By Sara Lugardo

The circus will undoubtedly conjure up memories of your childhood, filled with wonder and amazement. Introducing the circus to your children or just reliving that wondrous experience for the kid in you, it can be a great way to spend your time in the Chicago area. While going to the zoo or checking out a museum has its appealing qualities, nothing quite compares to a circus experience. Whether you’re young in age or young at heart, make sure to take advantage of all the circus experiences in and around the Chicago area.

(Credit: Gamma Phi Circus at Illinois State's facebook)

(Credit: Gamma Phi Circus at Illinois State’s facebook)

Gamma Phi Circus
Redbird Arena
Illinois State University
702 W. College Ave.
Normal, IL 61761
(309) 438-2690

Dates: April 19-20, 2013

The two-hour drive to see this spectacular show will be well worth it. The program is affiliated with the College of Applied Science and Technology at Illinois State University and helps to promote gymnastics and the arts. The performers in the show perform or have performed in the top circuses around the world, from Cirque de Soleil to the Great American Circus. The types of acts that are within the performance are fire-eating, trapeze, Russian swing and much more.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey: Built To Amaze
United Center
1901 W. Madison St.
Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 455-4500

Dates: November 20-December 1, 2013

This is the 143rd edition of the “Greatest Show On Earth.” There are circus performers from all around the world, including exotic animals. Kids will love the tigers and elephants, while parents will enjoy the acrobats and aerialists. For those willing to arrive an hour early, there is a free all-access pre-show where you can meet the performers and even try on costumes from the show. There will be two separate venues for this circus’ visit to Chicago, including the Allstate Arena and the United Center.

Circus Camp Sr.
Lincoln Jr. High
7839 Lincoln Ave.
Skokie, IL 60077
(847) 674-1500

Dates: July 8-August 2, 2013

This camp is offered for children nine to 14 years old and the fee is between $569 to $711. Participants will explore tumbling, juggling, aerial feats, plate spinning and how to be a clown. Two guest performance artists will instruct hands-on workshops. The end of the camp will result in a circus performance for friends and family to enjoy. There will also be two field trips included in the summer camp.



The Acro-Cats
National Pastime Theatre
941 W. Lawrence Ave.
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 549-3357

Dates: June 6-9, 2013

Animal lovers will love this circus display involving cats. A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to Tree House Humane Society. Ticket prices are generally between $15 and $18, which includes general seating for all. The performance uses clicker training for the cats and the stunts they perform will amaze those of all ages. Visitors will love seeing the different personalities in all the cats, as well as The Rock Cats band.

Wonka Ball 2013: Circus Maximus
Architectural Artifacts
4325 N. Ravenswood Ave.
Chicago, IL 60613
(773) 784-8565

Date: April 26, 2013

About Face Theatre is holding its annual fundraiser with circus elements combined with elegance and sophistication. Leave the kids at home and enjoy a night filled with amazing performances, dancing and elegant dining. General admission tickets are $135 but for an additional $100 tax-deductible donation, guests can partake in the Ringmaster’s VIP Cocktail Party an hour before the start of the event. Ticket includes an open bar, food, music, dancing, performances and a silent auction.

Sara Lugardo is a professional writer out of Chicago, Illinois. She has a Bachelor’s in Communication and is currently working on her Master’s. Her work can be found on