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Carousel of Happiness, Nederland

4.9
#1 of 8 in Things to do in Nederland
Must see · Ride / Activity · Fun & Games
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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, 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 on Memorial Day Weekend, 2010, with the first ride a silent memorial to veterans. Since then, 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 charitable donations along with the work of many volunteers so that everyone can experience that feeling of joy at a low, affordable price.
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Carousel of Happiness reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 5.0
255 reviews
Google
4.9
TripAdvisor
  • You would think that carousels are for kids, which they are. But this one has a magic about it that makes great for all ages. The animal (and some people) carvings are beautifully done, the ride is....  more
    You would think that carousels are for kids, which they are. But this one has a magic about it that makes great for all ages. The animal (and some people) carvings are beautifully done, the ride is....  more »
  • Such an amazing little place in a cute little mountain town. So glad we stopped here as it ended up being one of the highlights of our vacation. Take some time to look around when you are there and... 
    Such an amazing little place in a cute little mountain town. So glad we stopped here as it ended up being one of the highlights of our vacation. Take some time to look around when you are there and...  more »
Google
  • This has been one of my kids favorite places, especially because we got to go during Covid. This is a special place. So glad the upstairs has been reopened, and my kids want to play with the puppet show always. Such a great story, we love everything about the carousel of happiness.
  • So cute! What a neat story behind this place and beautiful carvings on the animals. Lots of hard work and dedication in there. The upper floor "viewing room" and party room left something to be desired, but it's for kids and they enjoyed the puppet show room :) Good price to get on the ride, worth it for the experience.

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