Ringling Circus to close

The owners of Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced Saturday that they will close the 146-year-old show in May.

Kenneth Feld, the chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, which owns the circus, said declining attendance combined with high operating costs are the reasons for closing.

From New York to Wisconsin to London and beyond, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus has performed for millions of fans during its 146-year reign as one of the world’s biggest big tops.

The show has its roots in a spectacle that began two decades before the U.S. Civil War — equal parts freak show, zoo and museum. In 1881 it officially became the circus that generations grew up watching and saw many evolutions over the years, most recently with its decision to retire its elephant acts.