Ever dreamed of running away with the circus when you were a kid? Well, live out that fantasy for a day with a trip to the Niles Garden Circus. This quaint little show packs more magic and wonder into its small tent than the biggest three-ring extravaganzas. From death-defying acrobats to curious critters, you’ll find thrills and chills for both young and old. This guide will give you the inside scoop on snagging tickets, where to park, what to eat, and how to make the most of your visit to the greatest little show on earth. With handy tips from a circus veteran, you’ll be ready to revel in the merriment and memories waiting under the big top.

The History of the Niles Garden Circus

Humble Beginnings

The Niles Garden Circus began in 1912 as a small traveling circus founded by twin brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Knie. Originally from Germany, the brothers brought their show to the U.S. and set up their first tent in Niles, Michigan. Their circus featured acrobats, clowns, jugglers and a small menagerie of animals.

Growth and Expansion

Over the next 20 years, the Knie brothers built the circus into a successful family entertainment show. They purchased more equipment and animals, including elephants, tigers, and horses. The circus grew to over 200 employees and 50 animals. The brothers were able to invest in custom railcars to transport the entire circus between towns.

A Permanent Home

By 1932, the Knie brothers decided to find a permanent home for their circus. They purchased land in Niles, Michigan to build an open-air arena. The new Niles Garden Circus arena opened in 1934 and allowed the show to run for an entire summer season in one place. The arena still operates today and hosts circus shows from May to September.

Continuing the Legacy

Now over 100 years old, the Niles Garden Circus is operated by the fourth generation of the Knie family. While many traveling circuses have closed, the Niles Garden Circus has endured by focusing on providing an affordable, family-friendly show in its historic open-air arena. From humble beginnings, the Knie family has built an American institution and summer tradition.

What to Expect at a Niles Garden Circus Show

Death-Defying Acts and Breathtaking Stunts

At the Niles Garden Circus, you’ll witness jaw-dropping acts like aerial silk routines, trapeze stunts and tightrope walking. Professional acrobats and aerialists perform dazzling feats high up in the air with grace and precision. The stunts are daring but executed with the utmost skill and safety. Be prepared to be on the edge of your seat!

Exotic Animals and Their Trainers

You’ll see magnificent elephants, tigers, camels and llamas displaying their talents. The circus animals are cared for by professional animal trainers who have built a trusting bond with them over many years. While some people argue that the use of exotic animals in circuses is unethical, the Niles Garden Circus prides itself on the humane and ethical treatment of all its animals.

Clowns, Magicians and Other Entertainers

No circus show is complete without the comedic stylings of clowns and magicians. The Niles Garden Circus features entertaining clowns who interact playfully with audience members in between acts. You’ll also witness master magicians and illusionists performing mystifying tricks and sleights of hand. These lighthearted acts provide moments of laughter and fun for both children and adults.

A Festive Atmosphere Like No Other

Overall, the Niles Garden Circus aims to transport you to a whimsical world of imagination and spectacle. With dramatic lighting, festive music and a big top tent decorated in a vintage circus theme, the atmosphere is truly magical. For a few short hours, you’ll get to be a kid again and rediscover a sense of wonder at this most delightful little show.

Where to Buy Niles Garden Circus Tickets

The Niles Garden Circus only comes around once a year, so you’ll want to buy your tickets in advance. Here are the best ways to get your hands on those coveted tickets before they sell out.

Buy online

The easiest way to purchase tickets is through the circus’ official website. Tickets usually go on sale 2-3 months before opening night. Buying online allows you to choose your show date, time, and seat location ahead of time. You’ll be able to find the best available seats and have your tickets in hand without waiting in any long box office lines.

Visit the box office

If buying online isn’t your thing or tickets are no longer available on the website, head to the circus box office. The box office, located on the circus grounds, opens about a month before opening night. While the line may be long, especially as the show dates get closer, you’re guaranteed to get the best seats still available at that time. The box office is open every day leading up to the first performance.

Call to reserve

Don’t want to buy online or stand in the box office line? Give the circus a call to reserve your tickets over the phone. Then you can pick up your will call tickets at the box office when you attend the show. Calling in your ticket order at least a week before the performance date is recommended, as shows do sell out quickly.

