Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Greatest Show on Earth

After Lilly was born Bryan and I, obviously, started paying more attention the family friendly attractions around Indy.  Attending the circus was pretty high on our list from the start, but it seemed like every year something stood in our way.  The first year that Lilly was old enough, Jack was way too young, only a few weeks old.  The next year I was only two or three days out of foot surgery.  But, this year we had no excuse.  Months ago we chose our day, bought our tickets and planned a whole day around the circus.  We schedule meals, naps and Bryan's work around getting an early start and taking advantage of everything that the Ringling Brothers had to offer.  Our tickets entitled us, not only a seat for the show, but also an up close view of the animals, performers and a slew of activities before.
To say that I was excited would be an understatement.  I was not at all disappointed.  It was one of our best nights out as a family.  Things could not have gone better.  Everything went according to plan, the kids were on their best behavior and the show was spectacular!
Earlier in the day I asked my friends who are familiar with downtown to recommend a place to eat.  We got several awesome suggestions and decided on The Old Spaghetti Factory.  We arrived about a minute and a half before they opened, and due to Jack's obvious excitement over the railroad caboose, we were ushered almost immediately inside of it to find a table.
 You can't tell, but our table is inside the train car.  The kids loved it.
 Dinner was great and included ice cream.  We were on a roll!
 After dinner we walked about a block to the Feildhouse where the circus was.  We waited briefly for them to open the gates and then quickly found our seats and headed to the floor for the pre circus shows.  It was almost as if Lilly's eyes weren't big enough to take it all in.  She clung to my hand and stared, mouth agape, around her, trying to take it all in.  Some nice folks shifted a little to give her a front row seat to the warrior demonstration and she refused to budge when they asked for volunteers.
 Later, though, when the clowns invited kids to come and join the conga line she leaped up and joined the dancers heading toward the limbo stick.
 After that we made our way to another circle to watch the elephant paint.  Jack couldn't take his eyes off the elephant and eventually earned himself a new stuffed toy when we went to the souvenir stand and he blurted out, "el-phant! pease!".
 Lilly couldn't be torn away from the action long enough, even, for a family photo.
 A five minute buzzer sounded and we made our way to our seats to wait for the show to start.  This year's theme was 'The Spirit of the Dragon', prompting Lilly to chose a dragon from the circus store.
Lilly and her dragon.
After an all cast performance the horses took center stage and Lilly declared that this was her favorite act of all, and then did the same for every act after this.
 Then, the lion tamer...who Bryan and I worried might actually be eaten.  Lilly was sitting with Bryan and when I asked if he was ready to shield her eyes if things went bad it was obvious that he was a step ahead of me. 
 Both kids watched the entire first half without moving or blinking.  By the intermission we were ready for some snacks and a potty break, and Jack finished an entire tub of popcorn by himself during the second half without ever looking at what he was eating.
 Then, came his favorite part, the elephants.
 The ladies next to us got this with their cotton candy.  None of them seemed inclined to wear a clown mask so they gave it to the kids.
 Finally, the fire breathing dragon makes his appearance!  And then, the show was over.
Our evening started at about 4:00pm when we left the house.  We ate dinner, walked downtown, and made it to the circus around 6:00.  The show started at 7:00 and wasn't over until well after 9:30pm.  We got in the car and headed home at about 10pm.  Did our kids fall asleep in the car after such and exciting and eventful evening?  No sir, they both talked all the way home about the circus!  This event was worth the wait and is most definitely on our list for next year!