Cincinnati Childhood and Carol Ann’s Carousel

Cincinnati childhood today means Carol Ann’s Carousel.

Carol Ann’s Carousel celebrates its second birthday this year, and my family has visited countless times in the last few years. It’s something we do anytime we go downtown.

This carousel is special; it’s not something you could just find anywhere. Built in Mansfield, OH, the carousel is comprised of 44 whimsical Cincinnati characters, like a flying pig (Porkopolis! And the eponymous marathon) and queen bee (for the Queen City).


Of course, a carousel isn’t a carousel without horses, and there are many equines frolicking around Carol Ann’s Carousel. All the horses depict unique Cincinnati landmarks, such as Fountain Square and Carew Tower, and institutions, like the Cincinnati Reds. Every time we go, we notice a new Cincinnati connection. Recently, it was this Cincinnati Observatory horse:

Carol Ann's 7

And the hand-drawn interior and exterior panels illustrate immediately recognizable landmarks, such as the Union Terminal building and Abraham Lincoln statue at Lytle Park:

abe lincoln carol anns

But that’s not all that makes Carol Ann’s Carousel special. Its glass enclosure means you can ride year-round, and also enjoy panoramic views of downtown skyline and Ohio river. (The view of the Roebling Suspension Bridge is especially breathtaking.) Carol Ann’s is a downtown landmark that epitomizes the warmth and character of out city. It’s inviting and friendly, just like Cincinnati.

Carol Ann's 3 small

A ride on this special attraction won’t break the bank, either: one, two-minute ride is $2; 6 rides are $10 and 13 rides are $20. (Be on the lookout for special all-you-can-ride deals: on March 16 from 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m., you can get unlimited rides for just $6!)

Carol Ann's 8

My kids (6, 4 and 2) are always going to remember childhood and Carol Ann’s Carousel. And though this Cincinnati gem was not part of my own childhood, I feel so lucky to experience the magic of Carol Ann’s Carousel with my kids every time we go downtown.

carol ann 2015 and 2017

Carol Ann’s Carousel (website) is located at 8 East Mehring Way, right along the riverfront by Smale Park. Hours vary by season; from January 2 to Reds Opening Day, it’s open Thursday-Sunday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. From Opening Day to Labor Day, the carousel runs Tuesday-Sunday from 11 a.m.-7 p.m., and from the day after Labor Day through December 31, it’s open Wednesday-Sunday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. To learn more, visit the Cincinnati Parks website.




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