Merry-Go-Round Museum in Sandusky, Ohio

Merry-Go-Round Museum exterior

I recently visited Sandusky, Ohio, and was lucky enough to visit The Merry-Go-Round Museum. Opened on July 14, 1990, the unique museum was created from a love of carousels and The U.S. Post Office’s commission of a Cedar Point carousel horse for 1 of 4 carousel horse stamps in 1988.

Merry-Go-Round Museum sandusky
Merry-Go-Round Museum in Sandusky, Ohio
Instead of a few hundred visitors they were expecting for issue day, the crowd was well over 2,000! A non-profit group with a love of carousel horses then opened the museum so all could enjoy antique carousel animals.

Indoor Carousel Fun

Merry-Go-Round Museum indoor carousel
Round and Round Whimsy
The most prominent feature of the museum is undoubtedly the working indoor carousel. Running every 30 minutes, each visitor receives a token for a free ride. 

Take a Ride Back in Time

Merry-Go-Round Museum riding the carousel
Sea Creature
Carousels were originally built for the whimsy of adults. Kooky, huh? They may have been made for adults, but I sure felt like a kid riding that sea creature! The old-time music made me feel 6 years old again, and it was tough choosing which carousel animal to ride. 

Lions and Tigers and… Giraffes. Oh, My!

Merry-Go-Round Museum antique carousel animals
Two Styles of Carousel Giraffes
Throughout the museum are dozens of antique carousel animals, each brimming with rich history. There are several that still have the original paint (or what’s left of it!) and one is even valued at over $500,000. 
Merry-Go-Round Museum rooster carousel piece
$500,000 Rooster
I had a blast learning about the three styles of carousel horses and what differentiates each style. Carousel horse style is based on stance, appearance, and size. 
Merry-Go-Round Museum types of carousels
Three Styles of Carousel Horses
There’s also a “romance” side of a carousel horse. This special side always faces outward and is far more ornate than the inner side to draw in riders. 
Merry-Go-Round Museum horse close up
The Romance Side of a Carousel Horse

Recreation and Restoration

Once a year, artisan workers and specialized craftsmen design and sculpt an original piece to be auctioned off for the benefit of the museum. They use the same style tools that were used in the 1800’s and piece together the carousel animal in the same manner as well. 
Merry-Go-Round Museum recreation of a dog piece
Made from Scratch
When a carousel animal is in such disrepair that it must be stripped of paint and refurbished, a three step process is used. The animal is stripped of its old paint, primer is applied, and then a skilled painter applies the new paint. 
Merry-Go-Round Museum refurbished horse
Restoration Steps
The Merry-Go-Round Museum is definitely worth checking out on your next visit to Sandusky, Ohio. Who doesn’t want to feel like a kid again, if only for a few whimsical moments?
Check out my full review on trekaroo here.
Happy Travels!
Disclosure: I was hosted by Lake Erie Shores and Islands for the purpose of this blog post. I was not asked to state a particular point of view and my opinions are my own.
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