Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey “Zing Zang Zoom” Circus

My arms are still aching from carrying my toddler through the circus last night, but it was well worth the trouble! As a “Mom Central” promoter for the show, I and my family received free tickets and backstage passes. We also wound up getting free parking to Nassau Coliseum, as we were there well before the regular show time.

At 5:30 we were ushered into the basement of the coliseum, where all the animals were kept. We were up close with elephants, Arabian horses, miniature horses, zebras, tigers, and elephants.

I remarked that the elephants were in an area tied off only with rope, which served only as a visual deterrent to both animal and guest, whereas the zebras were in a locked paddock, and the tigers behind several layers of steel. All animals seemed content. The smell was tolerable.

The zebras caressed each other playfully.

The elephants played in the wood chips, playfully throwing it onto their backs.

We then received a personal interview with Mr. Alex the Zingmaster (so called because he was to perform several “magic” tricks throughout the show) and his nemesis, Mr. Gravity. I thought it was a clever concept to have Mr. Gravity as the enemy clown throughout the show. Mr. Alex pulled out a coin from behind my son’s ear. I don’t know how it got there.

Finally, we went down to the actual floor of the show, for the public pre-show. All ticket holders were permitted to mix with the cast of the show. Several performances were viewed up close. My 11-year-old daughter was assisted in balancing a table on her feet; you can see the back of her legs in the pictures.

We were seated halfway up, far to the right of the stage. Half the stadium was walled off, so that the entire room was a half-oval. I am guessing that, if I could see from where I was, every seat had a pretty good view.

My toddler jumped up and down throughout the show, shouting, “Hurray, ephants!…Yay orsies!…Doggies!…Lions!” No, there were no lions in this show, but she can’t differentiate between them and tigers.

My ten-year-old daughter, a great elephant lover, was completely satisfied with the trick of a dozen Asian elephants standing on each other’s backs. In an educational video I received about Barnum and Bailey’s Elephant Conservatory Park in Central Florida, I learned that this and others tricks performed by elephants are based on the natural play that they perform in the wild.

I really loved what I called “air dancing”, couples who performed on a rope high in the air, doing moves similar to what pairs figure skaters do on ice.

In all, the pre-show lasted for about an hour. The actual show went from 7:30 to approximately 10:00. I normally like to have the kids in bed by 8:00, but this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It was a great night, and well worth the trip!

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1 comment:

Loren Christie said...

Hi Elizabeth,
Wow, that sounds like such a great night. Interesting backstage info, too. I like your more reading links widget, that's really cool. I think I'm going to copy. :)