Art and imagination go ’round and ’round in the Willamette Valley and the Albany carousel will give you a spin. The creative and imaginative creatures on their historic carousel go beyond the prancing horse.
The project to create this carousel started with inspiration from carousels being restored in Montana and Salem, Oregon. Carousels were dying out all across the country in the mid century, and a group of people didn’t want that childhood experience to go away. Volunteers started carving the animals before they even had secured an actual carousel unit. The donation of the driving mechanism – an historic 1909 wooden mechanism that took over 10 years to restore made the carousel a reality.
Volunteers carve and paint the 52 animals and include a variety ranging from a seven foot tall giraffe, dogs, cats, zebras, unicorns, frog, a dragon, and yes, even lions, tigers, and bears. How often can you ride a dragon? New animals will be added seasonally and may be in and out of rotation, to keep the experience fresh. While you are there, visit their carousel museum and learn more about the history of the art form.
The volunteers and their love of creating brand new carousel characters takes a lot of time and money. The project is funded through donations, the gift shop, and ticket sales. Each animal can cost over $5,000 to create and 1,000-1,500 hours to carve and an additional 800 hours to paint. It is a daunting task, yet volunteers do it for the love of creation and the joy they know it will bring to generations of children.
HOURS 10-5 (closed Tuesday)
Albany Historic Carousel & Museum
503 First Ave West