Carousel of Happiness, Nederland

#1 of 8 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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  • They were amazing with our 5 yr old grandson! Best $2.00 you can spend. They interviewed our grandson and he had a ball. Go!  more »
  • No two are alike... all hand sculptured… stunning attention to detail. Even a puppet stage upstairs. This is a gorgeous thing of beauty. I will say... since 5 stars would mean perfect. The lady sellin...  more »
  • Awesome classic carousel! Every animal is hand carved and painted. Great fun for the kiddos. You can see the inner workings and gears which is really fascinating. The operator was nice and made it a great experience. They do birthday parties with unlimited rides. Definitely worth a trip- even without the kids.
  • A not-to-be missed Visit to a working piece of Performance Art. As a local, we visit frequently, and enjoy ourselves every time. Adults - RIDE THE CAROUSEL!! Why let the kids have all the fun? The rainbow Zebra is my fave - which unique animal will you pick?? Inexpensive, delightful, whimsical, and massively entertaining. Make it part of a day trip to Nederland.

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