This was Lyons Cub’s fourth Circus visit! First, he went to Circus Liberty; then, to Circus Proscho; and finally, to Circus Florida. Each one was an exciting event for a preschooler, and each one contained specific attractions that were phenomenal. This is a short comparison of what the four circuses we have been to so far have to offer:
- Circus Liberty:
- Horses, ponies, camels, goats
- Animal feeding and petting in the break
- Pony riding at the end of the show
- Circus Proscho:
- Participation of school-aged children who partook in the project (after the show), just for partaking families
- Enormous fire acts
- Circus Florida:
- Horses, ponies, donkeys, camels, goats, kangaroos, alpacas, dogs, snakes
- Animal feeding and petting in the break
- Snake holding during the break
- A bit of interaction with “volunteers” from the audience
- Small fire act
- Pony and donkey riding at the end of the show
- Circus Traber
- Their own drum set
- Horses, ponies, dogs
- Animal watching and petting in the break
- Lots of interactions with “volunteers” from the audience
- Pony riding at the end of the show.
This mommy preferred Circus Florida, because it had the most animals, and they could be fed during the break, and there was at least a small fire act; there was a bit of fun interaction with a volunteer from the audience. Lyons Cub liked the last one, Circus Traber, most (but I’m not sure whether this was because he was there with his friend, Giuliana). It has to be said that it offered the most fun interactivities and was therefore very engaging to the young audience. Personally, I think a circus needs to have animals (and they need to be treated and kept well, of course). I remember when I went to circuses in my own childhood in the 1970s and 1980s, there was no interaction with the audience at all and no pony riding afterwards. Back then, there were still panthers, tigers, and lions, which we haven’t seen in modern circuses anymore. However, circuses have certainly come a long way with regard to improving the interactivity with the children and letting them partake in the show and feeding/touching the animals.
First, there was a misunderstanding: We had heard about Circus Traber when we found discount vouchers lying on the parking lot of our local ALDI. We picked up two, one for Leander and one for his friend, Giuliana. We went there the following Sunday, but on the flyer, it had said that the show started at 11:00 a.m., so we arrived shortly past 10:00 a.m. to purchase our tickets. Nobody was there at the ticket booth, as can be seen in the picture above — the show started only at 3:00 p.m. We had misread that there would be an 11:00 a.m. show the FOLLOWING Sunday!
Luckily, we knew exactly how to spend the remaining time. The circus had set up its tent next to the park Rheinbogen with a huge playground and a splash pad (it had no water in October now, of course). When Giuliana and her Dad arrived, we first rented a four-person go-kart and took a one-hour ride to the Rhine river. Our first stop was the famous giant swing we had visited several times before. A small tire swing had joined it, and my son liked it more than the big and scary one where he couldn’t touch the ground or hold both ropes in his hands, because they were too far apart for a little kid.
We drove on through a meadow of sheep (behind an electrical fence) and met some joggers and people with dogs or on bicycles. We weren’t quite sure we could get back on the paved way, but we made it without getting stuck in the mud that we drove through.
We parked our go-kart at the river banks and went down to the water to throw stones and wooden “ships” into it, and to collect sea shells. We found lots of white and brown ones, some bigger and some tiny, and some shells even still had both parts, so they could be closed. There were some abandoned fire places where we found branches and burnt wood that made nice “boats.” We saw seagulls, and one of them sat on top of a red-and-white pole. This was Lyons Cub’s second time playing at the Rhine River banks; the first time was when we visited the Peace Museum of Remagen.
Of course Lyons Cub got wet shoes… When we had returned the rented go-karts, we went to the playground, and Leander got to swing on the 7m-high “Himmelsschaukel,” the “sky swing” he had never been on before. It was really very high. Scary for mommy, not for kiddo 😉
After that, we all drove to Burger King to have chicken nugget lunch with Giuliana’s mom and little sister, Emilia. Then, we returned to Circus Traber, because it was after 2:00 p.m., and we still had to purchase our tickets. The show started soon after. The light effects were amazing! Awesome colors. The only thing I didn’t like was all the dust, especially when they picked up the carpet and all the dust rose into the air (cough, cough). Leander and Giuliana each got a light stick with a unicorn on top. It would come in handy later… (cliffhanger). Lyons Cub also got a big, swirly lollipop, and both kids ate cotton candy:
There were three red pedestals, and Lyons Cub exclaimed: “That’s where the tigers will sit!!” Ehem. Of course there wouldn’t be any tigers that close to the front row without any iron bars between them and the audience. Sorry to disappoint you 😉
Then, the show started. The first act was a beautiful, black-and-white horse (it was funny, but when my son went to feed it was hay lying on the ground during the break, someone yelled, “let’s feed the cow!”).
The next act consisted of a huge, black horse and a teeny-tiny black horse. It was rather comical, because the tiny horse ran underneath the big one, which was very funny. The big horse put its hooves on top of the barrier and came very close to the audience, which was exciting for the kids.
