Show Us The Most Incredible Carousels

The indoor carousel at the House on the Rock in Spring Green, WI.


You are correct, that’s why its nicknamed “The Queen city”.

The park and carousel doesn’t have the same feel as it did when I grew up there as a kid. It was a vibrant park with big trees, playgrounds full of kids and snow cone stands, but time has passed, the city is in serious decline, and in my opinion, that takes away significantly from the carousel experience. Its still a landmark, but the experience just isn’t the same anymore.

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I was going to post the same thing. I love the Carousel of Happiness in Ned! I also love the viewing room upstairs and the little puppet theater.

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Herschell Factory Carrousel Museum in North Tonawanda, New York, is the perfect place to learn how these amazing creations were created. Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum - Home


The carousel at Glen Echo Park, Maryland


The Looff Carousel in Santa Cruz, CA

My favorite ride at the boardwalk.

Hand-carved by Danish woodcarver Charles I.D. Looff (who also did the carousel placed at Coney Island), the Looff Carousel was installed August 1911.

Taken from the boardwalk website:
“Each horse is unique, with colorful details, from swords at their sides to garlands of flowers around their necks. Real horse hair tails, muscular bodies, and decorative, jeweled trappings also add to the charm. In all, the carousel is home to 73 horses (71 jumpers and two standers) and two Roman chariots decorated with the heads of rams and cherubs.

It is also one of only a handful of carousels in the world still featuring a working ring dispenser. Rings were once hand loaded by “ring boys,” as the young employees were called. The process was mechanized in 1950. Steel rings are used today, with brass plated rings added on special occasions. Riders on outside horses can grab rings from a dispenser as they spin, then toss them into a large clown’s gaping mouth, rewarded by bells and flashing lights.”

One of the most distinctive features of this carousel is its original 342-pipe Ruth & Sohn band organ; the ride also features two other music machines installed in the 2000s.

You can read more about the Carousel’s history here: 1911 Looff Carousel Circles the Generations | Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk


Super intricate design! Thanks for sharing :fist:

The Grand Carousel in Memphis is lovely, too.


This is some great info and facts!! Thanks a great deal for taking the time to share this info!

There’s also a nice one in Kensington Gardens in London. The horses are painted rainbow colors and several of them are named after members of the royal family.


Awesome picture and thanks for sharing! Although I must admit I saw Indianapolis and immediately felt sad again…I’m a diehard Colts fan lol.:pensive:

The handmade carousel at Lark Toys in Kellogg, Minnesota ( is well worth a visit.23%20AM


Nunley’s - first in Brooklyn, then in Baldwin, now in Garden City. A life on Long Island, most Long Islanders probably visited Nunleys at some point and road the carousel. Saved from demolition, it is such a unique example of craftsmanship rarely seen these days.

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Lovely fantasy

carousel in Chattanooga and a visit to the factory that still makes them makes it a perfect visit !


There are at least 3 or 4 carousels in my old hometown of Binghamton, NY. Hand carved by Italian immigrants to our factory city back in the first part of the 20th century for the working people. It’s been so long since I’ve been there, but I used to have a name for every creature on every carousel. Lovely memories.


I’d be ridin’ that pearl-necklaced chicken, too! :grin:

Pierre Orefice and François Delarozière design and supervise the building of the most wonderful carousels at les Machines de l’Île in a former shipyard in Nantes, Brittany, France (he also designed the walking wood elephant that toured Europe a few years ago). Every Christmas, the Manège d’Andréa and the Manège Magique carousels come the the Brussels Christmas Market. They are
fantastic, part street theater, sort of steampunk and really quite magical!!


San Antonio’s once-enormously-popular Playland Carousel lies in largely-restored but long-neglected pieces in a barn on the City’s Southside.

From 2012:

The San Antonio Carousel Foundation
Contacts: Rex Moss, President

The San Antonio Carousel Foundation is in the process of completing restoration of the 1917 C.W. Parker “Grand Jubilee” Carousel which was a beloved landmark for the residents of the city of San Antonio when it operated in Playland Park from 1937 to 1980. The Foundation has been granted a physical location for the carousel in HemisFair Park with the passage of the HemisFair Park Master Plan (March 25, 2004) following an ordinance supporting its preservation and placement in the Park dating back to 2003 (City Council Ordinance #93-18-40). The Carousel will be located on South Alamo Street between the HemisFair Park entrance arch and Beethoven Hall, home of the Majik Children’s Theatre, in what the HemisFair Master Plan calls the South Alamo Street “children’s activity area.”
[Hemisfair subsequently never followed through with the City Council pledge to place the Carousel there.]

Writes Michael Cary in a March 25-31, 2004 San Antonio CURRENT cover story entitled, “Playland’s Horses Still Out to Pasture: On a Carousel” which was released the same day City Council adopted the HemisFair Master Plan including the Carousel:

“Before the 1929 stock market crash, there were 5,000 carousels operating in the United States. Of those carousels, the Grand Jubilee was one of five extravagant merry-go-rounds built by C.W. Parker. Of Parker’s, the Playland carousel is one of only two that remain. One burned down in Fort Worth many years ago. The other surviving carousel is set up in a mall in Portland, Oregon.”

