Our review of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s “Built to Amaze” — a fantastic show!

Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey horses perform

Built to Amaze was in Jacksonville Jan. 17 through Jan. 21.

My daughter is normally in bed by 7:30pm, but on opening night of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s “Built to Amaze,” the show was just beginning.

And what amazed me was that my little diva lasted almost until the end, sitting wide-eyed in my lap and clapping her hands as she watched elephants dance, acrobats climb, and clowns joke around.

Don't forget to use our discount code to get $5 off each ticket to see amazing acts like these awe-inspiring tigers.

The tigers terrified my mother!

I had seriously considered hiring a sitter for my daughter, who — at less than 2 years old — is never willing to sit still for long. But the circus is so intense, with so much excitement and wonder and action every minute, she was totally hooked. So was my 4-year-old big boy, who sat at my side laughing his head off at one stunt after another.

His favorite moment was when a woman was shot out of a cannon, and that’s saying a lot for a little boy who hates loud noises. He was absolutely amazed that the woman moved so fast and survived the feat.

His second favorite part, which he has retold to everyone who asks him about the circus, was when a clown appeared to throw a small rabbit into a box with a giant snake. Everyone was horrified, certain that the snake would devour the rabbit. But then the clown opened the box again and pulled out a giant rabbit — making it look as though, in fact, it was the rabbit that devoured the snake.

The show was fantastic from start to finish. Grandpa, who also went to the show with us, was completely impressed with the basketball teams who played a wild game while riding unicycles. It was hilarious — and really took a lot of skill. Grandma was terrified of the tigers, but otherwise loved the show and said there is a lot more “glitz and glamour” at the circus these days. And my husband loved the athletes who made riding a bike on a tightrope, among other things, look easy — right above where we were sitting. He was a little bummed they didn’t have the motorcyclists in the steel cage this year, but even so we all left the show talking a mile a minute about all the amazing sights we had seen.

Ringling brothers and Barnum & bailey elephants

The elephants are among the animals that dazzled the crowd at the show in Jacksonville Jan. 17-21. / Photo Courtesy of Feld Entertainment

And, this year, the theme — Built to Amaze — incorporates a lot of construction concepts that are especially fun for kids with interest in any aspect of construction — dump trucks, painting, building, there was even a man on stilts who looked like a giant pile of construction cones!

Nothing is really low-cost at the circus, but then we didn’t really expect it to be. We splurged on a $20 light-up sword for our son to wave around when the lights were turned off during the show… and it now lights up his room at bedtime every night.


Note: Mamamelia is a Feld Family Ambassador, which means we have to stick this disclaimer at the end of our posts to let you know we get goodies like free tickets in exchange for helping them spread the word about their events. But rest assured the opinions shared above are 100% genuine!

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