The Big Apple Circus: A Good Choice for a Child’s First Circus

The Five-Year-Old on the Big Apple Circus: “It was perfect, Mommyo, and the way I wanted it all the way up to the end.” (Image: Michael Howell)

Last weekend, the Caterpickles squad traipsed into downtown Boston for a trip to the Big Apple Circus. Now in its 34th season, the cozy, one-ring Big Apple Circus is a Boston tradition. This year’s show, “Dream Big,” is made slightly more poignant by the departure of Grandma. Portrayed by Barry Lubin, Grandma (and as far as I can tell, the only member of the cast to wear actual clown makeup) is leaving the Big Apple after this year’s tour.

The Big Apple is an excellent choice for a child’s first circus. Although it only contains one ring, The Big Apple Circus includes all of the elements you’d expect from a first circus–jugglers, acrobats, magicians, surprisingly well-trained animals (including a capybara), a thrilling trapeze act, gorgeous horses, wild costumes, and a ringmistress to keep everything running on schedule. Best of all, there are no scary clowns. There are, however, lots of very silly ones to keep your young one entertained in between the changing of the acts.

The one-ring format and the relatively small amphitheatre means that there are basically no bad seats. I can say this with some authority, for with our usual wisdom and forethought, we decided to go to the circus two hours before the show. Consequently, the only seats left were on the very back row. Fortunately, the only trouble this caused us was The Five-Year-Old’s disappointment at not being picked as the audience volunteer for an early act.

But enough of what I thought. What really matters is what The Five-Year-Old thought. “It was perfect, Mommyo, and the way I wanted it all the way up to the end.”

The Big Apple Circus runs in Boston through May 13. From Boston, the show travels to Queens, NY and Charlestown, RI. Tickets range from $20-100. Directions to all three locations are available here.

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