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The circus came to town! I think going to a real circus after reading “Water for Elephants” while pregnant, was a dream of mine. While I understand the conflicts on either side of debate, this is not what this adventure was about. My bucket list (still a pending progress) was to see the majestic elephants live and in person up close. Thank you to Feld Entertainment on behalf of Ringling Bros. for sending us to the circus! I was able to experience this life long dream of being at the circus and seeing the elephants.
I race at 10AM often at the local zoo, to see them wake up, hit the watering hole, and play. Just to see their movements and brilliance captivates me. I grew up loving this species and I am beyond thrilled to say that my son and I, along with my husband, got to see the elephants of the Ringling Bros. tribe, before they go to retire in the new sanctuary in May.
Little did I know, this would happen. The news broke right after our once in a life time adventure, making it (literally) once in a lifetime. My future children will not be able to experience the circus we did! The elephants were scheduled to retire by 2018 but were able to move up plans, therefore retiring these stunning beauties this Spring.
As you know, it wouldn’t be an adventure with the toddler without realizing the best tips to approach this type of outing!
- Arrive at least 30-40 minutes before the doors open for the pre-show. With the purchase of your Ringling Bros. tickets, you are able to see the animals up close and personal. We saw the lion and tigers while hearing their roars up close and personal! We were able to see the elephants get cleaned up as too. This was the time to take a photo in front of the circus trucks, you know for social media and to show your friends you were there 😉
- If you are not able to make it that early, certainly arrive to the pre-show. The doors open an hour before the Ringling Bros. Circus starts, the main floor is open for all! They had free clown noses for the kids, a bounce house, clowns, acrobats, and more! You could even try on wardrobe pieces. A great way to feel the excitement building. This is included in ticket price, so don’t be late!
- Choosing seats; with a toddler, we were given some prime seats that were ideal, (well minus him throwing some cotton candy on an unsuspecting person on the lower level, oops!) I found that having a front row on the 2nd level was great, no adult head was in his way, his laughter and chatter would not get in other peoples way. Granted, having to cut through six people to get up prior to intermission for a diaper change was embarrassing, I wouldn’t change it. I would not recommend aisle seats unless you can have a few adults near the end, toddlers do want to play on stairs! Same for the bottom floor, close up would be ideal, too far back and you have a crowd of heads to deal with.
- Eat before going. Snacks are available but with a fun cost, I grabbed cotton candy, with an unknown cost of a hat for $14. I didn’t feel bad as it was my son’s first time having cotton candy, he is obsessed with hats, and it was the only thing we purchased. Though I had to negotiate with him on the light up spinning toys, not this visit! You can easily take in a child’s sippy cup/straw cup/or snack if need be but eating prior is best!
- Don’t leave early! Just like any amazing show or sports feature at the arena you attend, the circus must also take a brief break! Potty anyone? The light will come on, you have about 15 minutes until the show continues. Be swift and get back to your seats!
- Take a camera, but don’t go crazy. I left my big camera at home so I was not in the way of others, but also so I could enjoy the show. I may not have the best or brightest photos as I used my phone, but I have the memories to last a lifetime! I have to admit, I missed a few cool things looking through the phone instead of at the live action! Nothing compares to seeing it in person.
- Keep your toddler active in the event. Clapping, pointing, and talking about what they like. It ran a bit late for a two year old as we went to opening night, but he still talks about it non stop a week later! He will tell you his favorite parts were seeing the elephant paint and the bikes (The amazing Torres family on their motorcycles in the cage!)
Times are ever changing. The circus is not what it was in the early 1900’s. The Ringling Bros. bring life, laughter, and memories to the arena for the whole family. Not a moment went by (even intermission) clowns kept you occupied as there were floor changes. Don’t blink, you might miss epic things! The sounds, the lights, and the magic, are something I believe only the Ringling Bros. .could bring to town with epic levels of family fun. I’m interested to see how things change over the next few years. For now, I have memories that I dreamed of since I was little.
Author: Nichole Arnold
I’m the owner of Mommy Needs a Bottle . I’m a 30- something wine enthusiast that resides in Tampa, FL. I love family traditions, traveling, cooking, baking, reading, fashion, tattoos, beauty products, and being a Mommy! I have a background in marketing, public relations, copywriting, and sales.