I am from Missoula, and still visit the Carousel on occasion. It is a must see for anyone with kids, or just to admire what a community can do when they work together. All of the horses and hundreds of individual carvings are hand made, by community volunteers. Can you believe that this carousel started as the dream of one man, Chuc,k Kaparich of Missoula, who decided that Missoula needed a carousel. He carved several horses, then showed up at a city council meeting and pitched his dream to the council Missoula fell for it in a big way. Numerous experienced woodcarvers and volunteers eager to learn showed up to work on carving the horses, the dragon, flowers, gargoyles and all the other embellishments. The carousel also has a magnificient calliope, with fantastical bells, drums and other moving parts that provide the music. There is a dragon whose mouth dispenses rings that you can grab as you ride the carousel. The last ring is the brass ring; if you are lucky enough to get it, you earn a free ride.
In addition to the horses that go up and down, there are a couple that are stationery, and two chariots you can sit in and hold little ones, or can accomodate the elderly or a wheelchair.
There is a small, but very nice, gift shop, and also a place to hold birthday parties. There is no fee to go in and admire the carousel, and the tokens to ride are just 75 cents. (I think adults pay 2 tokens). Eager and friendly young people (high school and college students) work as carousel attendants. One of them (Kaitlin) absolutely made my daughter's birthday extra special by making sure she got to ride on her favorite pony.
There is a really neat playground adjacent to the carousel, and a paved walking path right behind it that goes along the river.
THIS IS AN ATTRACTION NOT TO MISS DURING YOUR VISIT TO MISSOULA!!
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