If there’s one thing I can tell you for certain; if I see a sign for a carousel or merry-go-round I have to investigate and that’s how I came about the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round in California.
When visiting family we had a few moments to kill before Travel Town opened, so we decided to drive around Griffith Park. We know it has a lot to see and when I saw a Merry-Go-Round sign the mission quickly turned into “find that merry-go-round.” Little did I know it would be the carousel that gave a great idea to a memorable man.
As I walked up to the carousel it was obvious that it’s a classic and in the process of getting restored. It was originally build in 1920’s by the Spillman Engineering Company and moved to Griffith Park in 1937. The there 4 rows of horses, and all 68 of them are jumpers. A lot of them also have real horse hair and are beautifully hand-carved. The horses did have a weight limit of 200 pounds, and there are 2 chaises to sit on. It’s actually the only full-sized Spillman still running.
I was also amazed with the band organ. They have a Stinson 165 Military Band Organ, and so many reels for it to play. I was told they have over 1500 selections of marches and waltzes, and they even sell a CD if you love Merry-Go-Round music!
Riding this carousel I saw first hand how fast, it goes. I really did feel like we were jumping through the park. The ride was also one of the longest ones I’ve been on, so you really do get your $2 worth.
As I was exiting I discovered that this Merry-Go-Round was the one that gave Walt Disney his inspiration for Disneyland. As he sat on a park bench watching his daughters ride he thought there needed to be a place where children and adults can do things together. There’s even a seating chaise that’s been restored in Walt Disney’s memory. I also learned that he had a favorite horse on the merry-go-round named Diego. He was an all black horse and apparently had an extra kick in him, because as you got on and off his hoof would get you!
I’m so happy we stumbled into the Merry-Go-Round. At the time I only had cellphone, but you can bet on our next trip to California I’ll be visiting Griffith Park for more rides and pictures! The Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round is open weekends year round and weekdays during the summer and Christmas and Easter breaks from 11am-5pm. The cost is $2 per rider.