On Taking Your Toddler to the Circus

Last Friday, Charles and I had a special mom + dad day with Brooks at the Circus. When I found out the Circus was coming to Philly right after Valentine’s Day – and they had 10:30 am showtimes! – I thought it would be a nice little treat for Brooks, to spend the day with just Charles + I. My mom volunteered to babysit Graham while we took Brooks out just the three of us.

On Taking Your Toddler To The Circus

Charles was a bit skeptical on whether or not Brooks would a) be able to sit through a whole show and b) really enjoy it – but I was pretty confident that there would be so much going on, it would be perfect to capture a toddler’s attention span – and I was right!


We got there almost 1 hour early – we weren’t sure if there would be traffic, how far away we would have to park and if there would be a line going in – but it all worked out that we went from our house to inside the Wells Fargo center in about 15 minutes! Crazy fast! I guess that’s a perk that goes along with a 10:30 am show – that and the fact that it was perfect for naps!

This was Brooks’ first time inside a big stadium like this that he was able to run around, so it was awesome to see his reaction to everything.


We wandered around the stadium a few times, taking in the sights and riding the escalators up and down {Brooks loves them – and Wells Fargo Center has some big ones!} It was a fun way to pass the time. elevator

When the show was about 5 minutes from starting time, we washed Brooks’ hands {since he was touching everything – yuck} and then indulged in Chickie + Pete’s Crab Fries – yes, at 10:30 am. It was so delicious! I think snacks while watching the show are a necessary part of the circus experience – and I think the snacks helped keep Brooks sitting in his seat, watching the show happily.


When the show started, Brooks didn’t really know what to think – there was SO MUCH GOING ON. Everyone in the show came out about 4 times throughout the show – in the beginning, before the intermission, after the intermission and at the end – so there was ALWAYS something crazy going on.

last call

Seriously, this was Brooks’ face the entire time. Eyes wide, mouth open {with food in it, duh} just taking it all in. Ha.


I think the other secret to our success were our seats. I knew that if we were going, we had to go with good seats, or it would be a bust. We scored 3rd row seats so we were easily able to see everything all the time – it was great.

via brooks

I guess the only bummer was that we had to purchase a seat for Brooks, since he’s 2+ but he didn’t really sit in it at all. He sat on our laps so he could get the best view, and to share in on the snacks. But having the extra seat was nice for the extra space too.

Clap, Clap, Clap.


This circus experience was special because the elephants are retiring and will no longer be in the circus shows, which I think is great. They were amazing to see up-close and it was impressive to see them do all the tricks – we even saw two stand on their heads!

You could see a definite bond between the animals and their trainers and I can only hope the animals are treated with respect, but you just never know. I’m sure the elephants will be happy in their retirement.


Regardless they are such beautiful creatures and it was amazing to see them in the show.

big butt

Aside from the animals we saw tons of other artistry – lots of dancing, balancing, people climbing on top of each other while riding bikes, horses you name it!


Even the flying trapeze!


And Lions and Tigers – Oh My! These cats were pretty feisty.

lions tigersroarlion

Did I mention it was a dream for a toddler with a 5 second attention span?!

Check out everything going on!


Brooks’ face the entire time!

The entire show was 2 hours and 12 minutes – including a 20 minute intermission – which was longer than expected, but worked out fine. During intermission we let Brooks run around and stretch his legs for a bit and we brought him back in to enjoy the second half of the show, with a big box of popcorn of course! Ha!


Oh, and be warned that there are about a million plastic toys for sale, most of which cost more than the actual tickets to the show!


We had a blast taking our toddler to the circus, and I know Brooks really enjoyed it too! I remember going to the circus as a child, I always had such fun – it’s a great memory! I hope Brooks will remember it and the fun morning we had together!



Would you take your toddler to the Circus?



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  • Reply Patty O February 23, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    So happy that Brooks thoroughly enjoyed the circus, just the 3 of you! Lots of circus’s in his future, I’m sure! Great pics too!

  • Reply Erin February 24, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    As a pretty loyal reader this makes me sad and disappointed to see. I didn’t realize people still went to the circus. I thought it was pretty much common knowledge that these spectacles are barbaric and inhumane. Please do some research about the welfare of these animals and then help educate the next generation about why it is unacceptable to use animals for entertainment.

  • Reply Alice Carroll June 19, 2020 at 12:22 am

    You made a good point that washing hands is important when it comes to bringing kids to the circus because they tend to touch everything they see. I plan to bring my niece and nephew to a holiday-themed circus show later this year and I think they will surely love the treat. My sister told me that keeping her children away from her so that she can have come alone time with her husband is already enough of a Christmas give from me.

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