Around and around they go, providing endless fun for the whole family. We’re talking, of course, about carousels. Here are our five favorites in New York City. By Jessica Allen.
You won’t find any horses on this carousel. Instead, you’ll find grasshoppers, praying mantises, bees, beetles, and lady bugs, among others. Sure, you wouldn’t want to see these creatures this big for real, but the ride is ideal for the young entomologist in your life. And young zoologists will thrill to being at the zoo itself, 265 acres full of lions, flamingos, baboons, hyraxes, bears, birds, and monkeys, so very many monkeys.
Because you can never go wrong with a classic. A carousel has been entertaining kiddies and pleasing parents in Central Park since the 1870s, when the machine was powered by an actual mule or horse walking beneath the platform. Built in 1908, the current carousel uses a motor, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying your ride on one of its 57 lovingly restored horses. Almost a quarter of a million riders hop on each year. Why not you?
Offering perhaps the best view of any carousel on this list, Jane’s Carousel overlooks the Brooklyn Bridge and Lower Manhattan from a magnificent perch on the East River. Kids get their pick of two carriages and 48 carved horses in three ornate, perfect rows. History buffs will be impressed too: this carousel was built in 1922 by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company, one of the world’s oldest roller coaster- and carousel-makers.
Le Carrousel, as you might have gathered from the name, was constructed in the European style, which means that it’s slightly more petite and maybe even old-fashioned than its American counterparts — and has charm galore. You and your favorite enfant will bob along on one of 14 animals to French cabaret music. The carousel blends almost perfectly into Bryant Park, providing a leafy, relaxing haven in Midtown.
The newest carousel on this list, the SeaGlass Carousel is also one of the absolute coolest. Created by the Battery Park Conservancy, the carousel is designed to make riders feel as if they’ve dipped down into the nearby Atlantic. It features a spiral seashell-like exterior, 30 fiberglass fish, and walls that change color as you go, glub, glub, glub, under the sea. (After almost a decade of planning, the carousel opens to the public on Aug. 20.)