Carousel of Happiness, Nederland

4.9
#1 of 8 in Things to do in Nederland
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, (pictured at the right) 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 Memorial Day, 2010, with the first ride a silent memorial to veterans. A little over a year later, the Carousel awarded its 100,000th rider a special card, giving her free rides for life. The winner was a 5-year-old girl who was living in Boulder while her father was deployed in Iraq. 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 volunteers and donations to keep rides $1 so that everyone can experience that feeling of joy.
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Carousel of Happiness Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5.0
226 reviews
Google
4.9
TripAdvisor
  • If you want to feel the awe of being 5 again this is a must visit. You can feel the history and stories of happy children just watching. A ride on something that no longer exists with today‚Äôs technolo...  more »
  • When we arrived in Boulder we journey'ed to Nederland where we talked to the locals and trie to figure out what we were going to do. Every single person we talked to said that we had to at least stop ...  more »
  • I decided to check out the carousel and was very happy I did. The ride only cost $1 and brought back childhood memories. The man running the ride was quite entertaining. There is a small gift shop and...  more »
Google
  • What an awesome gift this place is. We take the grand kids up to visit regularly. I always love to ride myself... you are never to old! Don't Delay Happiness!
  • Sweet carousel with an interesting story (animals were hand-carved by one man over 26 years!) We drove up to Ned just to get out of the house the day after our 3yo had a fever/flu-like symptoms. Felt kinda dumb when we realized that spinning in a tight circle with a recently nauseous child wasn't the best idea. We gave up the rest of the tickets we bought (just $1 ea) and spent the remainder of our visit just watching others ride from outside and then upstairs (inside) from the viewing window. That turned out to be pretty fun! There's a little gift shop, restrooms, baby changing station, and even a "passport" for kids to track their rides on each animal. All in all a fun outing!
  • The spirit of this place is what makes it special. The animals are hand carved, the message is heart-warming. And the gift shop has lots of lovely carousel-related things. Even if you don't have kids, you should come here and support this place.
  • This place is a truly unique experience. So much effort put into the design. It was a really cool place to visit even for a 30 year old. My 2 year old goddaughter rode it probably 20 times.
  • Cute attraction and you really can't beat a wholesome, fun experience for $1 per ride. Story behind the carousel is great. Loved all the hand carved pieces.
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