By: Gina Guerra Burgos, Taking the Kids correspondent
NEW YORK — What to do on one of the coldest weekends so far this winter? Stay in and curl up with some hot chocolate? No! Head out to see the Big Apple Circus’ fantastic show The Grand Tour. My husband Rob and our daughters Jude, age 7, and Josie, 21 months, were ready to clown around so we put on our warmest gear and braved the blustery cold to head out to Bridgewater, New Jersey this past Saturday, and it was well worth the trip.
The Grand Tour transports you to the 1920s, traveling around the globe to see feats of wonder and amazement. The theme may be grand, but the setting is intimate enough that there wasn’t a bad seat in the house.
From Asia to Arabia there were acrobats and aerialists. The range of talents was so diverse and the strengths displayed were nothing short of astonishing. The Big Apple Circus Band accompanying the performers added a level of charm that set the tone for the whole show – and that tone was truly delightful.
The Ringmaster and the Clowns carried us through the show, even bringing the audience into the ring to join in the fun. Some acts were subdued and sweet, like the Ball Juggling, and others were campy and cute, like the Teeterboard. My #1 favorite act of the entire show (and my husband’s too) was The Wheel of Wonder. The Dominguez brothers were phenomenal – they were mesmerizing and exciting and kept the entire audience at the edge of their seats for their entire performance.
Jude said she was too scared by their act, and I will admit that I had to close my eyes more than once. She loved the Dog Act and all the puppies doing tricks. Josie was basically mesmerized by the whole first half of the show, which was an amazing feat all by itself.
The show is broken up into two 45 minute halves. There is a 20 minute intermission where the kids could take a pony ride around the ring for $10. Jude rode a pony and absolutely loved it. There were an assortment of snacks at the two concession stands and lots of opportunities for cute pictures. The show was a perfect length of time for everyone, though we did need some cotton candy helped to keep Josie seated through the second half.
I must mention how happy I was to learn about all of the community outreach that the Big Apple Circus provides. As a nonprofit organization they perform in pediatric hospitals, senior care facilities, schools, and have adapted performances for impaired or autistic children. I have learned that I prefer a smaller circus experience to a bigger production. My husband is a big animal advocate and liked how the show is not centered around animal performances. I love the intimacy and the joy that comes from a simpler, old-time way of having of fun. Please check out their website but more importantly get tickets to a show near you and have an amazing family outing while supporting a wonderful organization.