A Summer of Carousels #Carousel

This summer  has definitely been a whirlwind- filled with travel to places we’ve never been and some we’re very familiar with. School is starting for The Kid next week, which pretty much signals the unofficial end to summer for many families. As we were looking back through all of our summer photos we noticed a common bond in our travels: carousels. It turns out we’ve plunked ourselves down on six…no, seven different beauties this summer. From the Lake Erie Shores to Central Florida we’ve whirled and spun on horses and barn animals and even a giraffe! Here’s a run-down of our carousel summer:

Walt Disney World at Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom’s Prince Charming Regal Carousel is one of the first spots we visit while in the park. It’s 90 beautifully painted horses and one chariot always brings a smile to The Kid’s face. We rarely encounter a long line, but should you encounter one you can always people watch or check out the backside of Cinderella’s Castle. Speaking of which, Cinderella has a very special horse on the carousel. Which one, you ask? Look for the horse with the golden ribbon tied to its tail. It’s The Kid’s favorite one. 

Idlewild Park  Ligonier, PA

Idlewild Park in Ligonier, PA is a blast to visit with its separately-themed areas, and Old Idlewild is a favorite of mine and The Kid’s. Its Merry-Go-Round has been delighting park guests since 1931 and was one of the last carousels created by The Philadelphia Toboggan Company. With both horses and chariots, we have a tough time deciding which to ride on first. There’a also meet and greets for Idlewild characters around their carousel which is a great family photo op for us. 

Kennywood Park  Pittsburgh, PA

The Kennywood Park Grand Carousel is an official historic landmark and for good reason. The Charles Dentzel Company out of Philadelphia (apparently, Philly was huge on carousel making in the early 20th century!), the Merry-Go-Round is centrally located in the park and not only has moving and stationary horses, but Dentzel’s unusual creations like a lion and tiger. 
We love taking action shots while riding carousels and this one’s a goodie, I think. 

Merry Go Round Museum  Sandusky, OH

The Merry Go Round Museum is located in Downtown Sandusky, Ohio. Sandusky proper is a quaint city and the museum fits right in with its pretty parks, gorgeous view of Lake Erie, and all around well-kept spaces. Visiting the Merry Go Round Museum is like taking a trip back in time while getting a history lesson in carousels. The indoor carousel has the coolest carved horses and creatures, and it’s one of my faves. 
Did you know the outside of a carousel horse is called its “romance side”? Yep, many carousel horses are heavily ornate on the outside and less so on the other. I learned that from visiting the Merry Go Round Museum! My family always checks each carousel to see if the animals have a romance side and, guess what, 9 times out of 10 they do. 

Cedar Point’s Kiddy Kingdom Carousel  Sandusky, OH

Everyone should have the opportunity to ride an ostrich at least once in their lives, right? I got my chance on the Kiddy Kingdom Carousel. The carousel has all sorts of fun creatures and many will give you a bird’s eye view of Kiddy Kingdom. Bird’s eye view. I am on a roll today!

Cedar Point’s Cedar Downs Racing Derby  Sandusky, OH

Okay, I admit it. I took a Cedar Downs selfie before the ride started. We adore Cedar Downs and, man, does it fly! The Kid loves the music and found herself humming the tune for  half of the afternoon. She also loves that the race horses in each row race each other by going jumping forward and back. Who won the race? The Kid, of course. I think she surveyed the horses while we were in line to see which ones would win but I have no proof. 🙂

Richland Carrousel Park  Mansfield, OH

Richland Carrousel Park is the hangout for many a family that lives in or near Mansfield, OH On Friday nights, the indoor/outdoor carousel company offers gear deals on tickets (when we visited, it was five rides for $2. No kidding!) The park has been in operation since 1991 and what really makes the carousel special is that the design, creation, and building was done in Mansfield, OH by Carrousel Works. 
There are horses, yes, but it’s fun to ride on a kitty! The Kid had a blast picking which creature to ride on next. My fave? The giraffe!
The stationary giraffe is a blast to ride and is just beautiful! 
There’s also a very pretty seahorse and The Kid loved it as well. The carousel has a fun, interactive game while you ride. While the ride is slowing, riders can check to see if their animal will land on the red line painted on the floor. If you do, it’s a free ride on the carousel! 
We loved this summer and our carousel rides definitely made it that much better. Next summer? I do believe that we’re up for more rides. 
Disclosure: And now the technical stuff: I was hosted by Experience Columbus, Cedar Point, Lake Erie Shores and Islands, Idlewild Park, Visit Pittsburgh, and Experience Columbus to bring you fine folks the scoop on my visit. They certainly didn’t ask me to state a particular point of view, and my opinions are all my own.

For detailed reviews on the carousels and parks they are contained in, please check out my trekaroo passport here and more awesome and honest reviews from trekaroo here.

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