Carousel of Dreams

Historic Carousel in SF's Golden Gate Park

When was the last time you got on a merry-go-round? That long ago, eh! Take a trip back in time on a truly historic carousel located in Golden Gate Park. Built in 1914, this colorful gem is iconic in the park, yet surprisingly not well known.

A beauty of over 60 animal figures and elaborate benches, plus an organ (!), the carousel was once powered by steam, then got an electric motor, then made an appearance at the 1939 World’s Fair (on Treasure Island) and traveled to amusement parks in LA and Portland.

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Then it went slightly kaput for a bit, in need of mechanical upgrades and a general spiffy-up. The restoration saw vibrant colors return to the animals, which today include roosters, peacocks, horses, and dragons. Even an organ was installed! Ready to give it a whirl? At just $2 for a go-round (actually, several go-rounds), prices are historic too!

The Golden Gate Park Carousel is at 320 Bowling Green Dr., between John F. Kennedy Dr. and Kezar Dr. It is next to the Koret Children’s Playground by the Sharon Building. Parking is located east of Bowling Green Dr., which is by the lawn bowling building. Adults $2, children ages 6 to 12 years $1, children 5 and under no cost, when accompanied by a paying adult. Children under 40″ in height must ride with a paying adult.

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