Saturday, April 8, 2017

Iwalked Washington D.C.’S Carousel On The Mall

Washington D.C.’S Carousel On The Mall Located just outside of the Arts and Industries Building is a carousel that has amused children since it was first moved here in 1967. The existing carousel actually pre-dates the placement of a carousel on this site by exactly twenty years (1947). This current carousel was built by the popular Allan Hershell Company, a company that specialized in construction of amusement park rides and carousels for years, and was originally located at the Gwynn Oak Amusement Park in Woodlawn, MD. It consists of four rows of wooden and metal figures that children may mount and ride for three joy-filled minutes. Amongst the selection of readable figures includes some fifty-seven horses, one dragon, two chariots and one spinning tub.

The idea of placement of a carousel on the Mall was first proposed by the eighth Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, S. Dillon Ripley (a position he served for twenty years during the period 1964-1984). Ripley’s idea was initially chastised because it was feared that by starting to put children’s rides on the grounds of the Mall, it would start a trend that may transpire into a full blown amusement park. Ripley calmed fears, however, and was successful in planting a carousel on the grounds in the spring of 1967.

Carousel On The Mall
Carousel On The Mall
The original carousel acquired by Ripley included thirty-three horses. Its a most charming feature, though, was the inclusion of an actual Wurlitzer pipe organ that played while children rode aboard it. This carousel was replaced by the current one in front of you in 1975.

The Smithsonian Carousel on the Mall is open for rides all year round. During the period of March 1 to September 6 it is open during the hours of 6:10am-5:30pm. From September 7 to February 28 an abridged schedule of 11am-5pm exists. As of early 2012 rides currently cost $3.50 for each child, and children under four must be accompanied by an adult.