See the front row seats?
We passed on the premium seating; I was sure SB would be too scared to sit that close anyway. Soon the begging went from wanting to sit closer to wanting something to eat. I went for the popcorn; my brother went for cotton candy. SB also needed a sprite or her world just might come crashing down. I waited patiently in the concession line.
Me: "I'd like one popcorn, please."
Concession man: "That'll be $8."
Me: "I'm sorry. I said one bag of popcorn."
CM: "Right. That'll be $8 for one bag of popcorn."
Me: "I'm afraid to ask for a sprite."
CM: "Those are only $3."
Me: "How big?"
He held up a warm 12 oz can. I ponied up the $11 because I had no other choice. I met my brother back in our seats and the sickened look on his face told me he had met a similar fate at the cotton candy stand. $10 for the cotton candy. Plus three drinks. The kids were thrilled and already planning what else they wanted. You can only imagine the trinkets and prizes they were hawking in every aisle. I began to reminisce the free chicken incident, which ironically had taken place in that very same arena the year before.
We shook it off and settled in to enjoy the show. It was actually a pretty good performance. The kids were a little young to appreciate all of it, but they loved seeing the animals. SB kept asking when will we see the elephants do tricks? Intermission came and the ring master invited all the children to the bottom of the arena to ride ponies and elephants, slide down the inflatables and feed / photograph the animals. Our kids were out of their seats in an instant. Ride an elephant?? Yes, please. I tried to guess how much it would cost to ride an elephant and multiplied it by three.
In the end, they each rode the elephant, then split decisions between the slide and pony rides. I realized we were actually saving $5 per kid on paper cups of llama food when I noticed the kids scooping fallen food pellets off of the floor and feeding them to the llamas and goats. Good thinking, kids. Please go use some hanitizer.
It was all worth it in the end, although my brother and I figured intermission alone cost us about $60. And we didn't even attempt the animal photography. Thankfully our kids were content to recycle rejected llama food from the floor and shove it back at the llamas. What a relief. Well, maybe not for the llamas.
As the show neared completion, SB could not hold it any longer, so we made for the nearest potty. After the hand washing and drying (SB is obsessed with push button hand dryers), we headed back out to our seats. SB and I simultaneously realized with dismay that we were missing the grand finale. The elephants. As we returned to our seats, the elephants were performing their final trick. I was just relieved that we got to see a small part of the elephant show, and SB was pretty easily convinced that we had not missed most of it.
I certainly learned some valuable lessons at the greatest show on earth. Next time when the circus comes to town, I'll bring my own sprite. And plan the bathroom break for intermission.