Review: The Great Circus of Europe & AIA Carnival 2019
We had a family day out at The Great Circus of Europe and The AIA Carnival - did we have fun? Find out in this review!
The Great Circus of Europe is happening at the Central Harbourfront now until 17 February 2019, I took my kids (9, 7 and 3) along for a family day out.
The circus takes place in a traditional ‘big top’, meaning the action happens in the circus ring with seats all around. We were in ‘premium’ seating ($250), but the layout means that there are no ‘bad seats’. Prices start at $150 for the rear seats, through to $400 for the VIP ‘ringside’ seats which are literally inches away from the action!
We arrived 15 mins before the show started and were lucky to get seats right on the front row (there’s no reserved seating), so we had a fantastic view.
The show runs for around an action-packed hour, so not too long for younger kids’ attention spans, and the diverse circus performances are linked together with a ‘Greatest Showman’ theme.
The acrobatic and aerial acts showcased dynamic and impressive skills with plenty of jaw-dropping “wow” moments. I especially loved the Polischuk Duo and their graceful and romantic display of aerial flying skill and strength.
The lively opening performance by the Havanna Troupe and their aerial cradle, with upbeat salsa music and dramatic casting and catching got the show off to a great start. Jenny Glowaki’s elegant ‘cloud swing’ act high above the circus floor with just a slender line was a superb display of strength, artistry and courage. But the ultimate show stopper was the final act, the ‘Double Giant Space Wheel’. Two scary looking metal contraptions were constructed in the ring and span at alarming speed and great height while the daring performers defied gravity to jump, skip and dance on them. Impossible to look away for a second.
Amid all these fast-paced acts we also witnessed the unusual strength of strongman Serhii Ivanets (driven over by a London taxi) and the spectacular flexibility of contortionist rubberman Ogen. And special mention has to go to the clown Andreea who entertained between the other performances, including some fun audience participation, and was my 3 year old’s highlight of the day!
The AIA Carnival
Tickets to the circus include entry to the AIA Carnival, so it’s easy to make a longer day out if you combine both activities.
The carnival was a big hit with the 3 year old in particular who was extensively catered for with kiddie rides featuring various forms of transport.
For the tweens there were lots of suitable rides including dodgems, a swing merry-go-round, roller-coaster and the iconic helter skelter. Meanwhile there were definitely a few options for the real thrill-seekers too, including the crazy looking Mach 5 spinning people upside down at great speed (if you like that sort of thing).
Alongside the rides there are numerous carnival games where you can test your luck and skill and hope to win a prize. The games were popular and parents should definitely be prepared for kids to desperately want one of those big cuddly toys!
We didn’t eat at the event but did check out the selection on offer and there were numerous options available, with various cuisines offering something for everyone.
The whole family enjoyed the circus, I would highly recommend it and think it’s great value for money too. The carnival was also entertaining with activities for all age groups. With rides starting at $30 and upwards (check the website for more details), the amount of time and fun to be had at the carnival is dependent on your own budget. All in all a great family day out!
Ticket Details for The Great Circus of Europe
The circus is on now until 17 February 2019.
Performances run from Tuesday to Sunday (closed Monday), with 2–4 shows per day (low–peak)
Ticket prices range from $150-$400, include entrance to the carnival, and can be purchased here.
The show does not include animals.
Ticket Details for the AIA Carnival
The AIA Carnival is on at the Central Harbourfront until 17 February 2019 (closed to the public on 11 January).
All attractions and rides require tokens as payment. Entry only is $50, adult entry including 10 tokens is $130 and entry for kids age 3-11 including 7 tokens is $90. Advance tickets can be purchased here.
Until 1 February students can get free entry on weekdays when presenting student ID.