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July
22

Carousels - Explore Ohio - Cutler Real Estate

While modern carousels are a beloved amusement ride, they have their roots in a combat preparation exercise from the Middle Ages. Knights attempted to spear small rings hanging overhead as they galloped in a circle. Commoners eventually adapted the game with the beginnings of our current form.

Did you know that the first carousel in the United States was built in the 1840s by Franz Wiesenhoffer in Hessville, OH? Our state is still recognized as the home of many incredible carousels, including those in Northeast Ohio, Columbus, and Cincinnati.

Cedar Point

1 Cedar Point Dr., Sandusky, OH 44870

Everyone knows that carousels are a traditional part of any respectable fair, carnival, and amusement park. Not surprisingly, Cedar Point takes their carousel game to a whole new level, with three carousels that make frequent appearances on top-10 lists. The Kiddy Kingdom Carousel, dating back to 1925 and features 52 animals, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Next is the Midway Carousel, built in 1912 and operating at Cedar Point since 1946, making it the park's oldest ride. Finally, challenge family and friends to a spin on the Cedar Downs Racing Derby, one of only two racing carousels in the United States. Visit the website for hours and ticket pricing.

Richland Carrousel Park

75 N. Main St., Mansfield, OH 44902

In honor of the ride's European origins, Richland Carrousel Park uses the French spelling of the word in its name. This delightful park features the first new hand-carved carousel constructed in the United States since the 1930s, built at nearby Carousel Works. Scenery panels on the carousel depict Malabar Farm, Richland County Courthouse, and other iconic locations and notable figures from the local area. Carousel rides are $1, with discounts for purchases of 6 or 50 rides. Hours are 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sunday.

Akron Zoo

505 Euclid Ave., Akron, OH 44307

Environmental education and awareness provide the theme for the Conservation Carousel at the Akron Zoo. The hand-carved figurines are likenesses of 33 animals from around the world, ranging from a ladybug and a penguin to a Komodo dragon, a peacock chariot that's wheelchair accessible, and a baby moose that contains a time capsule from 2010. Sustainable wood, repurposed concrete, and other green initiatives were incorporated in the construction of the carousel. Rides are $2 per person. Zoo admission is $14 for adults and $11 for ages 2-14. Hours are 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily through October 31. Visit the website for seasonal hours.

Columbus Commons

160 S. High St., Columbus, OH 43215

In 2011, the historic City Center grounds were transformed into Columbus Commons, a 6-acre park in the midst of the beautiful downtown area. The centerpiece attraction is a hand-carved carousel with 18 charming figurines, including the OSU Buckeye horse, a frog prince, and a clown fish. Ohio Stadium and Franklin Park Conservatory are two of the hand-painted scenes decorating the canopy. Carousel rides are also a popular draw for Commons for Kids, held each Friday through August 12 from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Rides are free at all times. Park hours are 7 a.m. - 11 p.m. daily.

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

3400 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45220

Carousels are generally thought of as rides for youngsters. That's not the case at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, where their Conservation Carousel is one of the more popular attractions during adults-only events such as Toast of the Wild. Of course, the carousel is a big hit with kids as well. Zoo members often upgrade their memberships at the prompting of their children, who like the unlimited carousel rides that are included. Standard pricing for rides is $3. Mark your calendar for 2023, when the zoo's new carousel will be installed. At twice the size of the current carousel, this version will feature 65 animals in a vintage open-air gazebo perched alongside Swan Lake. Admission ranges from $9.50-$25. The zoo is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. through October 31. Visit the website for seasonal hours.

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

4850 Powell Rd., Powell, OH 43065

After viewing real birds and wildlife in person, check out colorful recreations on the Grand Carousel at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. The historic 1914 Mangels-Illions carousel revolves to the sounds of a fully restored band organ that plays periodically throughout the day. Rides are $2 per person. If you want the real experience, enjoy a camel ride for $7 or a pony ride for $5. Zoo admission is $16.99 for adults and $11.99 for ages 3-9. Prices are higher for non-Franklin County residents. The zoo is open daily from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. through August. Visit the website for seasonal hours.

Toledo Zoo & Aquarium

2 Hippo Way, Toledo, OH 43609

Travel to the continent of Africa on the carousel at the Toledo Zoo & Aquarium. The sole African carousel in the world lets you ride atop 42 exotic animals, such as giraffes, zebras, and gorillas. Artwork on the canopy showcases many of the featured animals in their native habitats. Rides are $3 per person, with passes available for multiple rides at discounted rates. Zoo admission is $24 for adults and $21 for ages 2-11, with an additional $2 charge for non-Lucas County residents. Visit the website for hours.

Merry-Go-Round Museum

301 Jackson St., Sandusky, OH 44870

Inspiration for the Merry-Go-Round Museum came from a series of carousel stamps issued by the U.S. Postal Service in 1988. Appropriately, the museum is housed in a former Sandusky Post Office building listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In addition to watching activities in the restoration shop, visitors can ride the museum's vintage 1939 Allan Herschell carousel as the band organ plays the classic "oom-pa-pa" sounds. The original figurines were unavailable, so the carousel is populated with pieces from the museum's collection or on loan from private collectors. Admission, including one ride token, is $6 for adults and $4 for ages 4-14. Hours are 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon - 4 p.m. Sunday through Labor Day.

Round and Round

When it comes to your preferred carousel mount, do you go old-school with the horses, or do you make a dash for one of the other animals?

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