As we neared the ramps to the stadium I shouted “Race you! GO!!!” as I pointed the boys towards the ramp while I strolled leisurely towards the escalators. I cheered and jeered as they raced up several switchbacks from my vantage point on the slow and steady escalator. I arrived at the top well before the boys much to Ryan’s displeasure. Luckily as soon as we stepped through the doors onto the concourse all was forgotten as we took in all the colorful and bright sights of the vendors souvenir stands, and giant posters and were helpfully guided along to the animal viewing pre-show.
Connor spotted the elephants on the way down the stairs and practically dragged me along making a beeline for them. The excitement was contagious and palpable in the air. Kids of all ages running from one wonder to another.
Connor saw an opening at a fence and darted in to see what everyone else was looking at and found the tigers who were resting ignoring the crowd of gawkers with their flashing cameras. At a slower pace we made our way back to the front to see the rest of the tigers including a white tiger who picked his head up and looked at us as we approached.
From there we made our way to the first of the elephant pins with 2 mother elephants and their babies. The boys were super excited to see them.
We stood watching for a while as the elephants happily munched hay. We did eventually make a our way to the ponies and llamas, goats, and a dog?
And of course Connor spotted the snakes. One of which picked his head up on our approach and looked right us in a Harry Potter creepy kind of way before settling back down.
Ryan asked about the lions about the time Connor mentioned he needed to go potty. We told the boys would make a second round to see all the animals again, after a potty break and then asked staff nearby where the nearest restrooms were. We were sent up a back hallway with a single family bathroom that was already occupied. We waited nervously repeatedly asking the attendant if there were other bathrooms while Connor did the potty dance. Luckily, we made it just in the nick of time. Ryan on the other hand insisted he didn’t have to go, and we insisted he did if he wanted to see the lions. Or the elephants. Or the circus! In escalating volumes. As he shouted he didn’t need to go, and didn’t love us anymore. Luckily he did eventually deign to go and we were able to head back to the animals.
Though we arrived back at the arena to find it deserted with just a few staff members ushering out the handful of folks still waiting in line to take pictures and the circus crew moving the animals to a staging area in preparation for the show. We were shown to the show floor where a variety of performers were entertaining the crowd before the show. We stopped to watch 2 clowns on a small side platform as they played with balls and balloons and picked kids from the small circle around the platform to help. Connor stood by eagerly hoping to be chosen while Ryan latched on to my pants leg and attempted to hide behind me wary of the clowns. We picked up some red clown noses at a painting kiosk and made our way to the far stage to see what it offered.
Before long an elephant came out and did a variety of tricks for the excited audience.
Including a game where he caught sticks with his trunk and then held them in his mouth. He also painted a picture with a paintbrush held in his trunk.
With 15 minutes to go before show time they made an announcement for folks to begin finding their seats. The boys stopped by a small platform and danced to the lively music for a minute while we looked for our tickets and made our way towards our section.
We were in section 137 just to the left of center stage, just a few rows up. It was a perfect vantage point.
As crews efficiently cleared everything off the main floor vendors strolled by with popcorn, cotton candy and snow cones. We got the boys each a box of popcorn and sat down to watch as clowns came out to further entertain and engage the crowd before the show.