Mom Central and the Feld Entertainment Group contacted me recently and offered tickets to my family for opening night to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus here in Cleveland. We received the tickets and an opportunity for a pre-show Meet and Greet which was wonderful.

At the Meet and Greet we were able to get up close and personal with the clowns, which thrilled Kora to no end. She absolutely loved the girl clowns and their frilly skirts and cute hair-dos. Logan on the other hand is still working on his fear of costume characters and clowns. He did well as long as they did not sit in the chair next to him. We were able to take a photo with the group of clowns at the Meet and Greet.

This is now Kora’s favorite picture.

After the Meet and Greet, which offered a great selection of food and cute gifts for the kids, we were off to the pre-show. It begain at 6:30 pm and started out as lots of fun. We were able to walk directly onto the circus floor and see everything up close. Clowns juggling and balancing spinning plates, a low-wire act just inches away (and they allowed kids to try walking on the wire!), an acrobatic act, and a stilt-walker. Also, the cast of characters was available for autographs. Older kids seemed to be loving it all. My crew was a bit too short and intimidated by the growing crowd. After 20 minutes of being on the floor it became claustraphobic and no one was having any fun. Kora is usually the most outgoing of all of us and even she was whimpering and clinging to me like a monkey, trying not to get shoved around in the throng of people.

We decided to cut the pre-show short and headed up to our seats. We weren’t sure how to keep the kids in their seats for the 20 minutes prior to the show starting. We knew we were going to get them some cotton candy at some point, so we decided to do so then. After nearly passing out from the shock of the cost of the candy – $10 for one bag, I was equally surprised that Kora and Logan didn’t like it. They had been so excited about it, tried a tiny bit, declared they didn’t like it and ate the raisins I brought instead. At this point I was conflicted because we just spent $10 on junk food that was going to go to waste, but I was proud they chose the healthier snack.

The kids ate their snacks and as the show was setting up, a motorcycle was driven around the stadium. It was very loud.

Once the show began at 7:30 pm, the kids were in awe. They absolutely loved it. I was a little worried they would feel too far away from the action especially since we were just down on the floor and at the Meet and Greet, but they were enthralled from the time it started. They didn’t mind the distance at all, in fact they never once complained that they couldn’t see well. They especially adored the animals. If we hadn’t been given this opportunity to go to the circus, I don’t think we would have gone. I would have assumed the kids were too young to enjoy it, but I was very glad to be wrong.

Here’s a few photos:



The dog ran between her arms as she walked on her hands down the red carpet. Very cute.

A little dog doing a backflip.




The kids clapped for everything.

This group was impressive.

As the show went on, Logan tried to lay on my lap multiple times, only to sit up to clap about something every few minutes. Thankfully for us, intermission started at 8:30 (bedtime for our two is 8 pm) so we took advantage of it and decided to leave. I was a little sad to go, I would have liked to see the whole show, and I think the kids would have enjoyed it as well but I also wanted to end the night with no tears. I know that if we stayed for the whole thing we were going to be asking for multiple temper tantrums on top of fighting the rest of the crowd for the exits.

If you’re like me and haven’t been to the circus since you were a kid, I highly recommend it. It was a blast and everyone had a great time. You can purchase tickets through http://www.ticketmaster.com/ and use the coupon code “MOM” for four tickets for $44 for Monday – Friday matinee shows, and $4 off Friday night, and all weekend shows special offer. Remaining shows in Cleveland are:
– Thursday, Oct 22 at 7:30 pm
– Friday, Oct 23 at 7:30 pm
– Saturday, Oct 24 at 11:30 am, 3:30 pm, and 7:30 pm
– Sunday, Oct 25 at 11:30 am, 3:30 pm, and 7:30 pm
– Monday, Oct 26 at 7:30 pm

When I first received the offer of the tickets, I wasn’t sure I wanted to accept them. I’m not an animal activist but the stereotype of circuses and their treatment of animals bothered me and I didn’t want to support that. However, I decided to go and hope Ringling would dispell any notions I had.

They did.

At the Meet and Greet we received wonderful information from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey describing their adherence to all federal, state, and local regulations, in addition to their own stringent internal animal care guidelines. They are licensed by the USDA which means they are in compliance with all standards and regulations under the Animal Walfare Act. The information they provided continues on to say that in more than 40 years of current ownership, Ringling Bros. has never been foundin violation of the Animal Welfare Act for neglect or mistreatment of it’s animals. In fact, in all aspects of animal care and safety, Ringling Bros. meets or exceeds all federal animal welfare standards.

I was very pleased with the detailed information provided and it made me feel better about going to the show and I was able to sit back and fully enjoy myself as well as soak in the the excitement of my childrens’ first time at the circus.

I received no other compensation other than the circus tickets and entrance to the Meet and Greet Event.