Located in a beautiful downtown area, looking out over the Riverfront Park to the waterway, and the next-door playground make the carousel is a perfect destination for some family fun, and a great place to take colorful and fun photos!
While we are here in Salem, the youngers and mom visited the carousel for an afternoon; we had a blast! The carousel is beautiful and well maintained, and had just decorated for the holiday season, a special Christmas mount was even put on to enjoy…
Before we hit the rides, the kids scouted out the building. It’s all things carousel around there – this was the entrance to one of the restrooms! There is a nice upscale gift shop, and TWO different penny squishing machines; 8 different embosses to choose from! Caleb and Molly chose theirs from this machine: Caleb made Nugget, while Molly chose Heather…
The kids checked out the mounts, and scoped out which ones they were going to ride.
The Salem Riverfront Carousel is pretty inexpensive as carousels go – individual rides are $1.50, an 18 ride punch card is $20, and on Friday nights, from 5 to 7, rides are a dollar, and you get 20% off of gift store purchases.
Salem is located at the end of the Oregon Trail, in the Willamette Valley. The carousel celebrates the farming heritage of the community; many of the carved scenes on the carousel, and the decorations on the horses, illustrate this rich history.
Besides a carousel of nearly exclusive horse mounts, there are two wagons that the kids can ride! While they don’t move other than around on the carousel, they were Caleb’s favorite rides! He rode a carousel horse first, and then just wanted in the wagons!
The girls had a hard time deciding which horses to ride! There were so many colorful, beautiful ones to choose from!
We really liked this carousel because the rides seemed to last extra long, and there were so many different, gorgeous horses that the kids wanted to ride! Each carving has a name; you can find a name plaque in front of each horse, mounted on the cross beams of the canopy. This guy was one of the kids’ favorites – his name is The General. The carousel is open 7 days a week; we went on a Friday afternoon, and it was not busy – my 5 usually made up a good half of the riders!
We thought it was pretty neat that the Salem carousel, which opened in 2001, was inspired by the old-world carousel that is in Missoula, MT (we’re from nearby Helena). The Salem carousel’s horses are each hand created by local woodcarvers and artesians, and many of the mounts have a local theme to their design and artwork.
The carousel has a brass ring game where the taller riders on the outside mounts can reach up to a carved sculpture mounted on a stand above the carousel fence, and pull a ring from it’s mouth as the carousel spins by. If the ring they pull happens to be a brass one, then that rider gets a free ride. The brass ring sculpture is not horse like is found on the carousel, but a handcarved salmon (how appropriate!). Unfortunately the brass ring game was not being run while we were there (there is a height restriction, and Joel and Emma would have been the only ones tall enough to participate), we know the brass ring game is a lot of fun! The kids get SO excited they win a free ride!
Molly was tall enough to ride the carousel without any help, and boy was she taking advantage of that – she wanted NO help with climbing up and getting on, or putting on her harness. lol. Gotta love the independence!
The carousel had 2 different wagons to represent the Oregon Trail history of the area – Caleb loved riding them both! I loved the detail of them both!
The little lady riding side-saddle (not when the carousel was running tho 😉 )…
Molly loved to walk around and around and find just the right horse to ride! She liked this one because it had a cat draped over the rump behind the saddle! The detail of these woodcarvings is incredible!
So, the middles and littles give Salem’s Riverfront Carousel top marks for being fun, festive, and a fabulous family-oriented stop in western Oregon!
….Pretty sure they made some great memories during our afternoon of horsing around.