Lions and tigers and clowns, oh my!

The circus

I remember a more innocent time, a time before the proliferation of Jackass stunts and YouTube disasters, a time when watching an elephant dance was an occasion for wonder rather than another animal rights faux pas, and witnessing a guy get fired out of a cannon was still awe-inspiring. For those who aren't yet jaded or are just looking for a trip down nostalgia lane, the circus has come to town. The 137th edition of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus — which rolled into the St. Pete Times Forum on Wednesday — boasts all the usual diversions, including a series of special daredevil stunts by Bello Nock, deemed America's best clown by Time magazine. Arrive an hour before show time and learn some circus skills in an all-access pre-show. Who knows — maybe one day you can tame a tiger, perform trapeze stunts or even be shot from a cannon.

Through Jan. 7, 7:30 p.m. Thu.-Fri.; 11:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sat.; and 1 and 5 p.m. Sun. St. Pete Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $15-$75. sptimesforum.com.

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