cirque-shanghai“Stop!”, “No way!”, “Don’t do it!” Am I watching the latest reality show? Nope, this is better than tv, it’s real live people performing unbelievable acts. If you’re looking for thrilling entertainment that’s fun and appropriate for the whole family, you’ve got to catch the daredevil antics of Cirque Shanghai

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Chinese jugglers, high wire artists and death-defying motorcycle riders. This show has it all— seventy five minutes of mind-blowing entertainment. Just when you think they can’t stack another person onto another chair without toppling over— wham, they do it— and with grace.

cirque-chairsBut wait, there’s more! You’ll be amazed when a motorcyclist rides around an enclosed steel circle. You’ll be blown away when a second rider enters the ring. You’ll be gasping at the third, shaking your head in disbelief by the fourth, until finally a fifth rider glides into the motorcycle frenzy and you find yourself stunned at the spectacle of it all.

I was with a group that ranged from toddler to teen, to, uh-hum, let’s just say middle age. We were all equally mesmerized.  

Cirque Shanghai is performing at the canopied open-air Skyline Stage at Chicago’s Navy Pier through September 3, 2012. The stage is right next to Navy Pier’s main attraction— the 150 foot high ferris wheel, modeled after the world’s first ferris wheel built for the Columbian Exposition of 1893. There are countless other ways to spend money at Navy Pier, but just walking along the water and enjoying the views of downtown Chicago is a treat that costs you absolutely nothing. Want another freebie? Go on a Wednesday or Saturday night and stick around after the show to see a fantastic fireworks display. Summer doesn’t get much better than this. 

Cirque Shanghai tickets range from $15- $30.Call (800) 745-3000 or visit ticketmaster.com/shanghai.

Andrea Guthmann is a freelance journalist focusing on family travel. She spent many years as a writer and producer for WTTW-TV, the PBS station in Chicago. Her travel stories have been published in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Parent and on-line travel sites. 

A native Floridian, Andrea’s now a big (windy) city mom of 3, who range in age from tot to teen. After giving birth to 2 beautiful children she’s had the joy of becoming a mom again through adoption. She loves sailing Lake Michigan and visiting the world class museums and restaurants in her sweet home Chicago. Being a scenery starved city girl, she loves escaping to the outdoors during vacations and is working hard to raise 3 happy campers!

Disclosure: My family was provided complimentary tickets for review purposes, but the thoughts here are all my own.