Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey's Greatest Show on Earth brought plenty of "wows" and "ahhhs" into the Allstate Arena as it kicked off its month-long Chicago visit with its new show, Fully Charged.
Fully Charged makes you wish you had three pairs of eyes so you don't miss anything going on in the three rings.
Most spectacular of the two-hour non-stop action came with Indiana native Brian Miser, aka The Human Fuse, turning himself into a fireball and catapulting himself from one end of the dark arena to the other end. Though it takes only a few dramatic seconds, that's what the kids talked about on the ride home.
But the stomach-plunging acrobatics by the Fernandez Brothers on spinning steel wheels three stories in the air are a close second. Parents and kids alike also will marvel at the high-energy tumbling performance by the Negrey Troupe, a group of gymnasts and acrobats from Russia.
Still, the lions, tigers and elephants, along with animal trainer Tabayara Maluenda, despite their relatively brief appearances, steal the show.
The one downside on opening night was the acoustics. Though much has been made of hiring Brian Crawford Scott as the 36th ringmaster, it was extremely difficult to understand him. It was especially hard to understand Maluenda as he worked with the big cats.
This circus is an affordable, fun night out for the family that will be something none of you will soon forget - if you can ignore the kids' pleas for the $12 bag of cotton candy and $8 box of popcorn.
Fully Charged is at the Allstate Arena Nov. 3-13, then moves to the United Center Nov. 16-27. If you arrive an hour early, kids might like the free pre-show to meet the performers. It was too crowded on the arena floor opening night to do anything; the view of the performers was better in the seats and the kids avoided getting stepped on.
Tickets are $13, $19 and $25. VIP tickets are $40 and front row seats are $50 (weekday) and $60 (weekend). They are available through Ticketmaster and the Allstate Arena and United Center box offices, by calling (800) 745-3000, or visiting Ringling.com.
Tamara is the editor of Chicago Parent and mom of three.
See more of Tamara's stories here.