Circus Zirkus at the Chicago Children’s Museum

The Chicago Children’s Museum has become a three-ring circus. Literally.

On a recent Sunday morning, my 3-year-old daughter stepped right up to clown around at the temporary Circus Zirkus exhibit at the museum-an interactive play space where ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages can pretend to be circus performers.

Seriously, some of the areas looked like so much fun, I double-checked to see if I could have a turn.

A few months ago, I took Anya to see her first circus, and while she adored it, she was disappointed that she didn’t get her turn at the trapeze, the ropes and the tumbling show.

That’s where Circus Zirkus gets it right-it’s about time the kids could run the “circus” and actually perform.

Anya started with the flying trapeze, which is actually a swing about five feet off a mat. Then she moved on to the spinning hoop-a swing in the shape of a vertical hula hoop that she sat inside while twirling.

In another ring, she dressed up in massive clown boots, a multi-colored tutu, a ginormous hat and some bright scarves.

There was even a pint-sized tightrope.

She loved pretending to be in the circus, but I wish the museum splurged on videos in each area so the kids could really understand what they should be trying to do. There were some pictures, but a circus deserves a video.

The big top held her attention for about 15 minutes-long enough to try everything once and even pretend to sell concessions to her imaginary audience.

The circus exhibit is included in the price of admission to the museum.

But be warned: Since the exhibit is quite small-the size of a large room-the lines for each of the acts could take a while. The day we went, there was a five-minute wait for each of the popular acts-an eternity in the toddler world.

Circus Zirkus will be under the big top-err, inside the Children’s Museum-through Aug. 12.

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