Are your kids crazy for carousels? There’s just something about that twirling, whirling sensation of a relaxing carousel ride. New York City is home to many a merry-go-round, with at least one or two in every borough. Here’s the rundown on ten of them. Has your family visited them all?
Carousel for All Children
Willowbrook, Staten Island – The Victorian-inspired Carousel for All Children in Willowbrook Park pays homage to the borough in which it resides. It displays 40 hand-painted renderings of Staten Island landmarks including the Conference House, High Rock Park, the Tibetan Museum, Martling’s Pond, the Vanderbilt Mausoleum, and Horrmann Castle. It also contains fifty-one hand-carved, colorfully painted figures of traditional wooden carousel horses, mythical beasts and endangered species. The Carousel for all Children is open on select days from May through October, from 11am to 5:45pm. Rides are just $1.50 per person. 2 for 1 rides Monday through Thursday throughout August!
The Conservation Carousel
West Brighton, Staten Island– This relatively new addition to the Staten Island Zoo calls attention to the endangered or vulnerable species of the world. The carousel features 25 hand-carved animals, including an Amur Leopard, which happens to be one of the Zoo’s most popular inhabitants, as well the Giant Panda, the Komodo Dragon, Poison Dart Frog, and Indian Rhinoceros, just to name a few of the more threatened species in the lineup. The Conservation carousel is open (weather permitting) on weekends and school holidays, 11am to 4pm. Rides are $2 each.
Sea Glass Carousel
Battery Park, Manhattan – This brand new carousel from the Battery Park Conservancy boasts a magnificent nautical theme, with 30 luminescent fish figures spanning as wide as 9 ½ feet and reaching up to 13 ½ feet tall. Unique among carousels worldwide, the motors lie under the floor – allowing full visibility across and around the shell, with no center post – and visitors sit inside the figures rather than atop them. So instead of “riding” the fish as one would on a typical carousel, visitors will “become” fish while gliding through the sights and sounds of a 360° aquatic adventure. The Sea Glass Carousel is open 10am-10pm daily from March through December. Rides are $5 each.
Central Park Carousel
Central Park, Manhattan – The fourth to stand in Central Park, this carousel is currently one of the largest in the United States. Rumor has it that a live mule or horse once powered it from beneath the platform, starting and stopping when the operator tapped the floor. Crafted in 1908 and restored in 1990, it holds 57 beautiful horses. The carousel is located mid-park, at 65th street and is open seven days a week during summer months.
DUMBO, Brooklyn – Of all the carousels in New York City, the view on Jane’s Carousel is arguably the most spectacular. It sits adjacent to the East River in Brooklyn Bridge Park, offering breathtaking views of the bridge and surrounding skyline. Almost a century old – it was originally installed in Ohio in 1922 – the carousel was intricately restored by hand and reopened at its new home in Brooklyn in 2011. The classic three-row machine contains 48 exquisitely carved horses and two superb chariots. Housed inside a glass pavilion, it’s open all year round. You can visit daily from 11am to 7pm from May 11 to September 20 (closed on Tuesdays), and 11am-6pm from September 21 to May 8. Rides are $2 each.
Prospect Park Carousel
Prospect Park, Brooklyn – Originally erected in Coney Island in 1912 by famed designer Charles Carmel, this carousel now finds its home in the Children’s Corner of Prospect Park where it was restored by the Prospect Park Alliance in 1990. Fifty-three horses ride alongside a lion, a deer, and two dragon-pulled chariots. It’s open from the spring to the fall; check their website for operating hours and dates. Rides are $2 each.
Coney Island, Brooklyn – The centerpiece of the iconic Steeplechase Plaza, the B&B Carousell is Coney Island’s last surviving carousel and a signature ride at Luna Park. The 110-year-old frame was built in Coney Island and restored in 2008, with 50 hand-carved, antique, wooden horses and two chariots. The B&B Carousell is open on select days from May through October and costs three “Luna credits” to ride.
Forest Park Carousel
Woodhaven, Queens – This historic carousel is the only one of its kind to be declared a New York City landmark. The carousel frame was built in 1890, but was unfortunately destroyed by a fire in 1966. An extensive restoration led to its eventual reopening in Forest Park, a vast 538-acre park in Queens. The traditionally-themed carousel features three rows of 49 horses, three menagerie figures and two chariots. The Forest Park Carousel is open on select days from April to October. Check their website for operating hours. Rides are $3 each.
Flushing Meadows Carousel
Flushing Meadows, Queens – Although crafted from the merger of two different carousels in the mid-1900’s, the Flushing Meadows Carousel is home in Queens’ newest amusement park, Fantasy Forest in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. The carousel opened in the park in 1968, beginning a restoration process in 2012, and was then joined by Fantasy Forest amusement park rides in 2013. It holds over 70 horses! It’s open on select days from March through November.
The Bug Carousel
Pelham Parkway, Bronx – Your budding entomologist will surely appreciate the Bronx Zoo’s popular critter-covered Big Carousel. Riders can choose from 64 massive insect figures and two chariots, the more popular of which features a giant Dung Beetle. It also displays a beautifully hand-painted mural depicting the transformation of caterpillars into butterflies. The Bug Carousel is open all year round, enclosed by sliding glass doors in cold weather. Hours are 10am-5pm daily from April to October, and 10am-4:30pm from November to March. Rides are $5 each, plus the cost admission.