Vintage music, whimsical creatures, sparkling lights – for families in the Portland area craving inexpensive, old-timey fun, these five carousels, all located within about an hour and a half of Portland, will have you and the kids twirling with delight. Most are open daily year-round and cost $1.50-$4.00 per ride.
Photo: Jeff Muceus via Flickr
Oaks Amusement Park Carousel
The oldest ride in Southeast Portland’s turn-of-the-century amusement park, the historic Herschell–Spillman Noah’s Ark Carousel has been delighting children for over 100 years. Choose from a menagerie of 46 wooden, hand-carved animals, including pairs of zebras, ostriches, roosters, and giraffes.
7805 SE Oaks Park Way
Oregon Zoo Carousel
Originally added to the zoo’s grounds in the 1960s, this petite merry-go-round was MIA during the last wave of renovations. Now it’s back and located in the newly-dubbed North Meadow Terrace. Along with classic carousel horses, kids can ride a white rabbit or a blue opalescent dragon.
4001 SW Canyon Road
Photo: Kirt Edblom via Flickr
Years in the making, this 50-foot carousel – located 75 miles south of Portland and housed in a 22,000-square foot facility – just opened in August 2017. Expect a whimsical collection of some 52 handmade wooden animals (think snarling dragons, hopping toads, splashy orca whales, and more), many of which have been designed, carved and painted by the local community.
SW Washington St. & W 1st Ave.
Seaside Carousel Mall
A local attraction since the 1980s, Seaside’s compact, classic-style merry-go-round is a modern-day replica situated two blocks from the beach inside the Carousel Mall. Twenty-two animals are featured, from a prancing brown horse to a whimsical, fish-loving black cat. Afterwards, visit in the arcade or grab sweet treats at one of the candy shops.
300 Broadway, Suite 22
Photo: Wplynn via Flickr
Salem Riverfront Carousel
Opened in 2001, Salem’s covered, old-world style carousel is located on the banks of the Willamette in the city’s 23-acre Riverfront Park. After taking a few merry spins, check out the on-site carving gallery and gift shop. Space is available for a variety of private events, including birthday parties and weddings.
101 Front St. NE