We spent an evening under the big top for the UniverSoul Circus “We are ONE 25th Anniversary Tour” at National Harbor. If you haven’t seen UniverSoul Circus, it is a combination of cultural celebration and unique athleticism! The UniverSoul Circus combines talented performers from across the world to create acts that amaze and surprise! Performers come from virtually every corner of the globe, including South Africa, USA, Trinidad and Tobago, Chile, Cuba, Colombia, Mexico, Russia, Guinea, Gabon and Mongolia. International performers embrace and celebrate the unique and familiar aspects of pop culture globally through interactive combination of circus arts, theater, and music that spans genres including Pop, Classic R&B, Latin, Hip Hop, Jazz and Gospel. UniverSoul Circus is a huge family friendly event held across the country for the last 25 years.
We were on the edge of our seats watching the Teeterboard Acrobats and Trampoline acts. We were holding our breath in anticipation during the Wheel of Death. We were dancing along with the Caribbean Dance, Limbo and Stilts. My kids had such a hard time picking their favorite act. Interestingly none of them picked any of the acts containing animals for their favorites. While they seemed amused by the Trick Dogs and interested in the Cossack Horse Act, the Mixed Animal act with just camels and zebras running around did not impress them.
Despite the supremely talented performers and celebration of diversity, there were moments that just didn’t feel right. We would be remiss not to acknowledge the elephant in the room, and in some cases it is literally an elephant. UniverSoul Circus uses exotic animals in their shows. UniverSoul Circus made the following statement about the animals used in their shows: The UniverSoul Circus believes that all animals are entitled to humane treatment and should never be mistreated or abused in any way. All our animal vendors are subject to regulation by federal, state, and local animal welfare authorities. We care about the well-being of each of the animals that travels with and performs in our shows, and we regard all of them as valued members of our performing cast delivering high quality, family friendly entertainment that brings joy, happiness and laughter to audiences around the world.
The UniverSoul website is not clear about the use of animals, especially exotic animals in their shows and none of the promotional material we were provided listed camels or zebras, even though dogs and horses were listed. We urge UniverSoul to provide more information about their animal acts and why they choose to use these animals. Transparency is always best! Had we known going into the performance exactly what animals were performing we would not have been caught so off guard. While we can appreciate the history of using exotic animals in circus performances, we did not feel the show would suffer without them. Acts such as the Trick Dogs and Mixed Animal act seemed gimmicky and out of place amongst the extraordinarily talented acrobats, gymnasts, dancers and other performers. We hope you can use the benefit of our experience to decide if UniverSoul Circus is right for your next family adventure.
Plateau Parking at 268 Waterfront Street
National Harbor, MD 20745
Paid parking is available at the UniverSoul Circus in the Harbor. Limited handicap parking is available.
Cars – $5 (0-2 hours) | *$12 (2-4 hours) | $20 (4-24 hours)
Arrive early. *Shows are 2.5 hours in length.