Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round

Best Carousel, January 2005

A great carousel need not be overly polished. A little carny grit is good—the reassuring patina of age, of so many childhoods spent circling on the steeds while the pipe organ blares out its chorus of delight. Knott’s Berry Farm’s 1896 Dentzel menagerie, with its ostriches, boar, and zebra, is spectacular; its location under the shuddering tracks of the Silver Bullet coaster less so. Set on a hillside overlooking an expanse of green, the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round is near perfect. Moved to the site in 1937, it features 68 hand-carved, hand-painted, and hand-bejeweled jumpers, their tails of real horsehair flapping in the breeze. We love the two chariots emblazoned with Adam chasing a nude Eve and the haunting strains of that Stinson pipe organ washing over us, and the city itself.