On Thursday night, my family and I watched the opening of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents Legends at the Norfolk Scope. On signage, and in sound, we were reminded that this was the greatest show on earth.
Our kids asked if that were true. I said that they could decide after the show and let me know what they thought.
After grabbing our tickets, we proceeded to the animal visit area where tigers, lions, llamas, donkeys, and more prepped for the big show. And yes, there were elephants, too. Beginning May 1st this year, the Asian elephants will retire from all Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey shows to their home at the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation in Florida. In Hampton Roads, this weekend’s show at the Scope and next weekend’s show at the Hampton Coliseum will be the last opportunity to see elephants at the circus. With the population of elephants dwindling in the world, my husband said this to my kids, “Someday, when you have kids of your own, you’ll say ‘I once saw elephants at the circus’, and your kids will say, ‘What’s an elephant?’” Hopefully, conservation efforts will keep that from our future, but for all we know now, this was a special moment for our kids.
Once we left the preparing pachyderms, we headed to the floor of the scope where a clown attempted to teach our son to juggle, acrobats did tricks above our heads, clowns clowned and cyclists cycled. The kids had a chance to try on some circus coats and hats while they took pictures with the performers. Our boys had a blast during this part since they felt like they were part of the circus.
We took our seats when it was time for the show to begin. Now, my husband had been to circuses as a kid; I never saw one until I had kids of my own. Yet, there we both were as adults, mouths agape for parts of this show. The acrobatics alone were impressive for us, but they also had bike (as in bicycle) tricks, daredevil stunts with bikes (as in motorbikes), and so much more. Our kids were so, so excited. There were many points that, as I watched the acrobatics, I thought, “Is this what happens when you don’t want to go to the Olympics?” There was a break in the show while they set up for the animals, and upon return, the silly antics of tiny dogs, pigs, goats, donkeys, and even kangaroos made us giggle. I think the part that really made me feel nostalgic, however, was when the trapeze artists came out. This seemed so other-worldly to me, so truly legendary.
It would take a much longer article for me to explain everything we saw last night. The best way to fully understand it is: Go. Go for the acrobatics. Go for the clowns. Go for the memories. As we were leaving, and the kids were talking non-stop about the show, we snuck in the question, “So, was it the greatest show on earth?” In unison, they both gave an excited, and resounding “YES!”