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A Different Kind of Circus

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It's been called the "Greatest Show on Earth," the Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey circus is in town.

It's not everyday you get to hear an elephant play the harmonica or ring a bell, but for a couple of local pre-schoolers, it's part of getting to know the circus in a very different way -- through touch, smell and sound.

This group of four and five-year-olds are enrolled in the program at the Center for the Visually Impaired and they're experiencing the circus in a unique way. 

Four-year-old Yaya was born with an underdeveloped optic nerve. And four-year-old Luke Healey has no irises, these issues make it difficult for both children to see. But that's not stopping them or their classmates from feeling the magic of the circus.

A representative from the circus said, "in every city we visit, it's important for us to touch the community. We're only here for a short time. It's important for us to find ways to take the circus beyond the limits of what you normally expect from the circus." 

For the better part of an afternoon, these kids can explore the circus up close and personal.

Luke's mom, Maria Healey got to share in the fun.

"Oh my gosh, I thought it was outstanding. He had the best time. He loved the clowns, he loved the animals, seeing the elephants so close. He got to touch things he wouldn't otherwise ever be able to touch," Healey said. 

In kindergarten, when they're talking about the circus, our kids are able to say "Yeah, I've been to the circus, I can talk about my experience."

It's going to be something she'll remember for the rest of her life.

That is so neat. Ringling has been doing this program with the center for the visually impaired for about ten years. As you can see, well imagine this'll be one of the children's favorite activities.

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