I am embarrassed to say that I have not taken my child to the circus until now. To celebrate her birthday, I surprised her with an evening among clowns, acrobats and an elephant. She was initially hesitant thinking it would be sensory overload. What she didn’t realize was that her love of art and animals came together in a colorful and lively show known as Piccadilly Circus.
The circus music reminded me of the early 90’s when club kids were going to raves. As strange as it sounds, it set the tone for the opening act. Picture a daredevil duo of acrobats walking in giant hamster wheels high in the air. Watching them walk faster and faster, then jumping rope and even walking blindfolded had everyone in suspense. Without giving too much away, it was an amazing and unusual way to kick off the show. There were gymnasts, contortionists, fire swinging jugglers and a guy on a tight wire driving a motorcycle.
While there were ponies, camels and zebras outside, only the camels and an elephant were the star animals of the show. I was initially concerned about going to the circus because of stories of the mistreatment of animals. The trainer was so calm with the camels and even though he had what looked and sounded like a snapping whip, he didn’t use it on the animals. Talk about being up close and personal. The elephant in its large stature came out dancing with the trainer and parading around even playing a tambourine!
For those of you whose children may have a fear of clowns, fear no more. The clowns come out dressed like park rangers hunting for a “lion” with the Ghostbusters theme song playing in the background. Their plan backfires when a chihuahua (dressed as a lion) runs after them. They frolic around playing tricks on one another until they fart! One clown came right up to my six year old, bent over, and let out a pretend smoke cloud of gas.
The look on my child’s face had my husband and I in stitches laughing as she really thought it smelled! In the second half, both clowns perform music like “New York, New York” and “If You’re Happy And You Know It” on trumpet, clarinet, cymbals and colored glass bottles.
We attended the circus on its second night town. Parking is ample and $10 cash only. Being that it’s spring, but feels like winter, the tent was very cold. Luckily, we brought a blanket with us. Compared to other, big competitors, Piccadilly Circus wins for having a small, intimate venue allowing up close action from all points of view.
You can’t go wrong whether you aim for the side, front or VIP seats. Side and front seats are wooden bleachers while VIP are folding chairs in divided sections similar to the size of a theatre box seat. Seating was general admission meaning you picked where you wanted to go. The show clocks in at just under 1 1/2 hours including a fifteen minute intermission. When the second half of the show started, the two empty seats behind us filled up with other people.
Ticket prices range from $10 to $48 and can be purchased online or by calling 877-373-0477. If you order tickets online, take into consideration that there is a service, transaction and facility fee. However, there are two ways to save at the circus. Consider attending a weekday show. For every adult ticket purchased, a child under 13 receives free admission. No matter what date you choose, use the online coupon code BIGTOP to receive a $10 discount per ticket. You can have your tickets sent to your phone or print them from your home computer.
Good to Know
- During intermission, you can have your face painted for $10. Pony rides and camel rides are available outside during intermission and post-show. It was too cold for the animals and for us humans so hardly anyone took advantage of riding on an exotic animal.
- Bathrooms are sub-par. There was no soap or toilet paper when we went pre-show and three stalls were out of order. Post-show the one working stall had toilet paper, but it is not a sanitary environment.
- There are two lines to enter for tickets. To buy them the day of the show, it is cash only. If you buy tickets online, you still have to stand in a separate line for them to be scanned.
- Be expected to splurge. We skipped the vendors offering cotton candy, snow cones, popcorn and nachos, but circus toys were smack dab in front of the entrance. Inflatable Scooby Doo and Spongebob Squarepants are sold here in addition to the popular light wands which range in price from $12 to $15. Our wand broke, but they happily replaced it with another one.
- Be careful if you are attending an evening show. It’s a bit dark exiting the tent and the flooring is dodgy in some parts so exercise caution.
Piccadilly Circus is only here until April 7, 2013. Show times are daily at 4:30 and 7:30 pm with an additional performance at 1:30 pm on Saturdays. There are three shows on Sundays at 1:00, 3:30 and 6:00 pm. Round up your family and have a ball under the big top for a rollicking good time!