury. He’ll have a few years at best. Not to be a downer, but the more I looked into this before taking my kids there, the more I had to reconsider going at all.

    • I’ve been reading more about the accusations regarding the elephants since it’s been in the news lately and from what I saw, they could still put on a great show without the elephants and tigers. There are so many people whose livelihoods depend on this circus that I hope they will come to the conclusion that they can go on without them. Otherwise, such bad publicity can really hurt them all. It really is a great show so I’d hate to see it cease to exist.

  4. The celeb seats were totally worth it…..can’t beat front row seats and we got to sit on stage and have the clowns interact with us and tell us ceryain things that were happening. I highly recommend it. As for me a circus wouldn’t be a circus without the animals that’s why I choose to only go to ringling because they take the best care of their animals. Why don’t you feel that baby will be with his mother? Ringlinh has a elephant santuary and they don’t give up there animals so he will be with his mother forever.

    • Jeanice, thanks for coming back to let me know. I didn’t see that there was so much going on in the celeb section. How fun! You know, I’m kind of on the fence about the animals. We enjoyed them and thought they looked well. I just hate that the movement against the animals in the circus could cause the circus as a whole to fold. We’d love to take our kid every year. Cheers!

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