Historic Carousel to Reopen in New Location

May 30, 2024

Historic CMZoo carousel moves locations

Saddle up, carousel fans! Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s historic 1926 Allan Herschel carousel will soon open in its new home between Grizzly Grill and Lodge at Moose Lake.

The Zoo’s carousel is a portable county-fair-style unit designed to be taken apart and moved. Despite weighing seven tons, the carousel can be broken down in eight hours using basic hand tools.

“It’s not like carousels you see at traveling fairs these days, which just fold up and go,” says Dave Ruhl, executive vice president at CMZoo. “It is designed to be taken apart, piece by piece, by hand. We are dedicated to maintaining this carousel, because it has been with our community for so long, so we’re very careful when we do it.”

Historic carousel at CMZoo outer building

This portable design allowed the carousel to travel between county fairs in the 1920s and different locations at CMZoo, since it arrived on the mountain in 1937. Many longtime members and guests will remember hiking up to the top of the Zoo to ride the carousel in its original location before it moved to its second spot, near Rocky Mountain goats.

Now settled in its third CMZoo location, it should be ready to spin riders around in the next few weeks. At the end of May, the carousel passed code and safety inspections, and it should be ready to ride in early June. (CMZoo will provide updates on the carousel’s official reopening by email and on its social media channels!)

Historic carousel at CMZoo horses upclose

Fans have been eagerly awaiting the carousel’s return since it was safely stored away in July 2023. The carousel moved to make way for a new road just west of the current main road into the Zoo. Once the historic road is gone, the Zoo can expand its giraffe habitat and make way for the International Center for the Care and Conservation of Giraffe building, and a new South America exhibit.

The team reassembled the carousel itself in three days, but designing and constructing a new building is no quick job. Building construction started in January 2024. Since then, the team has been pouring concrete, connecting electricity, securing permits, laying new sidewalks and more.

Historic Zoo carousel relocation

Dave and the design team wanted to maintain the aesthetic, so guests will see familiar metal roof shingles and the same historic railings on the building. The new location provides natural shade and a dedicated space for guests to line up, away from the road. New sidewalks surrounded by a new native plant display will give families more ‘staging’ areas, where they can take a moment to gather themselves between activities at the Zoo. While the new location came together, the carousel got some TLC.

“We work with a carousel horse expert in Larkspur who repaired cracks and touched up paint on the horses and carriages,” Dave says. “Most of the horses have been restored, and they look great. We also got the carousel organ refurbished, so it works again for the first time in around five years. We can’t wait for everyone to see it!”

Enter to Win!

To celebrate the carousel’s return, CMZoo is giving away frequent rider cards to 200 lucky active CMZoo members!
– Members just need to enter to win a card below, by 11:59 p.m. on Thurs., June 6, 2024.
– CMZoo’s membership team will notify winners by email on Thurs., June 13, 2024.
– Please be sure to enter with the information listed on your membership account, so that we can verify your membership status!
– Members must have an active Zoo membership to win.
– One entry per membership.

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