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March 18th, 2012 by Stinkhead

The Ringling Bros Circus came back to town! This time it was the Fully Charged show. Focusing on high energy and dazzling spectacle, it’s quite a sight to be seen. I loved the audience engagement and showmanship. Click below to see more pics!


The real centerpiece of the circus this year for me was the tigers. They were leaping and growling and doing tricks, it was quite impressive. Tabayara the tiger wrangler had a great demeanor. He was in charge, but he played with the audience as much as the cats, everything felt under control, but not tame and rehearsed.


My four year old son liked the clowns the most. I always thought clowns were a bit off-putting and scary, but absolutely everything they did ended up delighting my son. He particularly liked the pratfalls and slapstick. I think he knows they are grown-ups, but they’re doing silly things, and he really liked that aspect. The Looney Tunes inspired sound effects helped too. One of the things I liked was the miniature version of the major acts that the clowns re-enacted near the end. It was self satire, and I dug that.

Monster bike

I also liked this monster truck style bike. The clowns did all kinds of tricks trying to get and stay on, but the cool part was that they’d bellyflop onto the back tire, and it had enough traction to zip them up to the seat. Reverse water-fall style. It was pretty cool. Its amazing all this stuff the circus has custom made for them.


My son also was astounded by the trapeze stunts way in the air. These graceful dancers are 50 ft in the air, posing and bending and moving with the greatest of ease. I love taking pictures of them way up high, but my son was so concerned about how they’d get down. It was definitely a highlight.

This looks very heavy

I should also mention the Strongmen. They came out and did some basic stunts demonstrating their strength. At first we thought their “big heavy beam” was a foam prop, but when they tossed it you could see it was just like a solid telephone pole. Then the put the pole over their shoulders and supported two clowns, yolk style. Then they got even crazier and put two poles together, and the two strongmen supported five clowns and started spinning around. I liked how the strongman competition harkened back to the circus days of old, but still managed to amaze and surprise the audience. No blacklights, pyrotechnics or slight of hand, it was genuine human feat on display.

Elephant array

We had an amazing time at the circus. I’m not going to spoil the gran finale with the crossbow, because the whole time you’re questioning if they really are going to do what you think they’re going to do. If you have a child between the ages of 2 and 12, they’d certainly love the opportunity to go, but we saw several kids much older than that (and some adult couples) in the audience as well. You’re never too old to get wrapped up in the spectacle and just let yourself get amazed. The show starts right on time and then goes just about two and a half hours with an intermission. If you have younger children, you may want to schedule an afternoon matinee to visit. And if you can, definitely hit the Clown Party, free to ticket holders, right before the show. Check your ticket for details.

We did have PETA protestors outside of the arena and we were pretty successful avoiding them on our way out. I’m all for my son doing his own critical thinking when he’s older. It appeared to us the animals were all well fed and cared for. I’m not going to use this blog to preach one way or the other. PETA has said their piece about how they think Ringling Bros treats their animals, and Ringling Bros have responded to those allegations.

We loved the circus and we’d love to go the next time they’re in town. Currently Ringling Bros has 3 different shows in rotation. Last year we got to see Barnum’s Funundrum but this year there’s Fully Charged (the one we just saw), Dragons and Barnum Bash. This makes sure you get to see something all new and fresh each year. Fully Charged was certainly a different show than Funundrum. Swing by to see when they’re coming to your town and to pick up tickets.

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Posted in 3&up, Boys, Girls, kids, picture, review | Comments Off on We went to the circus!

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