Historic Balboa Park Carousel closed for restoration

Forever Balboa Park says the iconic attraction should be spinning again by this spring. 🎠

The Balboa Park Carousel in San Diego is temporarily closed for restoration.

Construction signs surrounded the carousel on Dec. 31, 2022.

Photo via Monica Garske + SDtoday

The historic Balboa Park Carousel turned 100 last summer — and now it’s time for a little self-care.

The landmark’s iconic attraction — normally spinning ‘round and ‘round at 1889 Zoo Pl. — is temporarily closed as Forever Balboa Park works to give it much-needed structural upgrades.

Here’s what’s planned — and when it’ll ride again.

The 100-year-old historic carousel in Balboa Park

When it is open, the colorful menagerie and historical photos are truly something to marvel at.

Photo via Monica Garske + SDtoday

A Forever Balboa Park rep tells SDtoday that caring for a century-old carousel is an ongoing process “with a lot of moving parts.” The nonprofit bought the ride in June 2017 and maintains it.

The current, 5-month restoration process includes removing the triangle eaves that weren’t part of the original building, installing safety improvements like a new fire suppression system, and giving the hand-carved menagerie a fresh, more historically accurate paint job.

As part of the continuing overall restoration of the attraction, Forever Balboa Park says other improvements have included replacing all of the carousel’s lights with new LED bulbs.

So, why another facelift now? Well, it’s all about the kids. The carousel normally operates based on the San Diego Unified School District’s academic calendar — open for special hours during the summer, and on weekends and school holidays the rest of the year. Fall through spring is considered the attraction’s “off-season,” so there’s no time like the present.

SDtoday editor Monica Garske and her daughter riding the Balboa Park Carousel.

Editor Monica and her littlest daughter riding the carousel in fall of 2022.

Photo via Monica Garske

Forever Balboa Park plans to reopen the carousel this spring, though an exact date has not yet been determined. When it reopens, hours and prices — $3 per ride, or $10 for four rideswill be the same.

🎟️ Already missing the carousel? Until those sweet, 5-minute rides return on the 52 animals, take a spin around the history of the attractionno ticket required.

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