Ringling Bros and my little clowns

Disclosure: I recieved tickets for the circus in exchange for my coverage of it. No other compensation was given, all opinions are my own.

 

Friday I went to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus with my family after a long and busy week.

I have only been once before, as a kid. Before the unicorn ( one horned goat) went touring with the circus, and I watched those commercials with an amazement and also a disappiintment, as the unicorn wasn’t thefantastical creature in my dreams.
I remember elephants, I remember the music.
(Hint: I like unicorns. Check my Pinterest board.)
 

 

The circus’ theme is ‘Legends’ and features an intrepid and at times comical explorer out in search of, well, the legendary.

Wonder Boy was entranced from the opening parade around the arena floor, jumping up and down and cheering.

His favorite act, however, was the motorcycles riding around in a steel cage.

I think it was mine too!

Wonder Boy got a little overwhelmed, but really got into the animal acts, watching from our laps and clapping with the audience on occasion.

 

One of the reasons I was so excited to go to the Legends show was to see their unicorn- something advertised along with their winged horse that was all in the posters.

I wont ruin the ebony suprise for you, but this one was much more like the graceful horse- like creature of my dreams ;)

We had to leave after intermission, but even that length of time was a full adventure for my 1 and 4 year olds. We saw elephants, lions and tiges, motorcycles, jugglers, dancers, acrobats, horseback riders and many clowns.


Tips for the circus

  • Bring a sweatshirt- Citizen’s Bank Arena is COLD. We found out we were under a vent or something, everyone sround us in long sleeves were complaining as much as we in t-shirts.
  • Souveniers are expensive… T-shirts are around $25, but the show’s DVD was $15. I fell in love with a stuffed elephant for $34, but the boys would have demolished it.
  • Eat before you come, but save some room for popcorn or something. Theres plenty of people walking around before he show and intermission, bring cash. We got a souvenir cup of lemonade for $10.
  • The show is pretty long- intermission was around 9 p.m. For our 7:30 start time.
  • Get there really early! Take time to check put the animals before you walk in ( no reentry) and spend time on the arena floor during the pre-show to try on costumes, meet circus performers and more. We watched an elephant paint a picture.
  • There are a lot of protesters around the circus, so be prepared for that. They weren’t disruptive though.

 

 

 

Early adopters

Wonder Boy started on an iPad at 18 months.
lil’ Wonder is still too young, grabbing the screen and swiping from Toca Boca’s tea party app to Netflix in an instant.

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With Wonder Boy it felt a little more wierd. He was a novelty- people watched him swipe and drag and tap away with amazement as they struggled with their own smartphones.
But now, he is ever more the norm- and a reality that has definite pros and cons.
Can he be entertained anywhere? Yes, just pull out the tablet or phone and he’s tapping away at whatever game is available.
Did he learn? Heck yes. He learned letters from Elmo before preschool, and he learned problem solving skills, geometry, and cause and effect from games like The Amazing Alex and Angry Birds.
The hardest thing with an early adopter is making sure he gets enough time doing other things. I refuse to let me active son get too much screen time, otherwise he’s crazy by dinner. Luckily, he loves to run, scooter, dig in the dirt and crash together his Hot Wheel cars.

Lil’ Wonder is on the verge of getting to start some of Wonder Boy’s favorite little apps, and I’m looking forward to seeing him step up to the one-finger dexterity challenge and work on motor skills while learning at what is the norm for his generation.
He will be attending school and beyond with an amazing amount of technology available to him – the closest we got was a half hour of computer lab each week with the LOGOS turtle or the first edition of The Oregon Trail.

While I think it’s lovely so many parents want their children unplugged, homeschooled or unschooled, or just out learning in the real world, I think it’ important to speak technology early on for our little ones, and I embrace it fully and support it as much as pssible. I’ve taken Wonder Boy to go try out tablets at Verizon to kill a few minutes time, watching him navigate different user systems. We went to a local business’ open house to let him play on a touch-screen map that was as big as a dinner table.

And then I come home and toss him outside with a bucket of water to play with.
How do you navigate the balance between the virtual and real worlds with your children?

Foodie Baby all mapped out

I’ve alluded to it before, but when Wonder Boy was young I had a series called Foodie Baby (actually, a separate blog but we threw it all together here later) where talked about my dining experiences with a toddler.
I posted about many local restaurants to me and a couple not-as-close, describing food menus, high chairs commentary, and so on.

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Well, now that Lil’ Wonder is 13 months I am considering revisiting this series, though I admit, my dining budget is smaller than it was before.


View larger map

But here is a fun gadget for you to play with – a map of all the locations I talked about a couple of years ago!

Each location is current as of the date the blog post posted. I haven’t gotten to revisit all of them, so if someone has greatly changed please just let me know.

 

Flying at Camp Snoopy

The opinions in this article are my own. I do not work for, or with, any brand mentioned in this article, nor do I have any official relationship with them. I have a relationship with GigaSavvy, for whom I create original editorial content.

I admit, i was a bit trepidatious about the trip to Camp Snoopy. Wonder Boy had grown up only riding a couple rides there, being a little timid of rides, and they had taken away two of his favorites to make room for bigger Peanuts-themed rides.

It’s been a lot of work, some days, going to theme parks with Wonder Boy. He loves to look at rides, but anything new brings out the fear, and we recently only spent 20 minutes at Disneyland because he refused to go into a new place. (And my lesson learned- threatening to go home over it means you will have to leave. It sucked.)

I partnered up with the ever-awesome Desiree at Camp Snoopy hoping her children would bond with mine into some kind of superhero actually going on rides group.

It worked.

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Yes, that is Wonder Boy, the one who refused to get on much but the semi trucks at Knotts and cried over going on the big train, happily swinging away.

He happily swung away a couple of times, begging to go on again but being dragged off for another new adventure.

Every new ride he tried, he said it was his new favorite.

 

He blew my mind all day, including when we went back to again ride the swings and he decided to take on the scariest-looking one, with me beside him.

He rode it three times.

And yes, that is him saying “whoooAAAAAaaaa”….

Wonder Boy, while being fearless in some things, is definitely not when it comes to loud noises, rides and fireworks.

Checking out a new and improved (in Wonder Boy’s eyes) Camp Snoopy was a definite adventure. Here’s some tips for the summer if you plan on going down.

  • Sunscreen! not all of the ride lines have shade to stand in, and lines for rides like for the hot air balloon ride move slow because of the ride capacity.
  • Water! Because. Knotts also has souvenir cups you can buy and keep refilling all season long.
  • Height Guidelines! Check them before you get in line and read the signs. I saw several kids turned away after standing in line with siblings. They will be checked. The new rides are all for taller children, my son is 43″ and just made it for a couple of them. The schoolbus and big rigs are still pretty universal.
  • Patience! My son was determined NEVER to ride the Linus Launcher, aka his new favorite ride ever. Is they balk, watch it go a round or two or come back later. A few hours into the day and my son was a more adventurous kid.
  • Make sure you get a chance to ride the Grand Sierra Railroad, which has some cute Peanuts vignettes.

Let me know if you decide to go flying at Camp Snoopy!