carousel-frog2A ring of pretty ponies spinning around a circular track is one way of looking at carousels – but it’s definitely old school. How about circling around on a bald eagle, an okapi, a giant grasshopper or one of Dr. Seuss’s cowfish as the jolly pipe organ plays?

Carousels have moved beyond traditional carved horses and now include all kinds of exotic creatures. The brand-new carousel opening soon in Manhattan’s Battery Park puts the riders inside imaginative iridescent sea creatures that ride through a sound and light show. At the Bronx Zoo, children sit atop insects such as ladybugs, beetles and fireflies; the Philadelphia Zoo’s merry-go-round is all Amazon animals, such as a toucan, a jaguar and an iguana; and the Houston Aquarium, fittingly, has all aquatic animals such as seals and sea horses spinning around its platform. Here are some of my favorites:


1. Battery Park, New York – Iridescent glass fish – opening in 2015
2. Bronx Zoo, New York – All insect carousel
3. Totally Kid Carousel, Riverbank State Park, New York – Carousel animals designed by children
4. Philadelphia Zoo, Pennsylvania – Amazon rain forest animals
5. Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida – Dr. Seuss creatures carousel
6. Houston Aquarium, Texas – All aquatic animals
7. St Louis Zoo, Missouri – Classic zoo animals
8. San Diego Zoo, California – Rare and endangered animals