If you lived in the country or in a small town in 1900, visiting the circus would be something you remembered for the rest of your life. For most people, it was a once-in-a-lifetime treat. The physical strain and rough living conditions of a farm or a mining camp were part of a brutal life, along with worries about having clothes warm enough to withstand the winter and food enough to stay alive. Children had little opportunity to be children. They had to work to help their families survive.
Imagine then what experiencing the circus would be like for someone living that way, and how they must have felt when they heard the music and saw the bright, spangled costumes. The first American zoo opened in Philadelphia in 1874, but most people had never been to nor heard of such a place. Witnessing the strange and fantastic animals parading into town would have thoroughly amazed them.