Memories Ignited on San Francisco Carousel

IMG_8971While in San Francisco Katie and I stopped by Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39. After our lunch and visit to the Musee Mechanique at the Fisherman’s Wharf we walked down a few piers to Pier 39. As we got closer we could hear classic music coming from the center of all the shops. We turned a corner and there it was, the San Francisco Carousel. It’s not everyday you see a two tier carousel, so we decided to give it a try.

The San Francisco Carousel is absolutely beautiful consisting of 1,800 twinkling LED lights that are on both during the day and in the evenings. It was hand-crafted in Italy and arrived at the pier only several years ago in December of 2008. With it’s delightful hand painted pictures of all different attractions around the city including Alcatraz, Coit Tower, Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street, and sea lions at Pier 39 and it’s 32 different animals to ride, it draws a big crowd. Children are constantly standing in line at the front entrance eager to ride an array of horses, dragons, sea lions, dolphins, and even mythological hybrid horses with mermaid tails and those more adventurous will enjoy the spinning tubs.

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Katie and I made our way to the ticket booth to purchase a $5 ticket for each of us. Suddenly, a kid walked up and asked us if we were going to ride the carousel. Of course, I exclaimed. He handed me two tickets and ran away before I could even get out a thank you. It was super nice of him and I couldn’t have been happier. What a nice surprise.

We quickly made our way through the line and were let in as the last two to ride. We made our way around and around, but we couldn’t find any open animals. We came back to the front and the ride operator had us wait for the next one. She stated that maybe she miscounted. A couple of the animals were broken so she was probably right.

The ride stopped and everyone exited, then she opened the door and we were the first to get on. We ran up the curved stairs and picked our animals. I rode a dolphin and Katie rode a sea lion. We enthusiastically and impatiently waited for the carousel to start. On the top level we got a closer look at the paintings and a higher vantage point to view the rest of the pier from.

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The ride started and we went around and around and up and down faster and faster until the carousel reached its full velocity. It was so much fun, just like being a kid again, smiling and laughing the whole way. It reminded me of when I used operate a Merry-Go-Round at an amusement park and how children would try to jump from horse to horse without the me seeing. None of that was happening on this Carousel, mainly because it was too packed.

We tried to take a few moving pictures as the carousel eventually came to a slow stop. We got off our animals, walked back down the stairs, and exited the ride area. We decided that once was enough for us, but I could see that some of the children wanted a second or third go at it. This carousel is definitely fun for all ages. Whether it’s your first time or hundredth time on a carousel, riding with a friend will be sure to give you new memories and bring back childhood memories for you to share.

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