Jan. 29, 2019

92. Ride the Historic Wooden Carousel

"Carousel horses are not just made of wood, they are painted with memories"...Bette Largent.

I remember the first time I ever saw a carousel. It was the state fair and I couldn't wait to ride one of those pretty horses. The beauty of the carved wood, carefully painted, felt magical. Speed forward more years than I care to admit, and we still have carousels bringing joy to children. Even as an adult, I never pass up a chance to jump on those horses going around in circles....and I love that the joy I feel riding carousels is echoed in my grandchildren's faces.

I couldn't wait to do this item on my BucketList. Getting out of my truck and walking towards the carousel I felt my 6 year old self taking over. After paying for my ride, I walked around looking for the horse that "talked" to me. Climbing aboard I let the music lull me back to my childhood. I could almost see my Dad standing to the side waving at me. It was magical and I wished I could ride again and again.

History: Any carousel connisseur knows the best ones are made of wood. However, out of the over 3000 wood carousels that used to exist in the US, there are only 172 left. In Idaho, there is only 1. The Idaho Centennial Carousel is Idaho's only antique wooden carousel. It even has authentic carousel music from an organ run on paper rolls. Unbelieveably cool!

The Carousel was built by Spillman Engineering Company of New York about 1926. It was originally a traveling carnival machine. In 1947 it was moved to Utah and in 1952 a group in Rexburg raised $5000 to go to Ogden and buy it in time for the Rexburg 4th of July celebration. Then in 1976 the Teton Dam flood waters caused severe damage and several horses were lost. Skilled craftsmen restored it in 1988 then renovated in 1990 in time to commemorate Idaho's 100th birthday.

Location: The Idaho Centnnial Carousel is located in Porter Park in Rexburg, Idaho. From Boise take I-84 E approximately 247 miles (It will merge with I-86). Use the left lane to take Exit 63B to merge onto I-15 N toward Blackfoot/Idaho Falls and follow it for 47 miles. Take Exit 119 for US-20 toward Rigby and turn right onto US-20 E. Follow for 26 miles then take Exit 333 for ID-33 E toward Rexburg. Turn right onto ID-33 E then right onto S 3rd W. The park is on the left.

The address is S 3rd W / Rexburg. 208-372-2560 is a reservation phone number for large groups.

Hours: Open from Memorial Day to Labor Day / Monday thru Saturday / 12 to 7 pm

Cost: $1.25 per ride. Groups can reserve the entire carousel for $60 per hour non-exclusive and $120 exclusive.

Special Notes: The park is large and spacious. There are picnic areas all around, both covered and uncovered. There is also a water park area with play areas for very young children as well as older kids. Its a beautiful park.

The Carousel does have a cover. It shields out the sun and a lot of heat during the summer. The park is pet friendly, but not around the carousel. Its a great way to spend the day if you are in the Rexburg area. I took my best friend, who ended up enjoying it as much as I did. I loved stepping back into my childhood and reliving one of my favorite memories!