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

What's New at WinterFest in 2018?

WinterFest returns this November, as Carowinds magically transforms into a winter wonderland with spectacular holiday experiences to ignite the season’s spirit. This year, WinterFest is packed with more fun and excitement than ever before with these new, festive attractions!
Read More

Ashton and the Dinosaurs

Ashton Bridges was recovering from a bone marrow transplant when he saw Dinosaurs Alive! on a Carowinds TV commercial. "Can we go see them?" he asked his mom. But a compromised immune system made it impossible to bring Ashton to a crowded amusement park. That wasn't going to stop Nana B.
Read More

The Great Pumpkin Fest – "Pumpkin Patch 2.0"

Fall is here! That’s right, it’s time for pumpkin decorating, Halloween costumes, trick-or-treating and outdoor games. The Great Pumpkin Fest, located in and around the new Camp Snoopy, has you covered for all these things and more - think of it as a “pumpkin patch 2.0.”
Read More

You're Sure to Fall for These Delicious Autumn Dishes

Our executive chef has cooked up some new fall-inspired dishes that you'll definitely want to taste for yourself. But for now, we'll "leaf" you with these delicious photos. Try not to drool on the screen.
Read More

Top Six Things to Know for SCarowinds 2018

Every fall, SCarowinds terror intensifies and grows. Check out these six tips for the best - and most blood-curdling - experience.
Read More

Granny's Epic Secret Revealed

Everybody knew about Granny's delicious concoction. Best for miles around. She’d won blue ribbons at the county fair for 40 years with that jam, but no more. Granny Byrd’s secret recipe is gonna be yours.
Read More

A Closer Look at Copperhead Strike

It’s twice the bite on Copperhead Strike! Here’s an up-close first look at all the twists, turns and record-breaking statistics delivered by the Carolina’s first double launch coaster.
Read More

The Foundations of Copperhead Strike

As we introduce Copperhead Strike, here's a look behind the construction fence at what’s already been set in stone – well, reinforced concrete.
Read More

Make the Final Days of Summer Amazing

It’s hard to believe that we’re already past the halfway point of the summer season. Before school starts again, get outside and savor the last of the long summer days. If you’re looking for fun things to do in Charlotte with your family and friends, Carowinds is the place for you! Here’s a list of some of the top ways to squeeze every bit of fun out of the dog days of summer.
Read More

When Mother Nature Threatens the Fun

When you imagine the best day ever at Carowinds, you're thinking warm and sunny. Unfortunately, Mother Nature doesn't always behave according to plans. Here's a detailed look at how we keep you safe when clouds come rolling in.
Read More