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The top 2023 circus shows for kids in Switzerland | A Family guide

Updated: Nov 1, 2023

Back in the 90-s, when some of us were kids, I remember the circus being mostly about cheap clowns, animals and acrobats - a bit of a cheesy entertainment. Nowadays it is a completely different ballgame! Elaborate choreographies, beautiful costumes, sophisticated clowns, out of this world acrobatics, modern technology and special effects bring the contemporary circus shows to the next level.


It is not, however, the cheapest entertainment. Tickets start from 20 CHF but for good seats, easily go over a 100 CHF. If you are not sure when and how to plan the circus family adventure, we have got you covered! When is it the right time to go? Which show to chose? Which tickets to buy to get the most out of this family adventure? Does the circus have a family fun factor? Here are some answers.



What minimum age is circus for?


Circus with kids and family in Switzerland

Short answer: 3 - 5 years old


Most circus shows are between 2 and 2.5 hours, with a break in the middle. That can be a long time, especially for younger kids with a short attention span. The good part is that circus shows are a compilation of very different and short performances. It has therefore a good chance of keeping even younger kids engaged. Add in some popcorn and an ice-cream treat during the break and the circus can be a fantastic family adventure, even with a toddler.

We have been to the circus with kids between the ages of 3 and 4 and every time they were mesmerised and did not want to leave. The colours, dancing, music, costumes, acrobatics and the magic fascinated them.


It is not the case for all kids though - we have also seen younger kids fidgeting in their seats, especially towards the end of each half or during speaking performances (e.g. stand-ups).


If you are not sure whether your kids would like it, show them videos of circus performances and see if they are interested. A day at the circus can be a really magical experience, if done at the right time in your child's development.


Is the circus in Switzerland good for non-German speakers?


Short answer: Yes

Most circus shows today are about skills, beautiful artistic performances with music, dancing and singing. Some performances might have a few speaking acts in German - mostly clowns and magic shows. These are normally quite short and even if you don't understand a word, can still be engaging. We have been to the circus with non-german speaking grandparents and even though they could not follow these acts, they did not mind and loved the show overall.


When and which tickets to buy?


Short answers: Now and any


Autumn / Winter is the "circus season" and now is the right time to get tickets for the 2023 / 2024 shows as good seats usually sell out fast. Premium / category 1 tickets definitely give you the best view but can be quite pricy. We usually go for a middle, cheaper option and could see and enjoy the shows very well. The smaller the venue is, the less it matters. In small venues you'll be close enough to the stage anyway. Whatever budget you have, just go with it. It is all about the experience of being in a room where magic happens and it is ok if you do not see every detail.


Which circus shows have the family fun factor?


Here are our top 5 recommendations of the best 2023 / 2024 family circus performances, with a fun factor:


 

Swiss national circus Knie

Shows: October 26th - January 5th Locations: Sion, Thun, Aarau, Zug, Agno, Luzern

Highlights: Acrobats, Motorbikes, Horses

Prices: Adults: 20.90 CHF - 100.50 CHF, Kids: 10:55 CHF - 50.80 CHF. Raiffeisen members get an extra 20% off. This one is a classic. It is the largest and oldest (founded in 1803 by the Knie family) circus in Switzerland. We were impressed with their acrobats, dancers, motorbikes, and how they used lights to bring magic to the show. They are also one of the few circuses that still has any animals - beautiful horse performances.


Knie can be a good option for younger kids. Our 3.5 year-old was mesmerised all throughout the show.





 

Winter circus created by the Knie family.


Shows: November 31st - December 31st Locations: Zürich Kloten

Highlights: Magic, Pirates, Christmas Feel

Prices: Adults: 35 CHF - 149 CHF, Kids: 17.50 - 74.40 CHF

This is a family Christmas circus with a different theme every year. 2022 was all about fairies. In 2023 circus SALTO brings us to Neverland and invites us to immerse ourselves in a world filled with pirates, magic and hidden treasures. The tent is beautifully decorated, transporting the audience into a magical Christmas wonderland.


SALTO can be a great option for a Christmas family adventure with younger kids (3 - 4 years old +).





 


3. Music Circus Show on Ice with Highlights from Frozen 1 & 2

Touring show by Agenda Production from Berlin (Germany)

Shows: November 22nd - 26th November Locations: Schaan, Cham, Geneva, Zürich

Highlights: Disney's Frozen, Live Singing, Ice Skating

Prices: Adults: 41.50 CHF - 122.50 CHF, Kids: 29.30 CHF - 86.50 CHF A treat to all small (and big!) Frozen fans! The Berliner Agenda Productions are bringing to Switzerland, for four performances only, the international award-winning circus on ice, inspired by Disney's Frozen. Expect singing (all songs are performed live in German), dancing, acrobatics, impressive lights effects and an immersion in a magical world. The "ice-skating" is done on a fake ice so you don't need to worry about the cold.


It is suitable for younger kids (3 years old +). We are planning to watch it in Zürich with our little Frozen fan and are looking forward to it!





 

4. Cirque du Solei: OVO

Touring show by Cirque du Soleil Canada

Shows: January 18th - 21st Locations: Lausanne

Highlights: Insects, Physical Performances, Dancing, Costumes

Ticket Prices: 72.30 CHF - 192.50 CHF (no kids discounts)

The Canadian Cirque du Soleil is arguably the most famous contemporary circus company. Their productions are beautiful syntheses of circus styles from around the world, each time with a new theme and storyline.

"Ovo", which in Portuguese means egg, brings us into the world of insects. It is a love story between a ladybug and an awkward insect. There is no speaking so language is not a barrier. Expect flying, leaping, bouncing and crawling to beautiful music and lights.


Ovo is one of the most visually impressive shows you'll find and the colours, costumes and lights can be a hit for kids. As it is one of the more artistic and pricey shows, we would recommend it for slightly older kids (5 - 6 years old +).





 
The first Christmas circus in Switzerland.

Shows: November 23rd - December 31st Locations: Zürich

Highlights: Dancing, Acrobats, Christmas Feel

Prices: 43.50 CHF - 106.75 CHF (no kids discounts)

Founded in 1982, circus Conelli has been the first Christmas circus. The decoration, music and shows bring in the Christmas theme and spirit. We especially liked the acrobatic shows with performers from all over the world and the musical numbers with live singing and dancing.


We went with our then 3 year-old and the grandparents and the whole family loved it. It is, however, slightly more targeted at adults than young kids. If you are looking for something more tailored to (grand)parents but that kids can also enjoy - this is an option for you.






 

In summary - the circus can be a magical day for the whole family, even with kids as young as 3 years old. Tickets are not cheap but with different price ranges and kids discounts, you can find an option that doesn't break the bank. We absolutely loved it and will make it into a once-a-year Christmas tradition for the whole family.

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