I was excited to be able to take Anna this year to the Ringling Brothers circus. I have very fond memories of traditional circus of my own childhood. I grew up in a large city, and we had a stationary, specially built circus. Our family relative was a director of this circus, and we went very often, especially when visiting troups were in town. I saw amazing performers and amazing animal acts, so my expectations were set high too. Russian circus is well known worldwide, and it was interesting to see that Ringling Brothers have several Russian performers.
Before our visit we read an excellent book Peter Spier’s Circus, and expectations were set very high. However, the show didn’t disappoint. The tightrope walkers and jugglers were amazing, and there were many unique acts as well. I was glad I didn’t take Anna last year since even with intermission it was a lot of new things to take in, and in the end I had a very exhausted child on my hands despite the fact that we went for a matinee. She was not a big fan of human cannonball and was somewhat confused by clowns, but enjoyed all the rest, especially the animal acts. While I am aware of the controversy surrounding traditional circus (in fact protesters were right there in front of the circus confusing the hell out of my daughter who can read), I happen to believe that being able to watch real animals actually doing something and not just sleeping in zoo cages engages children to learn more about them and learn how to protect and care for them in their own environment.