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Go Ask Mom

Circus is coming! When to catch its actual arrival

Posted February 1, 2011
Updated February 2, 2011

When the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus comes to town, some fans know that you can actually see the elephants, horses and other animals unload and walk into the RBC Center. You really can get an up close view of the animals.

I've been following the circus and its arrival for a few years now, including at my previous job writing about family events for The N&O. I've never seen the circus train. But this time of year, I always get questions from readers wondering when the arrival is scheduled. (And I welcome them and any other questions, comments, criticisms and, of course, nice thoughts).

Here's what I know about the arrival: It can be a moving target.

Right now, the circus folks tell me the circus and its animals are scheduled to arrive late Monday evening. I should get an actual time as we get closer to Monday. In past years, from what I understand, the arrival has been hours earlier or later than expected. This week, in Columbia, S.C., the train was two hours late.

So that's what I know right now. I'll post something as soon as I get another update.

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is scheduled to perform at the RBC Center Feb. 9 through Feb. 13. That's next Wednesday through Sunday  The ticket deal the circus offered Go Ask Mom readers last month is still good. You can score tickets in the $15 and $23 price levels for $12 (plus the usual fees) using the code MBLOG11. Click here for details.


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  • dhlrbkrs Feb 7, 2011

    I had thought about taking my grandkids to the circus, but then remembered how they trained the elephants. Its cruel & unusual punishment for any animal to be treated like that. Now they have a baby elephant that has to grow up the same way. People wonder why every so often an animal goes wild at public events, its because it is wild & trying to break free. Where are all the animal rights activist when the circus is around. just had to get that out there.

  • bylagoon Feb 6, 2011

    I cannot help but feel that most parents are not even aware that these circus animals are forced to live an abusive and miserable life to entertain their families because they would not be so excited about the circus’s arrival in town. Most people have family pets that they love and they would never allow anyone to abuse their pets to make them learn tricks.
    I’ve wrestled with whether to speak up and decided for me to remain silent is to condone the abuse of these animals, and I cannot in good conscience ignore this animal abuse disguised as a wholesome family event.

  • grassroots Feb 3, 2011

    I am not interested in getting into a debate, so my comment is really just for bylagoon. I HATE it when the circus comes to town. I think I was a teeneager when I saw my first documentary on it and I cannot support it in any form. Many other countries have banned or restricted the use of animals in the circus (Isreal, Denmark, Bolivia, Finland, Sweden, Singapore, Austria, Costa Rica, India) with many others developing laws currently to do so. Our family will never go to a traditional circus and I do not consider myself an extremist by any means. Anyway it is always difficult because I have friends who go and are excited and I would never tell them what is right for their family, so I try to avoid the conversation but I am always asked why we won't go. It's hard to respond honestly without ruining their excitement or appearing judgmental. We are, however, all about the cirque du soleil...LOVE IT!

  • shall6 Feb 2, 2011

    No problem truthandhappiness! That is a huge group! Enjoy!

    And thanks for those memories thomashumphrey!


  • bylagoon Feb 2, 2011

    I just love elephants and when I see them walking tail to trunk down the street to the arena I see “dead elephants walking” because I’ve learned about the kind of unnatural life these elephants are forced to live and the regular beatings they receive throughout their performing life to make them entertain the paying audience in thousands of shows. Elephants’ mirror the human species especially in emotions, life span, compassion, depression, they even shed tears. A quick search on Google and You Tube tells it all.

  • truthandhappiness Feb 2, 2011

    i used the code when it was 1st posted and it worked... we got a large group of like 17 going and i'm so excited... can't wait and thanks for the code :)

  • shall6 Feb 2, 2011

    If you go to WRAL's Out & About calendar, you'll find a listing of events and venues across the region.

    And if you click on the "live performances" tag at the top of this post just below the headline, you'll see all of the posts on Go Ask Mom about live performances such as the circus, which is a big annual event, in the area.


  • thomashumphrey Feb 2, 2011

    Many years ago when I was a photojournalism student (in SC) I got free passes to many events in order to provide press coverage in the campus paper. The passes were free and usually came without strings. The venue was frequently involved in the student paper getting the passes. It is interesting that one of the hardest passes to get was to Ringling Bros. In my case, the circus manager in charge of press access tried to get a commitment that photos would be run in the paper in exchange for photo access!

  • bylagoon Feb 2, 2011

    Thanks for your replies Sarah. I’m glad to hear that neither you nor WRAL accept free tickets, that is a good policy to have. It seems that every town Ringling Bros Circus visits, the local news always puts out articles or announces their events, like the elephant’s walks and show times. My original question was, is the comments and announcements published by WRAL of Ringling Bros. Circus arrival in town, a courtesy or free of charge advertisement? I wondered if WRAL published free a list of entertainment venues in town for residence to attend. Ringling seems to get more than their fare share of announcement when the train rows into town.

  • thefensk Feb 2, 2011

    I got to see this procession once in Austin TX years ago. If you can catch it, it really is great fun to watch.