The historic Golden Gate Park Carousel is located next to the Koret Children’s Quarter playground at 320 Bowling Green Drive, between Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and John F. Kennedy Drive. When the playground was first opened in 1888, it was called the Sharon Quarters for Children and the original carousel was powered by a steam engine until PG&E loaned the park an electric motor. It was the first public park playground in the United States. At that time in America’s history, it was unusual to designate any public park area for children and the Sharon Building was designed for children to be able to play indoors during inclement weather. Currently the Sharon Building contains the Sharon Art Studio where children and adults can attend art classes. The historic concrete slide is still there and popular new attractions also include a structure for rope climbing and a climbing wall that’s shaped like waves.
Since 1888, three different carousels have been installed near the Koret Children’s Quarter but the one you see there now was built in 1914 by the Herschell-Spillman Company. Before it was moved to Golden Gate Park in 1940, it was moved from amusement parks in Portland and Los Angeles. It was also used at the World’s Fair on Treasure Island in 1939. The carousel was closed between 1977 and 1984 when the motor failed. After renovations and restorations, it reopened in 1984 with 62 newly painted, colorful carousel animals including horses, a dragon, a camel, dogs, roosters and other animals. Painted panels with bay area landscapes can be seen on the inside walls of the carousel and a German band organ provides the music for the carousel’s operation.
The carousel is open every day during the summer from Memorial Day through Labor Day. It’s also open on Fridays and weekends during the rest of the year from 10 AM through 4:15 PM. The Koret Children’s Quarter is a popular place for parties, weddings and other events. Parking is available near the lawn bowling building east of Bowling Green Drive because there is no parking at the carousel or the Sharon Building.
The cost for riding the carousel is $1 for children who are between 6-12 years old, $2 for adults, and children who are 5 years old or under ride for free if they’re accompanied by a paying adult. All children who are less than 40 inches tall must be accompanied by a paying adult rider.
Peter Cross is an accomplished article writer and creative writer who has produced hundreds of articles for many different clients since 2006 when he retired from his consulting business.