My daughter and I had a great time at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus LEGENDS performance opening night at the IZOD Center in northern New Jersey. There’s a reason it’s called “The Greatest Show On Earth” and that’s because year after year this circus does not disappoint! The show is filled with thrills, chills and laughs and jam-packed with elephants, tigers, horses, amazing acrobatic troupes, daredevils and, of course, clowns.
We arrived early in order to enjoy the All Access Pre-Show, which starts about an hour before showtime. Anyone with a ticket for the circus can walk down onto the arena floor for their own mini-circus experience. Fans can meet and take photos with performers, try on circus costumes, learn a circus skill such as juggling and even a chance to win special drawing of a masterpiece painting by one very artistic elephant.
Not long after we got to the arena floor we were randomly approached by a Ringling Bros rep who gave us tickets to go into the Ringmaster Zone. Talk about being treated as circus all-stars, the Ringmaster Zone is an exclusive opportunity to go one-on-one for a behind-the-scenes look at the circus and literally all takes place behind the big red show curtain! It started with a special family photo on the Ringling Red Carpet with two circus celebrities (above), then we got to try out the Ringmaster’s circus stand and got to sit on a motorcycle inside the Globe of Steel. We had our noses were painted sparkly red by some super friendly clowns, some laughs trying on ringmaster hats and even pet some animals — who I think really just wanted to eat our popcorn. We even got front row access to watch a pachyderm paint. We were very lucky to be chosen to for the Ringmaster Zone experience.
Then we got settled back into our seats for the big show. My daughter and I thought all the performances the were absolutely amazing, but here are our personal LEGENDS favs:
- The fearless Torres Family and their Globe of Steel – Eight motorcycles orbited around at 65 miles per hour in 16-foot steel globe with only six inches to spare between each rider.
- Alexander Lacey and his Big Cats – A troupe of lions, tigers and even a leopard who showed off their natural agility and strength throughout their routine. I’m always amazed by the relationship between trainer and ferocious animal – especially when Lacey would put his face right up these cats faces to get a kiss!
- Human Lotus Blossoms – The largest assembly of hair-hanging artists in the world. They performed a mesmerizing acrobatic choreography suspended only by the strands of their hair (OUCH)! Their hair-de-résistance was a human chandelier created by the eight female performers as they swung simultaneously four stories above the arena floor by only the strength of their long tresses.
- Ringling Bros. Asian Elephants – Need I say more? These are beautiful and super intelligent animals who are always a crowd pleaser. Oh, and who knew that elephants have a sense of humor?! One elephant trotted out and was hailed as “the Great Woolly Mammoth” in the worst fake fur costume I’ve since Donald Trump’s toupee.
The show never had a dull moment. Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson, Ringling’s first African-American ringmaster, kept the show moving along pretty quick and there were seamless transitions from one performance to another. The show was about two hours in length and had one 15 minute intermission.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents LEGENDS runs now thru Saturday, March 22 at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, NJ and ticket prices start at $30. All seats are reserved and tickets are available by calling Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000. For group rates and information, call 844-844-2121. To see if LEGENDS is coming to a city near you, check out the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey website.
Now it’s your turn to share. How old were you the first time you went to see the circus? Were you scared or ready to take on the lions yourself?
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