Location: Balboa Park (3 Miles Northeast of Downtown San Diego)
Open Daily: 11AM – 5:30PM during Summer; Otherwise 11AM – 4:30PM on Weekends & Holidays
Features: Built in 1910; Award Winning Historic Carousel with Original Equipment; Still offers Brass Ring Game
Balboa Park Historic Merry-Go-Round Highlights: Colorful, hand-carved animals take children and their parents on a ride to remember. This antique carousel built by Herschell-Spillman in 1910 still has nearly all of its original animals (only 2 have been replaced). It received the National Carousel Association’s first Historical Carousel Award. It is also one of only two carousels west of the Mississippi River to still offer the Brass Ring game, which allows riders to win free rides if they are lucky enough to grab the brass ring. This one-of-a-kind carousel brings back the nostalgia of yesteryear.
Food – The Village Grill is the closest food option. It is about 100 yards south of the Carousel and can be easily reached if you use the sidewalk adjacent to the nearby Miniature Railroad. You can read about more food options on the Balboa Park web site.
No Smoking is allowed in or around the Carousel.
Information on Visiting the Historic Balboa Park Carousel
Admission Prices: (Costs are Approximate)
- Parking is Free
- Rides cost $2
Directions from Google Maps to 1800 Zoo Place in San Diego, CA 92101. The Historic Carousel and the San Diego Zoo share the same main entrance from Park Boulevard. When you turn onto Zoo Place, the Balboa Park Carousel parking lot will be on your left (shared with the Balboa Park Miniature Railroad) and the Zoo’s parking lot will be on your right.
Traffic – Unless there is a major event at Balboa Park, which occurs a few times during the year, getting in and out of the Balboa Park is relatively easy using Park Boulevard. If you approach Balboa Park using southbound SR-163, traffic occasionally backs up a little over a mile before reaching the Park Boulevard Exit, which is the same exit for the I-5 northbound. However, the delay will only take a few extra minutes. Likewise, if you are planning to get on SR-163 northbound after leaving the Carousel, plan on a short delay during the mid and late afternoon hours as a few entrance ramps merge together before reaching the highway. (Learn how to get the latest traffic updates.)
Transit - Buses serving the San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park Carousel drop passengers off on Park Boulevard at Zoo Place. It is about a 50 yard walk to the Historic Carousel. (See San Diego Transit Information for the downtown transit map, which includes Balboa Park, and information for the online Transit Planner.)
Balboa Park Map – The map shows a listing of all Balboa Park Museums, attractions, bus and tram stops, and places to eat. You should also print out the Balboa Park Tram Map from the City of San Diego. It is not as detailed but is helpful because it includes names on each of the buildings. With the other map, you need to use a map key to find the name of a building.