Circus in Palo Alto

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Hershey Theatre

The Hershey Theatre, conceived in 1933 by noted philanthropist and chocolatier Milton S. Hershey, stands as an opulent tribute to the performing arts. Taking architectural cues from Saint Mark’s Basilica in Venice, the foyer’s towering arches gleam with golden paint and crystal chandeliers. The blue-and-gold mosaic that leads to the main seating area is the masterwork of two German artists who spent two years on its construction. Once inside the theater, audiences might think they’ve stepped onto the streets of Venice thanks to the atmospheric ceiling, stonework facades, and gondoliers paddling them to their seats. ####Bethel Woods Center for the Arts Music has permeated the 800 manicured acres where the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts has stood since 1969, when farmer Max Yasgur agreed to let love, peace, and harmony grow wild at the very first Woodstock festival. These days, the renowned outdoor venue and cultural center continues to attract the biggest acts in music to its pavilion stage. The open-air design ensures ample ventilation on the natural sloping lawn, and a roof protects up to 15,000 fans from inclement weather and the prying eyes of Cessna pilots.

1 Amphitheatre Pkwy
Mountain View,
CA
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.

2086 Newpark Mall Road
Newark,
CA
US

  • 16: how many hours it takes to set up The Greatest Show On Earth
  • 10: how many hours it takes to tear it down
  • 2,500: average pounds of popcorn consumed in between
  • 85: the number of animals, which include Asian elephants, tigers, lions, leopards, and llamas; all receive superlative animal care
  • 61: the number of cars in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus train that carries the show from city to city; that?s more than a mile long
  • 20,000: the number of miles that train will cover in one year
  • 3: the miles the train master walks each day as he tends to the animals (all seated at the front of the train for the smoothest ride) and gives them regular water and exercise stops

135 West San Carlos Street
San Jose,
CA
US

Trapeze School New York’s expansion west meant Angelenos no longer had to cross the country to join the circus. At their outdoor studio on the Santa Monica Pier, highly trained instructors teach beginner, intermediate, and advanced maneuvers during classes on the flying trapeze, aerial silks, lyra, trampoline, and Spanish web. All of Trapeze School New York’s countrywide facilities in New York, Boston, Washington, DC, Chicago, and LA hold themselves to high safety standards that account for everything from equipment to instructors and safety belts. In an effort to bring their flying-trapeze instruction to surrounding communities regardless of funding, the school also gives lessons through their nonprofit branch of operations.

1822 9th St
Oakland,
CA
US

Your gym might have a trampoline and climbing ropes, but what about Chinese poles and a flying trapeze rig? Circus Center has all of the above, plus other equipment necessary for doing "anything in the air, upside down, backwards, and seemingly impossible."

The nonprofit center welcomes students to defy gravity with a diverse class curriculum and seasoned instructors from circuses in several countries. Though some offerings, such as Aerial Doubles, require a certain level of experience, many are geared toward total beginners. Circus newbies can experiment with juggling and tightrope walking or practice Mongolian-based contortion techniques and learn how to fit inside a stubborn pickle jar and open it from there. Trapeze classes even allow students to attempt a catch during their first-ever class.

Circus Center is also home to a Clown Conservatory, where workshops focus on slapstick humor, comedic timing, and show creation. Additionally, on Wednesdays and Fridays, the gym opens up for a free two-hour Circus Skills Jam—a practice session for students of all ages.

755 Frederick St.
San Francisco,
CA
US

Classes for adults: AcroYoga, Parkour, Handstands, Hula Hooping, Partner Flips, Acrobatics, AcroBalance, Aerial, Capoeira, Breakdance, Play Time and more!

4770 San Pablo Ave
Emeryville,
CA
US