Your mission: Ride every New York City Carousel!
New York City is home to 14 carousels, each with its own distinct personality and history. You’ll have to visit all five boroughs and ride horses, fish, and bugs! Here’s our guide to how to complete the New York City Carousel Challenge.
New York City Carousel Challenge
Riding a carousel is something almost everyone can do. But it’s more than just going around in circles.
The joy of the carousel is the simple pleasure of being free to go somewhere but nowhere at all. Merry-go-rounds are the luxury of time. For those few minutes, nothing is asked of us but to enjoy the ride.
Each carousel on this list is a labor of love and craftsmanship that we don’t see all that often today. Many are also evidence of the hard work and collaboration of those dedicated to preserving our past for the enjoyment of future generations.
Like the people who ride them, each carousel on this list has a story.
- Central Park Carousel – Central Park
- Le Carrousel – Bryant Park
- The Carousel at Pier 62 – Chelsea Piers
- Totally Kid Carousel – Riverbank State Park
- Sea Glass Carousel – Battery Park
Central Park Carousel
There has been a carousel in Central Park since 1871. After the previous two carousels burned down, the one visitors enjoy today was found in storage on Coney Island. The current carousel was built in 1908 and is one of the largest in the country featuring 57 hand-carved horses and two chariots.
The carousel is located in Central Park at around 66th Street. It is open daily, April – October from 10am – 6pm, weather permitting. It costs $3.25 to ride.
Le Carrousel (Bryant Park)
Le Carrousel is an adorable 14-horse carousel in Bryant Park at 40th Street between 5th and 6th Ave. It has a French style that goes with the rest of Bryant Park.
Le Carrousel is open daily from 11am – 7pm almost all year round. It costs $3.00 per ride.
The Carousel at Pier 62
The pier 62 Carousel sits on the waterfront and features 33 hand-carved wood figures of animals that call the Hudson River Valley home. This certainly makes it more unique than your typical carousel with mostly horses.
The Carousel at Pier 62 is open from 11am-7pm (8pm some days) April – October. $3.50 per ride.
Totally Kid Carousel (Riverbank Park)
The colorful Totally Kid Carousel is unique because each of the 35 animals was designed by kids! This makes for a whimsical ride!
Only open from June – October. Hours vary based on the day. $1 per ride.
Sea Glass Carousel (Battery Park)
The Sea Glass Carousel is near the water in Battery Park on the lower end of Manhattan. It’s extremely unique as it’s not designed like your traditional carousels.
First of all, the Sea Glass animals are all fish. Second, you ride inside the fish! Third, there is no center pole, each set of fish rotates as the platform turns. Lastly, the fish all light up and glow with color-changing LED lights!
The Sea Glass Carousel is open daily at 10am. Depending on the season it may close as early as 7pm or stay open until 10pm. It’s definitely worth a visit at night to see it all lit up!
The Bug Carousel
The lone carousel in the Bronx is located inside the world-famous Bronx Zoo. On the Bug Carousel, you can ride insects like beetles, grasshoppers, or a praying mantis!
Here’s Bella riding the Bug Carousel back in 2011.
The Bug Carousel is included with admission if you buy the “Total Experience” ticket. Otherwise it costs $6 each with general admission.
- Forest Park Carousel – Forest Park Amusement Village
- Flushing Meadows Carousel – Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Forest Park Carousel
The Forest Park Carousel was built in 1903 and is one of the last two surviving carousels made by the Muller brothers. It has called Forest Park home since 1972. It features 52 hand-carved figures. While there are mostly horses, a few other animals can be found including a Lion and a Tiger, which gives it a circus feel.
Admission the the Forest Park Amusement Village is free, but all rides and games will cost you a ticket, which sell for $3.50 each, 3 for $10, or 10 for $30. The carousel and park are open weekends in May, daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day, and weekends and select weekdays in September and October. Hours are generally 11am – 5 or 6pm on weedays, 11am – 7pm on weekends.
Flushing Meadows Carousel
Installed in Flushing Meadows Corona Park for the 1964 World’s Fair, the Flushing Meadows Carousel at Fantasy Forest Amusement Park is actually a combination of two different carousels from Coney Island.
- Jane’s Carousel – Brooklyn Bridge Park
- B&B Carousell – Luna Park, Coney Island
- Carousel at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park – Coney Island
- The Carousel in Prospect Park – Prospect Park
While this list has several carousels that date from the early 1900s, Jane’s Carousel is unique in that it doesn’t have roots in NYC. This carousel was built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1922 and was located in Ohio until it was purchased at an auction, restored, and opened to the public in Brooklyn in 2011.
Jane’s Carousel has 3 rows, with 48 horses in all. During the summer, the carousel is open every day except Tuesday, 11am – 7pm (in the winter the carousel closes at 6pm). Tickets are just $2.00 each for anyone over the age of 3 years old.
Coney Island used to be carousel central. At one time, there were over a dozen carousels in operation at the same time. But the B&B Carousell is now the last of the golden age of carousels to be operating in Coney Island.
Though built in Coney Island around 1906-1909, the B&B was first operated in New Jersey until making its way back home. It was recently restored and re-opened to the public in Luna Park.
The cost to ride is $3.00. The carousel is open weekends in May, September and October. From Memorial Day through Labor Day the park is open daily and hours vary from 11am – 7pm to as late as midnight on some days.
Carousel at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park
I remember taking Bella on a carousel at Coney Island when she was little, but it wasn’t the B&B. The amusement park next door to Luna Park is known for the Wonder Wheel ferris wheel attraction, but it also has a small carousel. As you can see, Bella was holding on for dear life!
Deno’s is open weekends at noon in April, May, September, and October. Through the summer, it opens daily at noon. Closing hours vary and aren’t listed on the website. It costs $5.00 to ride any attraction.
Carousel at Prospect Park
The Carousel at Prospect Park is another Coney Island-style carousel. It was built in 1912 and features 53 horses, along with a Lion, a Deer, a Giraffe, and two chariots pulled by dragons.
It is open Thursday-Sunday and Holidays from 12pm – 5pm. Tickets are $2.50 each or a book of 5 for $11.50 (save $1).
- The Carousel For All Children – Willowbrook Park
- The Conservation Carousel – Staten Island Zoo
The Carousel For All Children
Celebrating it’s 20th birthday in 2019, the Carousel For All Children is a fun mix of mythical beasts, endangered species and traditional horses.
It is open from 11am – 5:45pm Friday – Sunday in May, September and early October, add Wednesdays to the schedule in June, and it runs daily in July and August. $1.50 per person.
The Conservation Carousel
Located inside the Staten Island Zoo, the Conservation Carousel features 25 different animals from around the world, many of them endangered or vulnerable.
The Conservation Carousel operates on weekends and public school holidays, 11am – 4pm. The cost to ride is $2.00 per ticket.
Completing the NYC Carousel Challenge
When I came up with the idea for this “challenge”, I was thinking in terms of how many can I ride in one day? Could I possibly ride every New York City Carousel?
But the more I read about each carousel, the more I realized I was missing the point. It’s not about just checking them all off. It’s about finding the time to enjoy the ride, and to share that experience with others.
Do you have a favorite carousel? Please, share your memories with us.