Friday, September 17, 2010

Zachary and Grandma Go to the Circus

As promised, here’s the story of my trip to the Ringling Brothers-Barnum & Bailey Circus with my grandson.

So we’re driving to the Arco Arena, and from the backseat Zach says, “This is where the Kings play basketball.”

Holy moly, he’s three and a half. He’s never been to a basketball game (thank God—we have to save SOMETHING for when he’s a little older!), but because he’s so curious about everything he sees, he knows that the arena is where the Kings play. Zounds!

“That’s right,” I answer, always ready with a snappy comeback.

“There’s the highway. Highway 80,” he points out.

“Yep, that’s highway 80 all right,” I agree. I’ve got to work on my repartee. The kid’s killing me.

“Here’s where you turn for my school, Grandma!”

“I know, Zach—I love coming to your school!” I’m drowning here, someone throw me a rope.

Anyway, we pull into the parking lot, land a prime space (did you know I’m the Queen of Parking Karma?) and head for the big event. On the way to the entrance, we’re accosted by someone from PETA who tries to foist a flier onto me, regarding the treatment of elephants. I kind of gently shake my head and say (rather softly) “Please don’t—“ and she yells, “Oh, you don’t CARE about the animals???” I just kept walking, happy that Zach was more interested in the big train car on display than the nut job who, though she was trying to do something good, completely misapplied it in confronting someone with a little kid in tow…

So we get inside, and the whole interior of the arena is lined with showy, flashy, elaborate concession stands. They run the gamut from incredibly overpriced snacks (popcorn: one size, $7.00, and I swear I am not making this up) to incredibly overpriced souvenirs (nothing under $15.00, but most in the $20-$28 range, all of which looked like you could have bought them at Target for about $6.99), to ornate set-ups of circus scenery in front of which you are enticed to have your child’s photo taken for the princely sum of $15.00.

These displays just go on and on, and they pretty much repeat themselves repeat themselves every ten or so booths, and it’s a total sensory overload. Bright lights, flashing neon displays, sellers calling out to you, waving their wares, hoping for another sucker customer who will plunk down some megabucks for their goodies.

Zachary was wide-eyed, trying to see everything, taking it all in. He asked, “Grandma, is this the circus?”

Well, of course in a way it WAS a circus, but I had to tell him that the circus would be inside, and we’d be sitting in seats like we did when we went to see Toy Story 3, and the circus would be on a stage. I neglected to tell him that it would be very loud, but you will see that he handled that problem on his own.

So here’s a little photo essay of Zachary and Grandma at the circus. There were no lions, but elephants, acrobats, and clowns—oh, my!

Rapt, but with ear protection.  Smart boy.

I never said I wasn't a soft touch, did I?
Oh yeah, we had popcorn, too.  And a
$4.00 bottle of water.


  1. Sorry the Peta people yelled at you and your grandson, I promise I won’t but I want to share another point of view with you. Like many other parents for decades I believed in the Circus Tradition of cotton candy and performing elephants not anymore that tradition came to a grinding halt when I saw with my own eyes irrefutable proof of Ringling Bros. Circus techniques for training their baby elephants to perform in the circus these photos just came out in 2009 so many parents have not seen them, this is how Ringling Bros. Circus gets 8,000-pound elephants to perform tricks like sitting up and even standing on their heads, Ringling breaks the spirit of elephants when they're vulnerable babies when they should still be with their mothers instead they spend a year-long intense and violent training sessions that last for hours each day. You can see this training where frantic baby elephant are wrestled, slammed to the ground, gouged with bullhooks, and shocked with electric prods.
    My family has a new Circus Tradition, one that doesn’t involve abusing and torturing animals to have them perform for a few minutes, we now attend Cirque Du Soleil or other animal free Circuses.
    My family loves the animals that live with us, and we would never condone someone abusing them like these exotic animals are abused by the circus industry for profit. Sadly this abuse will not stop until Parents and Grandparents quit taking their families to the circus and demand that Ringling uses only people performers.
    Parents and Grandparents if you need more proof….Google or got to YouTube and type in “Circus Elephant Abuse,” animal lovers will be physically sick by what you see. The proof is there but you have to open your eyes and look.

  2. Sounds like a fun day. I always loved the circus when I was little.

  3. I have never taken my son to the circus, but I feel like he would react just like your grandson did. Hands over ears and everything.

    I'm in the same camp as Ellie regarding my feelings about circuses and zoos, but I also have a fond memory of going to the RB circus with my grand dad and the zoo with my parents. If my mom took Jake, I'd be glad they had that memory.

  4. Wow, they've really repackaged the old circus with the concessions and the loudness. I hadn't known about the elephant abuse.... It's good to know, but a PETA person yelling at you doesn't help spread the message!

  5. Young Zach looks like his grandma, methinks.

  6. I was recently yelled at in a parking lot to. I never really did think offending or ticking off your potential client base was a good way to make a point. Oh well.
    I remember the circus from when I was little. My daddy took me and it was so colorful! I think its awesome that you took your grandson.