My husband, Bobby, and I went to the circus on our honeymoon over 20 years ago. My memory of it was that it was “OK,” but wasn’t really something I thought about doing again. When he told me that he had won four tickets from Haasz Automall in Dalton, Ohio to the Tadmor Shrine Circus, I mostly just thought it would be an experience to share on my blog. It turned out to be much more than that.
We invited a friend of mine from work and her husband. However, due to his work schedule he couldn’t go. Jessica, my friend, had never been to the circus, and neither had her 8 year old cousin, Vance. We all had a great time there. Here are five things I learned.
- Elephants are really big – I know, call me Captain Obvious, but I have never been that close to an elephant before. The circus offered tickets to allow people to ride them. Jessica and I talked about doing that, but in the end it was just Vance and me (and 3 other people) riding Libbey. I know her name because I asked the trainer. I also know that she was 48 years old, because I asked him that, too. Turns out that the elephant is older than me! But it is amazing that she can carry so many people at one time. I will say that I was a little sad to think that this was her life. She just walks around in circles, carrying people who want the experience of riding an elephant, and then get another load of crazy humans. I also was hoping the elephant trainer was nicer to the elephants than he is to people. I’m just saying, he really wasn’t Mr. Personality. Maybe that is why he works with elephants. Then again, who wants his job to be walking around in circles, watching an elephant carry load after load of crazy humans?
- Tigers are really strong – Again, not earth shattering information by any stretch of the imagination. However, seeing them live and watching a tiger jump over four other tigers without a running start. You got to know their leg muscles are pretty strong. They were fun to watch, but they themselves seemed a little bored. I don’t know how many shows they had done while in Canton, but if they’re like my cats, they like a little excitement. There was this one moment, when one of the tigers seemed to hiss and reached out to swat at the trainer. I know how my cats get when they are a little testy. Even though they love me, they still scratch me occasionally and it hurts. I was worried the trainer was going to get hurt. Luckily the tiger backed down and everything was fine. It might have been me, but for a few seconds, I at least held my breath.
- Circus clowns are really talented – (I’m on a roll, so why stop?) At least the circus clown, Johnny Rocket, was really talented. Of course the purpose of the clown is to keep the crowd entertained while acts are preparing to come on or there is some other lull in action. Johnny Rocket did definitely do that. But I was amazed at the sheer athletic ability he had. He climbed ropes, did a stunt on the single trapeze and did a chair stunt from 30 feet high. Not to mention he kept the crowd, especially the kids, involved in the show and cheering for him. Heck, he had the adults cheering for him, too.
- Free circus tickets aren’t really free – O.K. the tickets were free to get into the circus. (Thank you Haasz Automall!) But be sure to take your wallet if you ever go to the circus. I don’t begrudge them making a living. They have to pay for food for the animals and travel and all kinds of things (workers’ compensation, I’m sure isn’t cheap). But really be ready to pay for every little thing. Parking, popcorn, soda, elephant rides, cotton candy, drinks in flashy cups or whatever. You name it, they sell it, and it isn’t cheap. But we were making memories, so we just went with it. This is your warning–budget well for a trip to the circus.
- Circus acts can really take your breath away – Like I said earlier, I didn’t think I’d enjoy the circus that much. I kind of thought it would be more of an exercise of people watching. But I was just enthralled by the different acts. The hula hoop girl impressed me maybe even more than the elephants. Why? Because I have tried to do a hula hoop and can’t keep the thing up. But here was a woman who could keep four going at the same time, on different parts of her body, in different directions! Then there was the guy who balanced chair upon chair until he was 30 feet high and did a handstand. I know I have seen it on TV before, but it is so much more impressive watching it live. I could see there was no net to catch him if he fell. The same thing with the couple who did the tightrope and this large figure eight sort of thing. (I can’t explain it, but it was so impressive.)
The circus really did make an impression on me. I think bringing Vance with us allowed us to see things a little through the eyes of a child, which might have lent to some of my wonder. But whether or not you have a kid to take with you to a circus, I would suggest you go. Just make sure to allow yourself to be amazed. Then, for sure, you won’t be disappointed.