Top 10 Carousel Oddities and Amazements

After endless hours of researching what we find to be a very fascinating subject, we have amassed a list of the San Francisco Music Box Co. Top 10 Carousel Oddities & Amazements. We warn you, this list is not for the weak of heart. If you are a fan of the Avant-Garde, aren’t afraid of the Artful Dodger and ready to take the road less traveled – we welcome you into a list will take you deep into your imagination and then invite you inside.

10. Carousel Gardens Amusement Park
Come rain or shine, this 1906 carousel building is wrapped entirely of double-fold doors and is topped with a pyramidal roof that keeps it’s guests and antique carousel comfortable and dry.  The stained glass windows of the clerestory and cupola cast a playful spectrum of light on the fully renovated carousel featuring fifty-four carved colorful animals. In the enclosed area of the Carousel Building, guests can sip cocktails and enjoy a succulent meal. Weather permitting, additional guests can be accommodated on the deck surrounding the building.
Location: New Orleans, LA
Ticket Cost: $3

My Kingdom for a Carousel

9. Brighton Pier, United Kingdom Carousel :: Grandfathered In
Take in the sights, eat some great food, do some shopping and ride the historic Brighton Pier Carousel but remember to bring a life preserver. This great Carousel sits atop a pier that has a history that dates back to 1823. It has set the stage for many silent black and white films, served fish and chips to Grace Kelly, Greta Garbo and Bette Davis, and was the set for a plethora of commercials, television shows and photo shoots. These horses have made history and have rubbed shoulders with the stars. What would you do to ride on the back of a carousel horse that quite possibly saddled Johnny Depp?
Location: Brighton Pier, United Kingdom
Ticket Cost: $3

By BunnyHugger, Lansing, Michigan

8. Carousel Columbia, America :: In Honor of the Greats
Although not in the “Historic Registry” club, this Carousel, located at the grand entrance of the Carousel Columbia, America Amusement Park, demands respect in its own right. Each and every animal that rides this double-decker masterpiece is a replica made from the molds of the horses and animals that rode the most famous carousels of yesteryear’s. From the carousel placard, “The inspiration and beauty of the Columbia reflect the artistry of hundreds of workers who dedicated themselves to this splendid carousel. It was conceived and designed by Randall Duell and Associates as the first major new carousel in the world since the late 1920’s, when the art of carousel design was nearly – but fortunately not quite lost.
Location: Six Flags Great America and at California’s Great America

Destination Carousel

7. Trimper’s Rides Carousel :: The Legacy
What do you get when you add a 10 mile beachfront, a 3 mile wooden boardwalk and an Amusement Park featuring a 100 year old carousel boasting 12 leaping horses, 11 Standing Horses, 1 Camel, 2 Cats, 1 Deer, 2 Dogs, 1 Dragon, 2 Frogs, 2 Giraffes, 1 Goat, 1 Lion, 2 Mules, 2 Ostriches, 2 Pigs, 2 Roosters, 1 Stork, 1 Tiger, 2 Zebras and 4 Chariots? Days of historic family fun! The Trimper’s Carousel is unique only to it’s Herschell-Spillman Company sister carousel, built around the same time, that sat on Coney Island but later burned in a fire.
Location: Ocean City, Maryland
Ticket Cost: $2

Spillman Carousel

6. Spillman Carousel ::A Work of Art
The Spillman Carousel lives in the Grand Rapids Public Museum in Michigan. Adorned with brightly colored jewels and intricately hand carved animals, The Spillman Carousel has stolen many hearts of carousel lovers from around the world. Forty-Four wooden horses, six menagerie animals and two chariots dance gracefully around this fully restored 1928 Carousel by the Spillman Engineering Company.
Of all the Carousels I’ve had the honor to research and present to you, this one wins the “beauty” contest hands-down. I never imagined ever being humbled by a horse and the menagerie of company he kept.  Image trackback.
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Ticket Cost: $1


5. Name That Carousel :: Mechanical Flying Fish vs. Tug Boat
In my search for the most mystifying and magical carousels of the land, I ran across this carousel. The image came with no name or artist. I am going to need a little help with this one!
What I do know is this:
1. The picture was taken in Brussels.
2. It was designed by a French artist.
3. Displayed at a Christmas Festival.
4. Sinterklaas makes a visit.

The Doll Carousel Room

4. House on the Rock Carousel :: Pretty Porcelain and Ponies
Frank Loyd Wright would scoff if anyone would compare him to the architectural antics of one Alex Jordan. Marv Balousek, a newspaper reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal, describes Jordan as “a shadowy figure as reclusive as the late multi-millionaire Howard Hughes.” The House on the Rock is a 14-room house with a complex Möbius of half levels, stairs and corridors. If you visit, allow for at least 2 hours to tour the house and 3 additional hours to find your way out. During your 3 hours of misguided discovery, be prepared to visit what is know to be one of the creepiest carousels in the world. You will be greeted by hundreds of dark, lifeless eyes from hundreds of pale, handcrafted dolls standing about or riding a host of miniature carousel ponies.
Location: Spring Green, WI
Ticket Cost: Section 3 $15.50

Warner Bros. Pictures 1987

3. Looff Carousel :: Star Struck
Does anyone remember when Kiefer Sutherland was the handsome yet terrifying “David” from The Lost Boys and not the dashing and daring “Jack Bower” from 24? Before Kiefer was Hi-Jacking planes from terrorists or saving his family from government thugs he was sucking blood and getting thrown off a carousel in Santa Cruz, California on the Beach Boardwalk. What other movies / television shows have featured this epic carousel? The Killer Klowns from Outerspace, Sudden Impact, Dangerous Minds and countless television commercials. If only those horses could talk . . .
Location: Santa Cruz, California Beach Boardwalk
Ticket Cost: $3

The Riverbank Carousel

2. The Riverbank Carousel :: The Etch-a-Sketch Carousel
As a child, did you ever dream your dazzling doodle could walk off the page and you could come face-to-face with your creation? What if someone told you that it could be done? Would you take the chance and deliver a doodle or chalk it all up to some crazy man with an over-active imagination? Meet Milo Mottola. Mila Mottola dreamed of a carousel designed completely from the drawings of children. Imagine riding on the back of a zebra with plaid legs or a chariot made of two harnessed spiders or better yet, a yellow pickle that strangely resembles a giraffe.  The only “horsing around” done on this carousel will be any pushing and shoving it takes to be the first of your friends to ride the blue deer with the Cheshire smile!
Location: New York, NY
Ticket Cost:
50 cents

In need of a good home.

1. The Letenský Carousel :: Holy Horse Hair, Batman.
Built in 1892, this unexpected and under-appreciated carousel predates the famous carousel at the base of Monmartre in Paris by some 20 years. I would say this merits some serious respect, especially if you happen to be a horse. Like the rest of the carousel, the inner construction of each horse is wooden, but each sculpture is then wrapped in horse hair and dressed in a hide that had to be skinned from a dead horse. . . all in one piece. It is said that each horse was slaughtered explicitly for the purpose of constructing the carousel. Sadly, this magnificent Carousel is currently homeless and in great need of an owner with nearly 9 million dollars. Last year, the museum applied without success for European Union funds to help cover the cost. Early next year, the museum plans to reapply.

We hope you have enjoyed our Top 10 Carousel Oddities and Amazement’s tour. We invite all Carousel lovers, aficionados and collectors to add some of YOUR favorites to our list. Are there any carousel horses you would love to see as a San Francisco Music Box Co. reproduction? All comments are encouraged and welcomed.

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