by Rachel Quartarone
It’s that time of year when elephants and tigers take over arenas and drum rolls fill the air. There’s no better way to fight the “winter blaas” than with a trip to the “Greatest Show on Earth” – the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, of course. Believe it or not, I had never been to the circus before and was excited to take my 6-year-old and 3-year-old sons along for the ride. This year’s show, “Fully Charged” brings together all the classic elements of a circus but with a modern, high-energy touch. The music is upbeat and catchy – and three rings and lots of “clowning around” ensure that there’s never a dull moment. At the end of the two- hour show, you’ll be leaving the arena singing, “Fully Charged!” and seek to accomplish some daring feats of your own (like maybe maneuvering out of your parking space and into traffic)!
My boys were literally enthralled the entire show, even my 3-year-old who has a hard time sitting still. It was almost as fun to watch their reactions to the performers as it was to watch the show itself. It is truly amazing to see humans doing things that don’t seem humanly possible – like lifting telephone pole over one’s head, jumping on spinning turbines and catapulting through the air on fire. I don’t think my boys will ever forget watching performer Brian Miser, “The Human Fuse” fly 110 feet through the air at 65 miles per hour completely engulfed in flames. (That’s seriously cool.) The animal performers were also quite impressive. Elephant acrobatics, tigers prancing on two feet and horses turning in perfect circles are just a few of the things you’ll see.
Fully Charged runs February 15-20 at Philips Arena and Feb. 23-26 at Gwinnett Arena in Duluth. This circus newbie and her now aspiring circus performer sons highly recommend you check it out! For showtimes and tickets: www.Ringling.com
• Be sure to arrive early. The pre-show begins at 6:30 and offers an opportunity to meet with performers inside the ring. There are activities for kids and even a painting elephant. Ushers clear the floor at 7:15 to begin set up for the show, so you’ll want to arrive early enough to take full advantage of the experience.
• Don’t leave during intermission! You’ll miss the tigers and major show-stoppers in the second-half. Intermission lasts fifteen minutes and is followed by another hour of performances.
• If attending the circus at Philips Arena, consider taking MARTA. The Dome/GWCC/Philips Arena/CNN Station is right next door and very easy to access.
• Bring some cash for easy purchases (though credit cards are accepted). Cotton candy in a collector hat is $12 and will likely be demanded by your pint-sized crew. There are other treats and shiny objects for sale at every turn. Perhaps prep your little ones in advance that they can pick out “one special thing” to commemorate the show.
• Don’t forget your camera! There are no restrictions on photography and you’ll definitely want to capture some special memories.