My family and friends just had a special night enjoying the Big Apple Circus in Cunningham Park, Queens,NY. It wasn’t until mid show that we realized it’s a nonprofit circus serving over 300,000 under the big top each year and 250,000 other spectators through their various community programs. Pretty impressive!
We made the drive from Manhattan and found the free parking in Cunningham Park, Queens quite easily. Once we got our tickets we took our seats which were 3rd row from the front! Our view was incredible. The arena is so small I have a feeling all seats offer great views. Regardless, being third row is still special and the girls were tickled about it.
The girls, ages 4 and 8, filled themselves up with blue cotton candy and popcorn while the show took their imaginations to great heights! This year’s theme was ‘The Grand Tour’ with featured acts from all over the world. Set in the 1920’s this extravaganza included trains, ships, cars and planes as the backdrops for the incredible acts. We watched jugglers, acrobats, horses, dogs, hula hoop experts and clowns all entertain us for about two hours. During a 2o minute intermission the circus crew led in a herd of ponies and let the kids take turns riding them for $10/piece. I think this was my 4 year old’s highlight. The eight year old liked the large racing horses the best. The adorable dog show was my favorite.
Here’s a video of our memorable night, one I hope to make an annual tradition:
I was so impressed with what I learned about Big Apple Circus, I want to share a little more.
The Big Apple Circus opened in 1977. One my favorite things they’ve done to date is started the clown care unit in 1986. It’s a group of professional clowns, trained extensively in hospital procedures, circus skills, and improvisation who make rounds as “clown doctors.”
In the 1990’s Big Apple Circus helped fund The Harlem Hospital Center. Their pediatric area became a headlining facility as professional performers specially trained as “clown doctors” would perform for patients.
Big Apple also offer a Circus of the Senses which is a circus performance specifically geared towards children with special needs including autism.
For the animal lovers concerned that the circus does use animals, they state that they “only work with domesticated animals, such as horses and dogs, many of whom are rescues, and our trusted, third-generation animal trainer has been with the Big Apple Circus for close to 15 seasons.”
- Strollers are allowed, there is a special stroller parking section.
- You can bring backpacks and purses into the arena with you.
- Bring cash for the $10 pony rides, even if you don’t plan on it…you may get suckered into it.
- Video is not allowed but photos without flash are.
- There are plenty of bathrooms in the area, a combination of port-a-potties to park potties.
- The workers are all extremely nice and helpful.
- I can’t wait to see the new show next year!