Circus in Casa Grande

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Luminous chandeliers float like paper lanterns above the lobby of Chandler Center for the Arts, welcoming guests entering through the towering glass facade. Inside, they find three halls?one larger auditorium, and two more intimate performance spaces?hosting a variety of musical and theatrical performances. Each theater is designed for optimal acoustics, ensuring audiences can hear every tuneful note, stage-whispered line, and breaking of the fourth wall. And the center showcases non-performing arts as well?the Exhibition Hall displays regularly rotating collections of sculptures and paintings.

250 N Arizona Ave.
Chandler,
AZ
US

The first thing people notice about Circus Vargas is its big-top tent. Hand-fashioned in Milan from 90,000 square feet of cerulean-blue fabric dotted with yellow stars, the canopy completed the illusion of an elegant lost era when used in the 2011 film Water for Elephants. The last thing people notice is the absence of animals. They're too busy gaping at a man balancing a 12-step ladder with his mouth.

Keeping its marvels strictly human, Circus Vargas builds on a 40-year history by blending classic feats of fearlessness with surprising new tricks. The show features magic tricks along with a skilled hand balancer, a speed juggler, and the wheel of destiny.

5000 S Arizona Mills Cir.
Tempe,
Arizona
US

Snakes slither in glass display cases, and lizards wriggle in the hands of trained handlers as they're held up in full view of a curious crowd. This is the scene as one of Repticon's presenters educates attendees on the biology, behavior, and typing speeds of exotic cold-blooded creatures at one of the year-round shows held in cities across the country. Reptile and amphibian breeders, scholars, and handlers engage audiences in lectures and demonstrations in the midst of live reptile exhibits, family activities, and displays for exotic-pet supplies. Presentations may focus on the genetics of large snake species, the specifics of exotic-pet care, and the effect that tiny hats have on the image of arachnids such as tarantulas, scorpions, and spiders.

1826 West McDowell Road
Phoenix,
AZ
US

Founded in 1842, Zoppé Family Circus draws on old-world Italy’s circus tradition, amazing audiences of all ages with story-driven feats of clowning, acrobatics, and animal training in an intimate 500-seat tent. The performance, which Coast Views magazine lauds as “pure tradition, pure artistry and pure delight!” stars Nino the clown and a supporting cast of acrobats, equestrians, and capering canines, whose training allows them to simultaneously fetch newspapers and shred shoes. Live musicians play rousing tunes as fire-breathers blow flames, gymnasts contort, juggling pins fly, and equestrians leap effortlessly onto horseback. Acrobats twirl on towering trapezes and costumed clowns interact with and offer unwanted makeup advice to the audience. Parking is plentiful, with spaces available across the street for $3 a car.

2221 N Country Club Rd
Tucson,
AZ
US