I have eagerly looked for an opportunity to introduce our granddaughters to the Griffith Park Carousel since last summer when we discovered our favorite Balboa Island children’s thrill ride was no longer operating.
Griffith Park is a Los Angeles treasure. The second-largest city park in California and the tenth largest municipally owned in the United States, it encompasses 4,310 acres of truly beautiful hiking trails and unexpected open land. I previously shared about THE Park when we spent the day at Fern Dell and the Griffith Observatory.
Once again, I can at least drop in a mention of my favorite “rancho talk,” since the park is named after Griffith J. Griffith, a wealthy mining investor who purchased Rancho Los Feliz in 1882, later donating 3,015 acres to the city of Los Angeles.
Griffith has an interesting history, and the park is full of beautiful scenery, museums, picnic areas, wildlife and horseback riding…but for this chapter, I want to treat you to the sight and sounds of a classic wood carousel.
The Carousel was built in 1926 by the Spillman Engineering Company, and after first spending some time in San Diego it was brought to Griffith Park in 1937.
The Griffith Carousel has four rows with 68 jumping horses, carved and jeweled with realistic tails.
It is believed that Walt Disney, who frequently brought his children to Griffith Park, modeled the Disneyland Carousel after this beautiful original.
The ceiling panels are also distinctive. Most carousel ceilings are open, revealing the mechanics, but this one boasts an ornately painted interior.
Two little girls loved the horses and the experience of a carousel that circles at a very fast clip!
But for me, the best feature of the carousel is a Stinson 165 Military Band Organ, giving the entire experience a very old-fashioned sound experience.
This organ is reputed to be the largest carousel band organ on the west coast. Playing more than 1500 tunes, many of them patriotic, I heard some personal favorites. I also wondered how many of the young parents knew they were whirling to Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean and the Beer Barrel Polka.
Of course, all of this is very interesting to me, but the best part of the day was watching two little girls having a very good time!
Isn’t it fun when childhood memories are enhanced with such a simple pleasure? And the extra good news? The Carousel ride is a bargain at $2.00. At that rate one can afford to get really dizzy!
Click HERE to enjoy the wonderfully nostalgic sounds of the Stinson Organ. See if it doesn’t take you back to your own childhood!
I’ll be sharing other Griffith Park experiences quite frequently, I’m sure. 4,310 acres may take me a little while, but I’ll get there!