5 things to know about Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is taking down the Big Top for good. Circus officials announced that the final show is scheduled for May, amid high operating costs and falling ticket sales since the retirement of the elephant act late last year.

Here are five things to know about the long-running “Greatest Show on Earth.”

1  Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has been performing for more than then a century, before automobiles, airplanes, or movies were invented, and when Ulysses S. Grant was president.

2  Ringling  Bros. was founded in 1884 by five of the seven Ringling brothers in Baraboo, Wisconsin. It was a family operated business until 1967, when the Ringlings sold it to Feld Entertainment

3  The first ever female ring master made her debut in Orlando, Florida last week. The first African American ring master debuted back in 1999.

4  The circus employs as many as 300 people, including performers, trainers, transportation crew and more. The show visits more than 100 cities a year.

5  Animal rights activists began pressuring the circus and the cities that hosted the shows years ago over the treatment of circus animals, especially the elephants.  Once the elephants were retired from the show last year, Feld officials say it was just a matter of time before the show ended permanently.