With some advance planning, you’ll have your Niles Garden Circus tickets in hand for an evening of entertainment under the big top. Whether buying online, at the box office, or reserving by phone, secure your tickets at least a week in advance for the best selection and to avoid missing out on all the fun. The circus only comes around once a year, so don’t delay in getting your tickets to the greatest little show!

Tips for Getting the Best Seats at Niles Garden Circus

Buy tickets in advance

Buying tickets ahead of time is the best way to score amazing seats. The circus only has a limited number of premium seats located right near the action. Once they sell out, you’ll be stuck with seats further back. Buy tickets on the circus’ website as soon as they go on sale, usually a month or two before the show opens.

Arrive early

Want to see the performers up close as they make their grand entrance into the ring? Get to the show at least 30 minutes early. The first guests to arrive often get seats right along the performer entry aisle, giving you a glimpse behind the scenes. Early arrival also means beating the huge crowds and not having to wait in the ticket and concession lines.

Consider VIP tickets

For a truly memorable experience, splurge on VIP tickets. These provide access to a special VIP lounge before the show with complimentary snacks and drinks. You’ll also get premier seating in the first few rows of the best sections, right near all the action. VIP tickets typically cost 2 to 3 times more than regular tickets but provide an unforgettable experience for any circus fan.

Ask about the center ring

The most sought-after seats are those located directly in line with the center ring. From here, you’ll have a perfect view of all the aerial acts, animal performances, and stunts happening in the middle of the arena. When buying tickets, ask the salesperson for the section and row numbers that align with the center ring. Be prepared to pay a bit more, as these are considered the premium seats.

Consider weeknight shows

Weeknight shows, especially Tuesdays through Thursdays, often have better availability of good seats. Weekends, especially Saturdays, tend to sell out quickly and you may be left with seats off to the side or further back. If attending on a weekend, buy tickets as far in advance as possible. Weeknights also typically have smaller crowds, allowing for an easier entrance and exit from the show.

Frequently Asked Questions About Niles Garden Circus Tickets

When do Niles Garden Circus tickets go on sale?

Ticket sales for each new Niles Garden Circus show season begins in mid-January. The circus usually announces their show schedule and when tickets will be available on their website and social media accounts. As soon as tickets go on sale, the best seats and dates often sell out quickly, so make sure to buy your tickets as early as possible.

How much do Niles Garden Circus tickets cost?

Ticket prices for the Niles Garden Circus vary depending on the location of your seats. Tickets range from $15 to $50 for children (ages 2-12) and $20 to $75 for adults (ages 13 and up). The closer your seats are to the main ring, the more you can expect to pay. The circus also frequently offers coupons and promo codes on their website and in local newspapers that can save you up to 25% on select performances.

Can I buy tickets at the circus box office on the day of the show?

While you can purchase tickets at the box office on the day of the performance, there is no guarantee there will be seats available, especially for the most popular shows and dates. The box office opens approximately 90 minutes before showtime, but the line can get quite long. For the best selection of seats at the best prices, the circus strongly recommends buying your tickets in advance on their website or by phone.

What forms of payment do you accept for tickets?

The Niles Garden Circus accepts all major credit cards including Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover for ticket purchases on their website, phone or at the box office. They do not accept personal checks. Cash is only accepted for in-person box office sales on the day of the performance.

Can I get a refund for my tickets if I can no longer attend?

Niles Garden Circus tickets are nonrefundable. However, tickets can be exchanged up to 3 business days prior to your scheduled performance for another performance date within the current show season. There is a $10 exchange fee per order when exchanging tickets. No exchanges are allowed within 3 business days of a performance.


So there you have it, a complete guide to scoring those coveted Niles Garden Circus tickets. From getting the scoop on the show times to tips for finding seats with the best views to ideas for making a day of your circus visit, you now have all the inside info you need to experience the Greatest Little Show in Niles. With your tickets in hand, get ready for thrills, laughs, and memories that will last long after the circus tents have packed up. The Niles Garden Circus only comes around once a year, so grab those tickets today and let the show begin!

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