When was the last time you rode a Merry-Go-Round? Or even saw one? Heard the peppy music of its Calliope?
Like most of us, if you ever did ride one it was probably many years ago when you were a child. Surprise! If you are in the Sandusky, Ohio area you can ride a real, full sized Merry-Go-Round to the music of its Wurlitzer Calliope or Band Organ.
A visit to the Merry-Go-Round Museum in the heart of Sandusky requires a small entrance fee and includes a full ride on the in house Merry-Go-Round, music and all, on the beautifully restored, carved animal of your choice. And there are so many to choose from! From horses to sea monsters.
Don’t miss the guided tour. Our tour guide was very enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the animals, carvers and history of everything. Occasionally as we toured even she was surprised by a new discovery like this camel that is being restored.
The museum has been endowed with outright gifts of animals, mostly horses but many other animals, too, in various stages of repair from excellent to very poor. Currently on permanent loan is the collection of the late Charlotte Dinger which includes some really beautiful horses.
We learned about the three styles of horses which are Coney Island, Philadelphia and Country Fair. Coney Island style is the flashiest with glitz, gold mane and jewels. But only on the “Romance” side. Then there are “outside row” animals that tend to be the largest and fanciest and even better carved.
We also learned about the various carvers and carving companies along with the history of carousel invention. The precursor to the modern Merry-Go-Round is traced back to 544 A.D. or was it B.C? It’s difficult to remember everything. The oldest figure in the museum is this restored elephant dated 1890.
There were many different animals as the following photos reveal.
There were several deer and elk. They looked like reindeer to us and I was expecting to see Santa nearby. We did learn that the two on the left spent last Christmas in the White House as part of the holiday celebration there.
We learned a great deal about the detailed process of the restoration of these beautiful carvings including dowel fittings, painting, the period of metal legs that are now restored with wood and much more. It takes great dedication to restore these creations as beautifully as this donkey has been done.
At one time there was a carousel that existed with only cows to ride on. Two of those cows are in the museum along with a bucking bronc from Mexico.
Every year the museum sells raffle ticket for a particular Merry-Go-Round horse and the winner is awarded the horse. Last year’s winner never picked up their prize that is still waiting for them all dressed for Halloween. Perhaps they decided to make it an unofficial donation.
There are tales of haunting within the museum so be sure to ask about them. You can ride in a chariot, on a horse, a sea monster, a zebra or any variety of animals but don’t miss out on the great fun riding this artistic Merry-Go-Round!
Visit for location, dates and times: http://www.merrygoroundmuseum.org/