Everyone loves a ride on a carousel. It is a magical experience to climb aboard a beautiful horse or reindeer. The calliope is playing grand band music 0f the 1900’s in the background. Suddenly, the carousel begins to move. The horse starts to go up and down. As you pick-up speed, the wind is blowing through your hair and the world spins by.
Well, if you travel to Sandusky, Ohio you can experience all of this at the Merry-Go-Round Museum. It is located at 301 Jackson Street, Sandusky Ohio 44870, in what was a former post office. Their website is merrygoroundmuseum.org.
The museum opened in 1990. They display some wonderful examples of carousel animals from some of the greatest woodcarvers from around the world.
You will, of course, see traditional horses. But then, experience lions, camels and many animals and vehicles that were to become part of the carousel history.
My favorite display – naturally – are the wonderful reindeer that have been carved. The artist has captured Dancer, Dasher, Prancer and all of the troops in flight. You can visualize them pulling my sleigh on Christmas Eve.
On the day we were there, the resident carvers were hard at work carving a new reindeer that was to be delivered to an active carousel. It was Rudolph! Oh how grand he is going to look! They could not tell me when he was going to be completed, but it was exciting to think of him being featured on one of these wonderful machines.
And, on display in the carvers’ area you’ll see the most magnificent miniature carousel. Yes, it does work!
The museum is open daily between Memorial Day and Labor Day. It has reduced hours during the rest of the year. Please check the website if you decide to make the trip.
Included with the price of admission is a tour. The trained volunteer guide takes you through the museum, explaining the history of carousels and the historic carvings. The history of the the featured carvers is discussed. The tour is not complete until you ride the restored carousel that is featured in the center of the museum. And, on display in the carvers’ area you’ll see the most magnificent miniature carousel. Yes, it does work!
The museum is also actively involved with the restoration of carousels from around the country. And as I mentioned, they have resident woodcarvers that are creating new animals to be used on existing carousels around the country.
I would be remiss in the carousel discussion if a failed to tell folks that a wonderful historic carousel also resides at the Columbus Zoo. It was once a part of the Olentangy Park that existed between 1880 and 1939. The carousel was originally purchased from Mangels-Illions and Sons in 1914. It had 52 horses and 2 chariots. It was relocated to its present location in 1939. It still operates today as part of Zoombezi Bay.
I encourage all of you to experience these amusement rides from the past. Today’s amusement parks would not exist without the success of these rides.
Happy Adventure Hunting!
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