Monday, April 14, 2014

The Circus

  There comes a time when you have a child that as a parent you have to make some tough decisions. What religion will your child be raised? What is your view on pets? What types of foods will you feed your kid? How about products? For our household of very adamant animal lovers the circus was a big decision for us.
     As an animal lover, advocate and huge supporter of the Humane Society. We always, donate money for animals, help lost or hurt animals, adopt only rescued animals and even certified our backyard as a Certified Wildlife Habitat. As a child my parents never let me go to the circus or zoos. They are animal lovers as well. My parents are hippies in every sense of that wonderful world. They want nothing but peace and unity for all. I only saw a circus one other time when I was a child as a field trip. I also only went to zoos on field trips as well. Quite frankly there was not much around us anyway so I did not know any better.
    As an adult I make my own decisions. For a while I visited zoos very often and many of them. As an adult I made my own decision about how I feel about them. As I feel everyone has a different feeling. Here is my view from one animal lover to another.
     Although zoos, aquariums, amusement parks and circuses all get bad raps for bad treatment of the animals, I do think some of it is unjust and unfair. First of all, not all are created equal. I have seen some terrible zoos and I have seen some wonderful zoos. Not to mention regulations have been much stricter in the last few years in every state. Animal abuse laws are being added to the books and enforced fully at all of these places. I even researched the Cole Bros. Circus to see how their animal track record was. It has been perfectly clear with no infractions for three years now.
         I do not think that these things should not exist and we should only keep animals in the wild. In an ideal world perhaps, but how can we expect mankind to care about animals and protecting them if they never see them or interact with them. Would you really switch your tuna fish to dolphin safe if you never saw a dolphin or ever could? And because they would only be in their natural habitat which is the ocean you may see pictures. However, interacting with them in a zoo or amusement park you are learning how that dolphin is one of the smartest mammals in the world. Some marine biologists suggest it is smarter than a human. If you never learned about that dolphin in the amusement park you would never know how friendly they are or how they use echo location to swim so gracefully through the ocean. Thus, you would never donate a cent or take an action to protect them.
             I firmly believe in education. I think the majority of zoos, aquariums and amusement parks are for the protection and education of the animals. Majority of the animals are bred in these places. Meaning that the animals do not know anything different. It can depress some animals, or shorten their life spans, but they can also have decreased life spans in the wild and depression as well. I just believe you should not judge a zoo, aquarium, amusement park or circus until you have witnessed it. You cannot close all these places down because there is nowhere for the animals to go who have lived there their whole life. They will not survive in the wild. Plus, how different is it for an elephant who has a pretty decent living at the zoo in a decent space, friends, food, veterinary care, etc than the dog across the street who is chained outside constantly in the sun and snow and barely shown any affection. How can you protest one and not the other?
    (On a side note: Please note I am against any and all zoos, aquariums, amusement parks, and circuses that have proven animal abuse and neglect)

     The circus holds a small place in my heart. Although I am not a huge circus fan. I am a big theater fan as it was my major in college. Circus was one of the first forms of theater. We actually learned the history or circuses. I actually learned how to be a clown and mime. (yes, I know I have a wonder of many, weird talents). For me, taking my son to the circus was his first taste of performance art. Plus, since he is only two he could go crazy without us being kicked out.
      Wilmington, NC is known for it's huge Azalea festival that went on this past weekend. With the Azalea Festival came the Cole Bros. Circus. We decided to go with some friends who also have a toddler and see how the boys liked it and would react to it. Let me just say, I am glad Xavier's ticket was free. As he did not seem to care the least bit about the circus. The elephants and acrobats caught his attention a little, but he was mainly busy with his snack and light up toy.

       As for us, I enjoyed it. First of all I saw no signs of animal abuse. They informed us that all the animals in the show had been born and bred with them. Plus, you can see that circuses have a bad rap with animals because I and my husband noticed that there are a lot less animals and acts with animals in them then there used to be. Instead there are much more acrobatics and stunts which we really enjoyed. I was disappointed in the clowns. They were not very dressed up as clowns, were not very friendly or funny. Certainly did not attend my college of clown art! However, if you have a phobia of clowns perhaps this is the circus for you as you will barely be able to tell they are clowns.

     All in all I would say unless you know for sure your kids LOVE it! Go do something else. The ticket is $21 per adult general admission which is a seat on a metal chair at the back of the tent near all the poles holding it up. I would have been happier if they charged $10 or maybe $15 per person instead. I definitely will not bother to take Xavier again unless he asks then we will start the circus discussion again. However, I am glad we went. We had a great time with our friends and laughing at our boys. Plus, I love watching any reaction Xavier has to something new and I am glad I gave him the opportunity to make up his own mind about the circus!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and enjoyed some beautiful weather like we did!

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