Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum, North Tonawanda

(110+ reviews on the web)
Specialty Museum Museum
Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum is a historic carousel factory building located at North Tonawanda in Niagara County, New York. The factory complex was constructed between about 1910 and 1915 and consists of six primary structures and five contributory additions. The primary structures are: the Mill Building (ca. 1910), Carving and Pattern shop (ca. 1910), Paint Shop and Storage Building (ca. 1915), Roundhouse (ca. 1915), Machine Shop (1915), and Assembly and Testing Building (1915). Also on the property is the Number One Special Three Abreast portable carousel, built in 1916.At one time five carousel builders operated in North Tonawanda. The Allan Herschell Company, and its predecessor the Herschell-Spillman Company, was the most notable of them and operated from 1883 to 1955. The company produced wood carousels into the 1930s.It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985 as the Allan Herschell Carousel Factory. Nearby is located the Herschell–Spillman Motor Company Complex, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2013.MuseumThe Herschell Carousel Factory Museum is located at the original factory site on Thompson Street. It was first open to the general public in 1983, with a full operational carousel from 1916. The first floor of the factory has been opened up to provide exhibits and demonstrations. Two operating carousels give visitors first hand experience of the magical ride and authentic band organ music. The Children's Gallery presents interactive learning activities. Different programs are offered, such as woodcarving of various skill levels, guided tours, and a summer lecture series. Events for a family audience are presented throughout the year. New in 2014 is the outdoor Kiddieland Testing Park exhibit where children can "test" restored company rides from the 1950s.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • You can see how they made carousel horses back in the day. And get a ride. Fun stop for kids and history buffs.  more »
  • Wednesday is so inexpensive for the rides or the little ones-crafts fun things to see & do - just a great place for families with young children  more »
  • Great museum. Learned a lot about the history of the carrousel and the connection with North Tonawanda. Saw master carvers hand-carving carrousel horses -- incredible! Enjoyed the exhibit about the Wu...  more »
Google
  • What a cool place for a 4 year old birthday party!! The room has so much for the kids to do on top of riding a carrousel without mom and dad makes them feel so special. Then off to the big carrousel and the small rides outside what more could a young child as for in a birthday party! The staff was so wonderful and the fact that they decorate and include gift bags is such a nice treat compared to other places. We didn't get a chance to really look around the museum but we will definitely be back to visit this summer.
  • Wonderful little place to visit with the family (particularly those with small children) and those who are history buffs. It's also VERY reasonably priced. You really can't go wrong. They also have events throughout the year which add to the return trip value.
  • Very affordable way to kill a few hours with small kids. The museum is bare bones and will only take a few minutes to get through but there's a lot of other things to do and experience. Whether it's the rides outdoors, the children's room with games, activities, as a small carousel, or the 100+ year old carousel, there is a lot offered for a $7 adult admission 3/kid. Only draw back is that the staff is all volunteer and tends to answer any and all questions that come their way before starting a ride. My 3 year old was very antsy waiting for the operator to start the ride and she held everything up about 5 minutes answering one person's questions. I didn't mind, and found it interesting (the carousel of today travel 1/2 as fast as they did originally, which is why they were once considered "thrill rides") but the 3 year old couldn't have cared less and since there was nobody else I the building it could have been answered after the ride. A very small issue, I know. Gift shop leaves something to be desired as well.
  • Wonderful staff. Great enviroment, lots to do
  • Not a collection of the best horses, but very interesting displays about the manufacture of carousels, tools, and the Hershel company. We went off season, on 2nd Thursday of the month evening special opening. There was a man to explain it all, as well as cellphone guide. And we got to ride a carousel with jumping horses!!