After the horses, we saw a high rope artist, whom my son really admired. She performed some breath-taking stunts high in the air with a ring and a rope.
Hereafter came the clown act. The clown chose two men from the audience to make them twist a rope he wanted to jump over. The joke was that in the end, he blindfolded one of the men, who had to jump up and down while he whistled, thinking he jumped over the rope, but the rope had been cast away already. No wonder the kids loved this circus; it was so fun and interactive! I bet the children of those daddies were really proud. One dad even performed push-ups as punishment for not having done everything to the satisfaction of the clown 😉
I have to say those two guys played along really well. Do you know the feeling you have when you’re in the audience and a volunteer gets chosen, and you’re afraid it might be you? Well, I had that. I guess many people in the audience felt like that. Guess we lucked out….
After the clown act, we gasped at the dangerous balancing acts of the roll acrobat, who stacked more and more boards on top of each other until he climbed on the top one and stood up.
The next horse act was Lyons Cub’s favorite, because a group of small black and brown ponies came so close to the children in the first row that they could pet them!! How exciting. I think Leander’s little friend was a bit scared, but he stroke their pretty manes without fear.
After the group of ponies, there was one more clown act: Two different volunteers from the audience had to stage a love drama: One guy got huge plastic sunflowers that he had to give to a girl, who was made to wear a ribbon dress, a lei around her neck, and a flower wreath in her hair. However, then the real lover of the girl showed up, wearing a knights helmet, crying, “mi amore!,” and knocking down the other guy and his girlfriend with a plastic sword. The clown played the scene for the daddies from the audience, and they tried to imitate him as well as they could. They actually staged that really well, haha. I bet Giuliana’s daddy was really happy that he didn’t get chosen to be part of the play.
I have to admit, this was the most elaborate sketch we’ve ever witnessed at a circus. Great job to all involved!! And then, there was one more act before the break: The hula hoop dancer. She did a great job, not dropping anything.
Now was a well-deserved break for artists and animals. And this is the part I did not enjoy as much: There was just a “petting zoo” for EUR 2.00, no feeding possibility of the animals for the children. I mean, there was hay lying around on the ground, and Lyons Cub and his little friend picked some up and fed the horses, but it wasn’t the same as we had experienced at Circus Liberty and Circus Florida, where the kids could buy little food sacks for the same price and actually give the animals pieces of carrots, apples, and bread. Also, the petting zoo was underneath the red tent, which made the light really red, so there was not a single good photo to be taken as if it had been outside under the blue sky, as in the other circuses. Moreover, there were only ponies and dogs. The other two circuses also had camels and additional animals. Still, Leander and Giuliana had a mighty good time:
Back outside, we took some fall pictures on a haystack with the kids:
After the break, we went back inside to watch the rest of the show. It started with a dog act. The kids especially loved it when the doggies walked one after the other on their hind legs:
Apart from that, the two friends had lots of fun with their glow sticks, trying to see who could lift his/her unicorn the highest 😉
Then, we watched the jugglers. Lyons Cub had met one of the two jugglers (who were brothers) before, when he visited his kindergarten. He was very excited to see him perform now. At the entrance, when we had bought our tickets, Leander said to the seller: “I know you! You can juggle so well. You came to our kindergarten and showed us how to juggle!” And the artist was seemingly pleased.
Needless to say, the juggling acts were among the highlights of the circus show for my son!
Both brothers juggled together at some point, taking items away from another while juggling, which was amazing. They were really good. One juggled directly in front of my son’s nose!
After the jugglers followed another high rope stunt. A lady rode in wearing a white silk dress like a wedding gown, sitting on a black horse, and then climbed into a net, which was pulled up in the center of the circus. This was very romantic. The light effects were great — the best ones we had seen in a circus so far.
What I liked best was the comic sketch that followed next:
The funniest thing ever happened during an act with a “volunteer” (the clown picked an unsuspecting man from the audience): There was a suspicious package hanging down from the ceiling. The clown and the volunteer tried to get it down with a ladder. The clown made the volunteer put on neon yellow protective pants, a yellow safety jacket, and a yellow helmet. Of course, we thought the mysterious package contained water! Finally, they managed to open it up, and there was no water — there was a silver disco ball inside, throwing light into all directions! Now, the song by Joe Cocker began to blast, “You Can Leave Your Hat On,” and the volunteer was supposed to take off his protective clothes slowly, one after the other, in the light of the mirror ball. He might not have known the song, because he took his helmet off first, although he was supposed to leave “his hat on”! 😉 He didn’t get very far, though — suddenly, everything went black!! And this was NOT planned. It was a real power outage…
Luckily, the kids had glow sticks 😉
The final act was a contortionist:
My son was all “oh” and “aaahhhh”!!!!
At the end of the show, Leander and Giuliana got to ride ponies! It was her first time. Lyons Cub had done it twice before.
What a beautiful day that was!