As explained by Stefano, prior to the events of Madagascar 3 it was once a very popular circus. Under Vitaly's impossible hoop acts, the circus toured the world with highly successful performances. However, after Vitaly was severely burned in one of the performances due to being ignited with olive oil, the circus subsequently fell from glory in his absence and never recovered.
In Madagascar 3, Alex, Marty, Melman, and Gloria trick Vitaly and Gia into believing that they are circus animals so they can sneak on the train and escape DuBois. The penguins, King Julien, Maurice and Mort soon follow. Using their fortune from gambling in European Casinos and with the help of Mason and Phil, the penguins purchase the circus. They then help the original crew to improve on their acts after a disastrous performance in Italy. However, DuBois unintentionally reveals Alex and his friends' true identity and they temporarily leave the circus when they obtain the American sponsor's support. Skipper later informs the team that Alex and his friends were attacked by DuBois, resulting in Vitaly's decision to rescue them anyway. The circus then accepts Alex & his friends as permanent members.
Note that some of these acts were improved by Alex, Marty, Melman, and Gloria after their arrival.
- Vitaly—Opening Act: "Flying" through flaming hoops of diminishing sizes.
- King Julien and Sonya—Riding on Sonya's new motorcycle, performing acrobatics.
- The Dancing Dogs—Flying around the ring on rocket-powered skates.
- Alex and Gia—Doing the Trapeze Americano (American trapeze).
- Mason and Phil—Playing the organ, still dressed as the King of Versailles.
- Marty and Stefano -- "Animal" cannonballs.
- Melman and Gloria—Dancing on the tightrope.
- Manu and Maya (elephants) -- Swinging on silk ropes while spraying fire through their trunks.
- The Andalusian Triplets—Bouncing on trampolines with butterfly wings attached.
- Maurice and Mort—Ribbon dancing.[note 3]
- The name of the circus comes from the city of Zaragoza situated in northern Spain, in the region of Aragón.
- This name is seen on the hot air balloon when the circus is above Central Park Zoo.
- The latter name is seen on the promoter's contract after the circus' London performance.
- Maurice and Mort were seen practicing ribbon dancing backstage.
5. Its theme song is Afro Circus/I Like To Move It.
6. Sometime before the Zoosters showed up, Circus Zaragoza was home to another lion and another bear.