Carousels in Massachusetts and Rhode Island

Carousels, with their carved figures, cheery organs, circus lights and polished poles, invite lingering in our hurry-up world. Most of the classic carousels from the 20th century are gone, but there are still places within a short drive of Boston where families can enjoy an afternoon of leisurely revolutions.


Nantasket Nostalgia


The Paragon Carousel has been a fixture on Hull’s Nantasket Beach since 1928. When Paragon Park was sold for development, a group of citizens formed Friends of the Paragon Carousel to rescue the park’s famous landmark. The carousel hosts such events as free Friday morning storytimes and evening concerts during the summer. Bring beach gear and make a day of it. 205 Nantasket Ave., Hull; 781-925-0472;


A Whirl at the Willows


The hand-carved wooden carousel that opened at the Salem Willows in 1866 was originally powered by a mule. Today, a motor does the work, but there’s still an old-fashioned feel to this perennial favorite, located across the street from the city’s picturesque waterfront park. There are flying horses, camels, dogs and bunnies, too. After your ride, check out the nearby arcade – where musical monkeys perform for a dime. 167 Fort Ave., Salem; 978-745-0251;


Bayside Beauty


The 1920 carousel at Fall River’s Battleship Cove sits high above Mount Hope Bay with panoramic views of the water and the world’s largest naval ship museum. A Victorian-style pavilion houses the merry-go-round, which boasts 48 hand-carved horses and two chariots. The Carousel Café offers treats like popcorn and clam cakes. 5 Water St., Fall River; 800-533-3194;


Ocean State Trifecta


Rhode Island has a handful of carousels, including three within an easy drive from Greater Boston. Two, at Pawtucket’s Slater Memorial Park and Crescent Park in East Providence, are originals designed by renowned carousel creator Charles Looff. And don’t miss the carousel at Roger Williams Park in Providence. With 60 creatures – from a lion to a hopping rabbit to mythical sea dragons – you might have a hard time choosing which to ride.  Crescent Park Carousel, 700 Bullocks Point Ave., E. Providence, R.I.; 401-435-7518. Looff Carousel at Slater Memorial Park, 401 Newport Ave., Pawtucket, R.I.; 401-728-0500, ext. 252. Carousel Village at Roger Williams Park Zoo, 1000 Elmwood Ave., Providence, R.I; 401-785-9450, ext. 261.


Goin’ on the Greenway


Take a spin around the Greenway Carousel, a 36-seat carousel that’s a convenient “treat” for those visiting Boston’s wharf district or the North End. The carousel characters include butterflies, seen going flower to flower on the Greenway; a brightly colored barn owl, harbor seal and whale; a sea turtle, like New England Aquarium’s favorite Myrtle the Turtle; a cod, which is the state fish of Massachusetts; and a sea serpent. Rose Kennedy Greenway, Boston; 617-292-0020;


Lori Hein is a freelance writer in North Easton.

Be the first to review this item!

Bookmark this

24 Jul 2015

By Lori Hein