Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey arrived in Brooklyn today and things are getting a little crazy. The elephants made their way through DUMBO this morning (ahaha, get it?), and they’ll join the group of tigers, aerialists, and acrobats at Barclays tonight for the first of 23 shows running through April 1.
Are you bringing the family to the Greatest Show on Earth? Here’s what you need to know.
The Show: Built to Amaze is the 143rd edition of the Ringling Bros/Barnum & Bailey circus, and brings out the best of the best. Acrobats and aerialists perform feats of strength and agility on the ground and in the air, interacting with the awe-inspiring elephants and tigers and some comic-relief clowns.
How to Get There: This one’s easy for Stoop readers– you know Barclays, that big arena that some of you can probably see from your apartment window? Walk towards it. But if you’ve got friends or family meeting you from out of the neighborhood, here’s what they need to know: the 2, 3, 4, 5, B, D, N, Q, R all take you to Atlantic Avenue/Barclays terminal. Alternatively, they can take the C to Lafayette Avenue, the G to Fulton Street, or– if you’re coming from Long Island– the LIRR to Atlantic Terminal. For more information, check out the Barclays guide.
When to Get There: Arrive an hour early to check out the FREE All Access Pre-show, which offers ticketholders a chance to see what it’s like to be part of the show. Children of all ages are invited to the show floor to try on costumes, learn circus skills, meet the performers, and get their pictures taken with the clowns. There’s also a chance to win an original pachyderm painting, drawn right in front of you by one of the famous Ringling Brothers elephants.
How Long You’ll Be There: The show is approximately two hours long, with one fifteen minute intermission, not including the hour-long pre-show. Plan bathroom visits and snack times accordingly. Speaking of which…
The Snack & Souvenir Situation: If the prices at the circus’ run at Nassau Coliseum earlier this week are any indication, the goodies are going to cost you. Cotton candy went for $14, bottled water for $5, and “anything that lit up” was $22. Of course, Barclays has its own array of vendors to choose from, including Calexico, Brooklyn Bangers, and Elbow Room.
Make a Day Of It: Looking for something to do in the area before or after the show? Flatbush and Fifth Avenues are filled with excellent, family-friendly options. Grab some out-of-this-world hot dogs from Bark (474 Bergen Street). For something sweeter, swing by Sky Ice (63 Fifth Avenue) for their all-natural Asian-inspired desserts: try the banana coconut sticky rice, the fruit dipping plate with chocolate and caramel sauces, or any assortment of their ever-changing ice cream and sorbet flavors. And if you’re feeling super generous– or would like to stave off the begging for souvenirs– stop into Area Kids (45 Fifth Avenue) for a little pre-show toy shopping.
Tickets: Seats are still open at each of the 23 shows. Event times are listed here, mostly at 2:00 and 7:00 p.m. Tickets, available here, range from $30-185 for adults and $20-185 for children ages 2-12.
The Protests: It’s going to happen, so you may as well be warned. In Defense of Animals, Animal Defenders International, Caring Activists Against Fur (CAAF), and local PETA supporters are rallying outside Barclays at 6:00 p.m. tonight in protest of the circus’ treatment of animals, and they plan to continue throughout the run of performances.
Photo via acoopcott