Skip to Main Content

Carowinds

Skip to Next Section

Carousel: Moving & Preserving History

Chris Foshee

Social Media & Digital Marketing Manager - @chrisfoshee on Twitter

The Carowinds carousel is a living piece of amusement park history. Built in 1923 during America’s “carousel golden age” by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company (#67 of 87 ever made), it features 68 hand-carved wooden horses and chariots crafted by master carver John Zalar. At the ripe age of 95, the carousel is the oldest ride in the park. And if these horses could talk…they’d probably just talk in circles. #DadJoke

Historic Carousel

The Carousel’s New Home & Name

As we prepare for an exciting 2018 season with our Camp Snoopy expansion, the carousel will be moving across the park where it will serve as the centerpiece of the renovated plaza outside of Vortex. As a result, the plaza will be renamed Carousel Park and the carousel will return to its original name, The Grand Carousel. The ride’s new location will transform its surrounding area, and its massive new station will highlight the handcrafted treasure’s beauty.  

New Carousel

Preserving the Handcrafted Treasure

In addition to the move, The Grand Carousel will be receiving some TLC to preserve its classic charm. The original flooring is made up of 18 pieces and each will be restored and refinished. This is no small task considering the age and shape of the wood.

FamilyRideCarousel

As part of the ride’s ongoing maintenance, Carowinds will also be repainting 10 horses. It takes two-three weeks to complete each piece, which means it will take the remainder of the offseason to ready the horses.

Todd Dawkins is the man challenged with the task of painting the horses. He’s been doing it for about 10 years now, and his precision and attention to detail is truly something to admire. With a small paintbrush in hand, he brings the handcrafted wood to life.

AmusementParkWork

Each horse is stripped down and primed three times before receiving paint. He then considers color options that will fit the horse and highlight its characteristics. A base coat is then applied. Once dried, Dawkins begins on the decorations and details – the longest part of the process. When complete, the painted horse is covered with a clear coat to protect his work.

Paint Carousel

Dawkins is currently working on three different horses, each in different stages of completion.

“It’s important to us to be good stewards of this ride,” said Steve Jackson, director of maintenance. “There aren’t too many of these left, and they’re part of history.”

When you visit The Grand Carousel in its new location, take a moment to admire the craftsmanship of the ride. It truly is a historic, handcrafted treasure. 

Share This

Chris Foshee

Social Media & Digital Marketing Manager - @chrisfoshee on Twitter

Post a Comment

Skip to Next Section

Johnson & Wales Students Build Gingerbread Village at Carowinds

Arriving on site armed with an assortment of sweets and piping bags full of icing cement, a team of Johnson & Wales University students, led by Chef Jon Kimbrough, built a gingerbread village beneath a Christmas tree in Mrs. Claus’s Kitchen this week. Their beautiful handiwork is on display for all WinterFest guests through December 30.
Read More

SCarowinds Scream Dream Team

Manufacturing fear is no easy feat, but for Jim and Tricia Cormack – it’s an obsession. As operations supervisors on our SCarowinds team, they get giddy thinking of new ways to petrify our guests. From conception to construction, this happily married couple of 27 years is living the dream by building your nightmares.
Read More

Top 5 Things to Experience at the Great Pumpkin Fest in 2017

The Great Pumpkin Fest at Carowinds - there are several attractions in Camp Snoopy that you don’t get the chance to experience at any other time during the year. Younger guests can transform into a soapy ghost at Pig Pen’s Foam Zone or try to make their way through the straw of Peppermint Patty’s Hay Bale Maze.
Read More

Top Five Things You Need to Know for SCarowinds

To get you and your friends geared up for a season of fear, we’ve conjured up the top five things you need to know before exploring our “scream” park in 2017.
Read More

Getting Your Free Carowinds Pre-K Pass

In addition to the all-new Camp Snoopy kids’ area, we will also be introducing the Carowinds Pre-K Pass for the 2018 season. This exciting new product is free for kids ages 3 to 5 years old and includes unlimited visits for the entire season, including The Great Pumpkin Fest and WinterFest.
Read More

Camp Snoopy Illustrations

Scout the 2018 season and explore the massive makeover with the help of our concept illustrations. Complete with the rustic charm of the outdoors, families will love setting up camp in this brand new kids area. 
Read More

Carowinds Landscaping

The beauty of the Carolinas is exemplified throughout Carowinds whether its views of the Queen City or many acres of beautifully landscaped Carolina terrain.
Read More

Carowinds Hiring For Inaugural WinterFest - New Holiday Event

The highly anticipated WinterFest will be coming to Carowinds for the first time this holiday season. Auditions for character performers and attendants will be held on July 22 and July 29 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Carowinds Employment Office, located near Camp Wilderness off Best Day Boulevard.
Read More

10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Cirque Imagine

Since debuting last year in the Carowinds Theatre, Cirque Imagine has quickly become one of our most popular shows. Guests of all ages have fallen in love with its sensational stunts, lively humor and touching story. No matter how many times you’ve seen this blockbuster production, here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about Cirque Imagine.
Read More

Carowinds Date Guide

Whether you’re a seasoned park-goer or new to the experience, here are a few tips we “researched” to WOW your significant other with the perfect Carowinds date!
Read More