National Carousel Day celebrated in Balboa Park

Grab a brass ring and enjoy the oldest ride in town.

Hundreds of people joined City leaders and the Friends of Balboa Park organization to celebrate National Carousel Day on Tuesday, July 25 in Balboa Park. This year’s celebration came with some added significance. The Friends of Balboa Park recently took ownership of the historic carousel and launched a capital campaign to raise funds for its ongoing preservation.

“It’s through collaboration with the City and our partnership organizations that we’re able to acknowledge [the carousel] is going to be here for generations to come,” said Councilmember Chris Ward.

The carousel was built in 1910 and most of the hand-carved animals are original. It became a fixture in Balboa Park in 1922 and is one of the only carousels in the world to still offer the classic brass ring game. Passengers who can grab a ring and toss it at the target win a free ride.

“This is kind of a nostalgic moment for many of us,” said County Supervisor Ron Roberts. “I’ve lived in San Diego since I was a very little boy. We would wait and hope we could get on one of the outside animals to ride, so you could grab the golden ring.”

With support from the Park & Recreation Department and funding from generous donors, the Friends of Balboa Park aim to preserve the carousel for the future. Learn more: