ROYAL OAK (WWJ) – Detroit Zoo visitors can ride around on a reptile, twirl on a Triceratops or take a spin on a sea otter on the new carousel, which made its debut Wednesday.
Thirty-three hand-carved and hand-painted figures and a chariot adorn the 36-foot wood and brass carousel, located adjacent to the Arctic Café. The ride was custom-designed and manufactured for the zoo by The Carousel Works in Mansfield, Ohio.
The carousel includes traditional carousel horses as well as exotic mammals (anteater, bat, camel, rabbit, sea lion, sea otter), birds (bald eagle, cassowary, falcon, flamingo, parrot, penguin, puffin), reptiles (alligator, sea turtle, tortoise, turtle), snakes, amphibians (poison dart frogs), insects (grasshopper, ladybug, praying mantis), fish, seahorses, dinosaurs (Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus rex) and an ADA-compliant peacock chariot.
Kids from the Kinsbury Country Day school in Oxford had the honor of being the first-ever riders.
Riders go around and around and up and down on the pavilion-covered carousel to the sights and sounds of Calliope music and more than 300 LED lights. The ride features many artistic flourishes, including a rounding board and mirrored “center surround” with hand-painted murals highlighting wildlife from around the world.
Raw video by WWJ’s Ron Dewey:
The carousel will be open daily April through October, weather permitting. The two-minute ride costs $2 per person with zoo admission. Children under the age of 3 or 42 inches tall ride free when accompanied by a paying adult.
The $1-million carousel was funded by donations and corporate support.
Situated on 125 acres of naturalistic exhibits, the Detroit Zoo is located at the intersection of 10 Mile Rd. and Woodward, just off I-696, in Royal Oak. Admission is $12 for adults 15 to 61, $10 for senior citizens 62 and older, and $8 for children 2 to 14 (children under 2 are free). For more information, call 248-541-5717 or visit www.detroitzoo.org.