The final days of the Ringling Bros. circus

AP News:

While the show goes on in other circuses around the world, Ringling is special. The size, the spectacle and the history — stretching back to P.T. Barnum and his traveling museum in the 1800s — set it apart.

One of Ringling’s two traveling circuses is scheduled to perform its final show Sunday in New York. The other closed this month in Providence, and with it, the end to a way of life few others have experienced. The Associated Press was allowed to observe it extensively.

I agree with the decision to shutter the circus, given what we know of the animals and how they are treated but I will still shed a nostalgic virtual tear for the disappearance of the circus. I fondly remember seeing a circus as a ten-year-old in the Halifax Forum. It was the first time I’d ever seen “wild” animals and it was a magical experience.



  • Dana Pellerin

    I never got the chance to see the circus. I wonder if they could make it work as a Vegas act, with the success of the Circue du Soleil shows and all.

  • Mo

    I think the only time I ever got taken to see this circus, long long ago, the smoke from the burning rings they made the tigers jump through triggered my asthma. Went home feeling poorly, but at least I got a cool flashlight on a lanyard out of it.

  • Paul Chernoff

    I remember going to a big circus (don’t know which one) when I was very young. With my son we saw the Big Apple Circus a few times. Small stage, animal free (was there a horse?), acrobats, clowns. Was fun but sad that circus’ seem to be limited to the wealthier these days. I think there are economic issues beyond wild animals that brought down Ringling’s traveling shows.

  • My family went to the Ringling Bros. Circus yearly at Madison Square Garden when I was very young. Loved it. Saw Big Apple a few times and loved it too. And, of course, later, Circue du Soleil. Once they started eliminating animals it was all over for these traditional circuses. I’m glad I got to experience a few as a kid.

  • James Hughes

    I brought my son to see Ringling brothers in Providence when he was about 4. The look in his eyes was worth every penny. While I agree that it was discovered the animals were often mistreated, or in an unfriendly environment, it’s too bad that there couldn’t be some sort of compromise. I’d never go again anyway, but it’s sad to think no one else will get to see the joy in their children’s eyes as they watch the circus. It’s certainly not an everyday affair.

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