Wondering if you should splurge for VIP tickets to the Big Apple Circus in New York at Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park? We recently went so I wanted to give you guys a review of Big Apple Circus if you do VIP tickets.
So, I had never been before. I love circus music, food, etc. so I was really excited to take my two year old daughter. However, like some things, I get ahead of myself. We decided to go but I really wasn’t sure if she wasn’t a little bit young to enjoy Big Apple Circus. I am happy to report that she loved every minute of the performance. She was actually mesmerized!
Big Apple Circus is now in its 41st season, performing an exciting spectacle in Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park. What was really nice and I found particularly engaging for young kids is that it’s a very intimate big top theater. In fact, no seat is further than 50 feet from the performers. It’s also very politically correct—no exotic animals being tortured here folks.
The Ringmaster is a female (yay!), Stephanie Monseu, which I thought was a cool change of pace. The rest of the performers range from acrobats doing death-defying jumps and stunts to a dog driving a car. There were two (not stereotypical) clowns, trapeze artists and more. There is also the Hall of Wonders (which all audiences are welcome to enjoy). Here you can enjoy circus-themed treats and libations (created by renowned mixologist Pamela Wiznitzer). There are also oodles of photo opps, including with castmates from the show.
It’s really an excellent show, well-organized and attention grabbing. It’s almost a full two hours with a 20 minute intermission. My two year-old didn’t get antsy for a minute. Another friend took her son as well who is a couple months younger and he really enjoyed the experience as well.
Okay, so it’s clear that I loved the experience. But what about VIP tickets? What do the VIP tickets for Big Apple Circus offer? First, you are afforded access to the VIP lounge. The lounge itself is circus-themed and truly a lovely place to relax. You can also hang your coats and store your strollers here. However, I should note that I’m not sure anyone is really watching your belongings so I would leave at your own risk and keep valuables you bring to the show to a minimum. The lounge gives access to a limited open bar, which includes beer, wine and the house signature cocktail. The experience wasn’t very organized if I’m being honest. The staff didn’t seem to know what was included. We were given bags and pins to wear but it seemed that it was more by luck that we found these. There are also complimentary snacks, which consist of popcorn and cotton candy.
So, the positive part of the experience is that you are given a private entrance and restrooms, which is definitely very nice. You can arrive up to one hour before the show and sit and relax in a room that really does have cool vibes. You’re given priority ringside seating in the first two rows of the main tent where the performance takes place. Now, the less impressive part to me were the snacks and drinks. While I didn’t expect five star cuisine, I would expect the popcorn to at least be warm and the cotton candy to be presented a little better than colorless, white candy in a plastic bag. Like have a person spin it right there, do something to add a little magic. Soft drinks and water are complimentary. They also have apple juice for kids (barf, would never let my daughter drink that). They do have a menu of specialty cocktails and some are presented in a fun, very Instagram-friendly way. These, though are not included and are available for purchase. While they are premixed, they are quite strong (at least the two that I sampled). My daughter is obsessed with yellow and we asked for one of the adorable balloon animal-themed cups for her, I said I would pay and they just would not budge on it. I tried to rinse it out but it didn’t get rid of the alcohol smell–like I said, they were strong. I thought they could have been a little more accommodating for a VIP experience.
So, do I think that it’s worth it to upgrade to VIP tickets for Big Apple Circus? In this case, while having the room to relax before the show and during intermission was a nice place to chill out, we then didn’t really have as much time to explore the Hall of Wonders. While you do get premium seating, because the theater is so small, I’m not sure that it’s entirely necessary. In fact, for some parts of the performance, you may have had a better view being a little further back.
That said, I absolutely think that everyone with kids should see Big Apple Circus. It was a very fun and wholesome family experience that we really enjoyed. Big Apple Circus runs through Sunday January 27th, 2019 at Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park—137 West 62nd Street, New York, NY. For tickets call (212) 257-2330 or visit Big Apple Circus VIP Tickets online. It’s a great activity to do in New York City with kids.
Curious which VIP tickets are worth the splurge? Check out my review about the VIP Tickets for Sesame Street Live.