Everyone got a free ride on the Balboa Park Carousel today! That’s because it’s National Carousel Day!
Lots of excited kids and families were waiting for their ride on the historic carousel when I walked by. Every year on National Carousel Day people head to Balboa Park just for the special occasion!
The wonderful old carousel was built in 1910 by Herschell-Spillman Co. in North Tonawanda, New York. It ran for a few years in Luna Park, Los Angeles, then was moved to Coronado’s Tent City in 1913. In 1922 it was transported to Balboa Park where the Fleet Science Center is today. Finally it was moved to its present location near the San Diego Zoo in 1968.
Whenever I pause by the whirling carousel, I enjoy looking at the amazing carved animals, the carnival-like lights and mirrors, and the nostalgic art painted on passing panels. And I love listening to stirring music from the original band organ. I also gaze into a display case that contains historical information and artifacts concerning this special merry-go-round!
I’ve included two photos of the carousel being built back in 1910. Creating the carved animals required true artistry.
When beloved author Ray Bradbury turned a carousel into a time machine, I think he was onto something. Because whenever I ride one, I find that I’m a young boy again.