Top 10 Highs and Lows of the Circus

The Elephant test was a success.

Next stop: the first circus for the kids.

Top 10 Highs and Lows of the CircusTop 10 highs and low of the circus

1.  The cheap toys guaranteed to break five minutes after purchasing are still coveted by children of all ages.

Immediately upon entering the arena, booths and walking vendors greeted us with flashing toys, stuffed animals, and balloons – all of which my children immediately wanted. I can’t blame them – I remember doing the same when my G-ma took me the last time. I had already declared this a “special day” and had brought cash for this express purpose.

I wanted the gift to last beyond the show, so I had the caveat that only if he was well behaved would he get a toy before we left.

It did break within the first week, but CG repaired it.

Thanks to this toy, my son has begun his Jedi training. But it is super special Jedi training: it can only happen in the dark….The Tackler Enters Jedi Training

Lil Diva asks to ride the pony... then changes her mind.

This is where she turned into cling wrap.

2.  There is pre-show, intermission, and post-show “entertainment”. And by “entertainment” I mean high priced activities like the shortest ever pony rides, elephant rides, and camel rides.

For the children like The Tackler who prefer their animals at a distance? A giant inflatable tiger slide: only $6 to go down the slide three times.

It was a special day. The Tackler’s “treat” was one round of the slide, after which he was confused why he could not go again.

Lil Diva said she wanted to ride the ponies, so I was excited. However, I learned that riding the ponies is like her love of dogs: good only at great distances. When our long wait ended and it was her turn, she transformed into cling wrap and cried, as though the pony ride she’d requested was actually torture.

To my absolute shock – they do (and did) refund unused tickets.

The music played at the circus is way too loud.

While this photo was taken later in the show, this was the Tackler's stance during much of it - mostly for the too loud music.

3. They play music way too loud. The Tackler had his ears covered for first twenty minutes and whined, because he hates loud music in unfamiliar locations (at home, he never seems to mind). Maybe longer. I’m not sure because Lil Diva was on my lap, but The Tackler was on the other side of my husband.

Lil Diva was a bit concerned and bored for the first ten minutes, because for some reason the Shriner’s had to introduce themselves and their officers – not exactly exciting stuff. The tigers were the third act and once they arrived Lil Diva had adapted to the loud music and was riveted by the show.

Elephants can do a handstand better than I.

Not the most flattering view, but these elephants were impressive.

4. The elephants are better at gymnastics than I am. I’m lucky if I can execute a handstand for more than a second.

Also? Lil Diva loved them. LOVED them.

5. The biggest animal hit was not an elephant or a tiger: it was a dog… dressed an elephant.

The kids loved this clown.

You can just make out the elephant... dog. This was The Tackler's favorite act. These are their actual reactions to it.

There was a single clown, a basket of stuffed animals, and a giant winder thingy (think akin to what you’d see on a giant wind-up toy) to pretend to bring the stuffed animals to life. After each failure, he would kick the stuffed animal away.

When it was the stuffed elephant’s turn, to our shock and the children’s absolute delight, it came alive, winning the prize as not only the cutest thing ever, but the best trained animal I have ever seen in playing dead. Or stuffed.

6. Whatever you call double circle spinning thing, where the guy explores weightlessness inside and outside the circle, then while juggling and then while juggling things on fire = awesome.

A favorite act.

The double circle thingy was a huge hit: the red hue photo is when the performer had the sticks on fire he juggled - The Tackler was very worried.

The Tackler and Lil Diva gave his performance ten fingers up.

Although The Tackler, for all his talk of lava and fire, was genuinely scared for the guy when he juggled the flames.

7. It is possible to transform a four an half year old from alive to skeleton in under a minute via face paint.

This is especially true of you have a long line of kidsholding tickets that equal money.

This paint will also rub off at the slightest touch.

But the pure joy over the transformation: priceless.

Face painting in less than a minute.

I'm pretty sure you could enter face painting into the Olympics and the circus would win.

8. Motorcycle stunts are awesome. 

The height and daring was just awesome.

I'm waiting for the Tackler to start attempting jumps now that he can ride a bike....

The three guys jumping and doing stunts were also popular with the kids, although I think The Tackler was covering his ears during part of it.

9. The giant cannon is a lot like a water slide: only it is boring, takes about three seconds for the actual feat, and is loud.

Glee's cannon was better.

A lot of over-hyped buildup for the 2 seconds of actual bang.

The Tackler, now finally told to cover his ears, was not amused. I’m pretty sure he was scared enough at the possible sound, he was buried into my husband and missed the entire stunt.

I got creative, because it’s really hard to cover your two year old’s ears and your own ears at the same time – particularly when said child is trying to escape aforementioned ear covering.

My children inherited How to Inhale Popcorn from me.

My children could beat me in a popcorn eating contest..

10. You cannot do the circus without copious amounts of junk food.

Hot dogs. Nachos. Popcorn.

You can’t say no, because the circus is like going to a fair: the junk food is part of the experience.

My children inherited the Shovel the Popcorn Into Your Mouth as Fast as Possible talent from my side of the family.

*  *  *

Do you or your children have a favorite circus memory or act? 


About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos ( sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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6 Responses to Top 10 Highs and Lows of the Circus

  1. John says:

    Mmmmmmm, junk food.

    My son is already ultra cautious — I know pony/camel/elephant rides are going to be a LONG TIME before they are a reality. My daughter, though . . . she seems completely fearless. We’re hoping to venture to the zoo, for the first time, when she’s 3 . . . we’ll see if we can get her posing for some cute pics.

    I’m truly surprised that they refunded tickets. Truly.

    • I was shocked they refunded the pony ride tickets. Trust me, those along with elephant and camel rides were probably the only refundable thing. They even had signs on the toy booths basically saying “no exchanges on broken items” which should tell you how durable they are.

      And yes.. junk food was very good… although I prefer more butter on popcorn.

      My son enjoyed the zoo, but nowhere near as much as my daughter. She is way more interested in animals than The Tackler, with the exception of fish – which both love. I wish we had a decent aquarium around here.

      I have a zoo post somewhere from last August… I seem to recall The Tackler loved the train, the sky ride, and the carousel the best (see a pattern). Lil Diva loved all of the animals… and the carousel.

      Little Diva is fearless until she gets close to a dog or other large animal.. and by close I mean less than five feet without a separation of glass.

  2. My favorite things about this post:
    The music (loud!) accompanying the Tackler’s first Jedi experience (and he’s good, too!)

    The smile on Lil Diva as she looks at her big brother’s face painting.

    It almost makes me want to go to the circus.

    Then again, I do like hot dogs, nachos and popcorn…

    • Loud music at home? No problem. Loud music in a theater or at a show? A problem paired with excessive amounts of whining up to and including “I want to go home.”

      I thought Lil Diva might be scared of her skeletonified brother, but no, she found it hilarious.

      You could also go a carnival, an amusement park, almost any sporting event and some movie theatres and still get the same junk food. So it doesn’t have to be the circus.

      It was my first time since I was about 10 or 11.

  3. Leigh Ann says:

    I’m impressed you guys got to stay the whole time! We split during intermission.

    That little dog was the best part of the show for us. The guy on the spinny thing? Tripped jumping rope and almost fell off. THAT would have been exciting.

    Their little faces watching the show are priceless.

    • The second act was very short: only about 20 minutes. Mostly the motorcycles, a cheesy band number, and the cannon.

      And I hate to disappoint you, but the tripping on the rope? Also part of the act. Every time I’ve seen it done, the same thing has happened. It’s all about the drama. 🙂

      Watching their faces during the show was totally worth it.

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