Carousel of Happiness, Nederland

4.9
#1 of 6 in Things to do in Nederland
The story of the Carousel of Happiness is the story of a young Marine, a derelict carousel, and the small mountain town of Nederland, CO. It starts in 1910 when a Looff carousel was installed at Saltair Park, outside Salt Lake City, Utah. During its 49 years at Saltair, the carousel survived fires and wind storms. It was moved to the Utah State School where it was enjoyed by people with disabilities until 1986, when it was sold and stripped of its wooden horses.

Meanwhile, a young Marine in Vietnam, Scott Harrison, (pictured at the right) received a tiny music box that he held to his ear to balance the horror of war. He began to dream of building a carousel in a mountain meadow. Decades later, when Scott heard of the empty, abandoned Utah carousel, he rescued it. He would spend 26 years carving animals to bring it back to life. As he finished the last of 35 animals, the community of Nederland pulled together and raised money to build it a home.

The Carousel opened Memorial Day, 2010, with the first ride a silent memorial to veterans. A little over a year later, the Carousel awarded its 100,000th rider a special card, giving her free rides for life. The winner was a 5-year-old girl who was living in Boulder while her father was deployed in Iraq. The Carousel has become a destination for families, senior groups, organizations serving people with disabilities, parties and weddings. A local dating Website called it a perfect place for a first date.

As a non-profit organization, the Carousel relies on volunteers and donations to keep rides $1 so that everyone can experience that feeling of joy.
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Carousel of Happiness Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5.0
210 reviews
Google
4.9
TripAdvisor
  • Ride the magical hand carved merry-go-round whether you are 6 or 60! Fun for all ages! The carousel has such an amazing history that is explained inside. The gift shop is affordably priced I think. Ou...  more »
  • I love going to The Carousel of Happiness when in "Ned.". It is fun for people of all ages. The history and story about how it came together, is amazing!  more »
  • If you go through Nederland and don't take a spin on the Carousel of Happiness, you are missing out!  more »
Google
  • Wonderful fun experience. A hidden treasure for a delightful road trip exploring towns. We found this gem of a place. This place is a non profit. Our family rode this 2 times. So many cool things to look at that seem to be new each time you look around. Did you find the fairies? The fox? The egg? The coolest thing was the music and seeing the gears move. We loved this place! Perfect for a day trip!
  • This place was pretty cool. The carousel played the Ghostbusters theme song can you say awesome!!! The operator spent a lot of time with us explaining the history and the really cool power monitoring system. The tickets were cheep and the had a gift shop filled with Melissa & Doug items for the kids. Can't wait to come back.
  • A really delightful experience with amazing hand-carved animals and great calliope music. Well worth multiple rides. Staff are friendly and helpful. The carousel is a big hit with my kids and we have been back several times within a few months of being in the area.
  • A unique must see place in Nederland. Carousel is fun for literally all ages. Can't help but smile each time i ride it!
  • This place will always make me smile. It brings out the kid in me. I love taking my kid here. He loves it too. Always has to ride at least 15 times.

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