Animals, performers, and clowns will converge upon the Lee Civic Center on Thursday when the Araba Shrine Circus comes into town with three big indoor shows, one especially for local school children.
The shows will be at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
The 11 a.m. show will be free to children and their chaperones from the schools and organizations within the surrounding five counties (Charlotte, Lee, Collier, Hendry and Glades) that are served by the Araba Shriners, who are headquartered on Hanson Street in Fort Myers.
"We have contacted the school systems and they're going to bus kids into the show," said public relations director Stephen Powell. "We had about 3,000 to 4,000 kids show up for the morning show last year."
The other two shows will be general admission for everyone and will feature a petting zoo.
The Shrine Circus, which was founded in 1906, has come to Fort Myers for the last 20 years, and travels to roughly 120 cities nationwide (and another 40 in Canada) as a way to raise money for the Shriners' hospitals.
The Araba Shrine is one of 13 shrine centers in the state, usually located in the major cities, and approximately 190 centers nationwide.
Their sole purpose is to support their 22 Shriners hospitals throughout North America, Powell said.
It allows children whose parents are unable to pay to have them treated for illness, burns or skeletal issues to be able to get treatment without cost.
General admission to the circus is $15.
The petting zoo will be open and available before and after each show.
The Lee County Civic Center is at 11831 Bayshore Road, North Fort Myers
For more information, contact the Shriners at 334-2226.