Today I’m hosting a great photo taken in the Merry-Go-Round Museum in Ohio by Karen Dawkins from the Family Travels on a Budget Blog.
I have chosen this photo because there is something magical and very sentimental about merry-go-round carousels.
Karen, an attorney turned family travel blogger, which she founds way more fun!
Her family has travelled to three continents and throughout the United States and the Caribbean, always on a budget — but not always on the cheap.
Photo Story: Merry-Go-Round Museum
Our summer vacation this year was a trip down memory lane for my husband and me. Our summers always included trips to Ohio’s theme parks, King’s Island and Cedar Point, roller coaster parks known worldwide for thrills and excitement. This year, our daughter is finally tall enough to ride them all, so the trip planning began.
This was a long road trip, so two theme parks were not enough. I needed to add something to our itinerary!
One of my favourite travel hacks to keep kids from bickering is making sure the itinerary has something for everyone. Since our daughter is an adrenaline junkie, I knew we’d be riding her favourite coasters again and again. As long as we made a few minutes to shop for a keychain, she would be happy.
Our son gets motion sickness, so coasters wouldn’t do it for him. So, I added a trip to a climbing gym for him. He’s a certified climbing expert — no surprise since he used the family dog at age 9 months to get to the kitchen counters! Yes, my boy climbed up our dog at nine months of age.
My husband had made a few restaurant requests, so his wishes were filled.
That left me. I’ve always loved the carousel — the bright lights, the music from the Wurlitzer — all of it. When I found out that Sandusky, Ohio is home to the Merry-Go-Round Museum, I knew I’d found my thing.
The family was not thrilled. In fact, they teased me about the visit for weeks before we went. They even tossed in a few sarcastic jabs as we walked to the museum from the parking lot. But, I knew they would back off once inside.
We walked through the front door, and I went to the ticket counter. They spread out through the lobby to look at all the horses on display.
The museum has only two rooms, the lobby — which displays horses significant to the era of the grand carousel, and the main room which centres around a 1938 carousel and has displays from the early days of Coney Island to Christmas reindeer and restoration. I expected the family to give me about 30 minutes to look around and ride the carousel.
And then… The magic struck!
As they looked at the horses displayed in the lobby and read the placards explaining each horse’s significance to this unique art form, they found that childlike joy that has always filled me.
They at least half an hour in the lobby alone, looking at the horses, learning the history of the carousel (it was originally used for military training), and marvelling at the intricacies of the carvings.
We stepped into the main room. I had expected them to push for the carousel ride (included with admission) and a quick exit. But, they were hooked.
We looked at the reindeer display, the photos from the early days on Coney Island, and to the collection of other carousel creatures (elephants, lions, giraffes, dragons and wolves).
My son spent more than 20 minutes talking with the octogenarian volunteer who was painstakingly crafting a brand new horse in the original style. No nails. No screws. My son, a 21-year-old rock climber found a new respect for the art of the carousel.
We took our ride, after two hours at the museum! No mocking — all smiles.
Before we left, I took a photo of our favourite carousel creatures to remember the visit. I really couldn’t choose a favourite, but I’m drawn to the colour blue, so I chose that horse as mine. It’s been lovingly restored to its original beauty, as have most of the horses in the museum.
It’s also the horse that first got my family’s attention and helped them discover the magic of the carousel. But don’t tell them that’s what makes it so special to me!
Merry-Go-Round Museum in Sandusky, Ohio display artifacts that add to the public’s awareness, knowledge, and appreciation of the history of the carousel.
The doors to the Merry-Go-Round Museum opened to the public on July, 14, 1990 but the idea was born on October 1, 1988 when the U.S. Postal Service issued four carousel stamps.
To make the first day issue special, a group of local citizens borrowed the vacant former Sandusky Post Office and gathered together a wonderful carousel display to celebrate the Cedar Point horse as well as other figures.
The group hoped for a few hundred visitors, but surprisingly more than 2,000 came from across the nation to share the joy of carousels. In the following months a non-profit corporation was formed with the mission, “to preserve and promote the art and history of the carousel.”
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