The Carousel was sold at auction, horse by horse, in 1989. Morris Franklin, an internationally-renowned San Antonio surgeon, successfully bid and purchased three horses and the entire mechanism including scenery panels and rounding boards. Franklin founded that year the San Antonio Carousel Foundation, a non-profit 501©3 organization. After 30,000 volunteer hours, the Foundation has to date acquired and restored nine of the Carousel’s original horses, acquired eighteen authentic Parker horses from other Parker Carousels, and fabricated to Parker thirteen wooden repica horses. The original Carousel operated with 52 horses; the Foundation’s current forty would make an operable merry-go-round of three rows. It is the outside horses that the Foundation has ample number of, so the compromised forty horse Carousel could run more than adequately until the final dozen are found, acquired, restored and/or replicated for insertion into the mechanism to form the fourth, inside, row. (n.b., It is interesting to note that the Foundation has located, but has been unable to acquire due to owners’ asking price, the Carousel’s original lead horse.)

It is the intention of the San Antonio Carousel Foundation to make the Carousel fully accessible for all ages and physical abilities (e.g., adaptable benches/chariots are being specially designed for wheelchairs, smaller stationary horses are being scaled to small children accompanied by adults, etc.)

The Carousel will require a pavilion or other permanent shelter in the Park. The Carousel could be completed within months of proper Park preparation and pavilion construction. The other central concern of the Foundation and the City is affording maintenance and manning.

HISTORY OF C.W. PARKER by Jerry Reinhardt,
“Charles Wallace Parker was born in Griggsville, Illinois in 1864. His family moved to Abilene, Kansas when Parker was 5 years old. He grew up in the wild town of Abilene, the heart of the American Wild West. At the age of 17 he became interested in the amusement business, and bought a high striker device to test the strength of the cowboys visiting Abilene. Later he bought a shooting gallery from Schmeizer Arms Company of Leavenworth, Kansas. In 1892 Parker bought a used Armitage/Herschell track machine and operated it until 1894 when he built his own track machine (almost a direct copy of the Armitage/Herschell) and started the C.W. Parker factory in Abilene. By 1900 he had traveling carnivals in the midwest and was expanding rapidly. He built all types of amusement devices, including the railroad cars to carry them. His carousels began to evolve through several style changes. He went from the track machines to the jumping carousels, from steam to electric. The carving on the horses began to get more fanciful. Parker continued to grow. By 1905 Parker had four full sized carnivals on tour throughout the country. He also sold equipment to other amusement operators. The Parker factories in Abilene, were a series of relatively small buildings that became more and more crowded. He built more. Eventually some of them began blocking areas that the city planners had surveyed to be streets. A rift began to grow between the Parker operations and the Abilene town leaders. Parker made the decision to move to new quarters in Leavenworth, Kansas. Parker began moving to a new factory he was building in Leavenworth, in 1911. The new building was a much larger two story brick building located on 4th Street south of the city center. The factory had 10 railroad sidings to hold all of the Parker carnival equipment, and all of the shipments of amusement devices he sent all over the world. The Parker “Carry-Us-Alls” (his play on words for carousel) continued to be the most important part of the amusement business. He built hundreds of small traveling carousels that were used by carnivals worldwide. He also built five large extravagant “park” machines, designed to be permanently installed in large amusement parks. Only one of those five is still in existence - - in Jantzen Beach Mall, in Portland, Oregon.* Parker “Carry-Us-Alls” went all over the world. Parker used to brag that his “machines could be up and making money, one hour after arriving.” His operations grew every year. He produced new products, and attractions. He tried to keep all of his shows “family oriented”, with patriotism, apple pie, and motherhood, as key words in his operations. In general he had a good reputation, but he was a businessman dedicated to improving his position in the amusement industry. About 1914, C.W. Parker began to introduce the new stretched leg and long bodied shape to the horses on his carousels that became his best know figures.* By 1917 most of the older designs had been phased out. Most carousels from then on had a horse called “Lillie Belle” on every machine produced. Lillie Belle had a bowed head and wild mane with 3 tendrils of mane pulled across the neck on the larger machines. It also had a bunch of grapes on the hip, and originally a lilly and a bell behind the saddle.* C.W. Parker carvings behind the cantle are some of the more interesting carvings found on carousel horses.* His standard carvings were hound’s heads, roses, tobacco leaves, bull horns, fish, shields, and ears of corn (from his Kansas heritage). He some times carved strange creatures with gnome like features, and large feet, and he went through a stage about 1906, where he carved dragons, fish, birds, and exotic women. But the ear of corn behind the saddle became his best known carving. His horses were the only ones known that had this carving.* By 1925 the C.W. Parker factory began phasing out the wooden carved horses, and began creating the aluminum cast figures.

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Once, I rode an ultra-contemporary solar-powered Carousel set up in the center of Austin, TX as part of the SXSW festival.


In Paris, in the Champ des Mars, the large esplanade leading from L’Ecole Militaire to the Eiffel Tower, is a small and lively playground. There is a hand-cranked carousel which was installed and opened in 1913. One young man assists the young riders on their steeds, collects their tickets, and then cranks the mechanism to start the carousel. Children use sticks to try and catch the metal rings. He collects the rings as the children dismount. If you’ve caught enough of the rings, you can choose a prize! In the first two photos, you can see the Eiffel Tower in the background. In the last two, you can see the young man at work. Hand%20cranked%20carousel%20near%20ET|636x500 Small%20carousel%20with%20ET

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