The Carousel of Happiness is a unique Colorado gem! We took a drive up Boulder Canyon to the scenic mountain town of Nederland, CO. The town offers a plethora of local dining options, including coffee, pizza, Thai and Mexican, and a few local breweries. There are also loads of trails nearby for biking, hiking, horseback, 4x4, as the Town is located close to several trailheads with Continental Divide Access.
Driving through the town, you'll see a lovely rabbit and a 12-sided circular building with a large "OPEN" sign, leading you to the Carousel of Happiness. As a blend of old and new creations, the carousel is a truly magical place. The carousel machinery is over 100 years old, from an old Looff carousel, while all the carved animals (a menagerie, meaning many different kinds of animals) are the artwork of a Nederland local, who is still carving today. There's a frog, a dog, a zebra and a gorilla, and over 50 other animals in the carousel house. Each one has a personality and something special about it. Some visitors seemed to have a "favorite" animal to ride, whereas others wanted to ride each animal at least once! At just $3 per ride, this is a great place to take the family for the day.
Beyond the carousel and ride itself, they also offer a DIY puppet theater. The kids played for at least an hour putting on a show for us with all the puppets! The "stage" is made from the front of an old band organ. We really appreciated all the historical information and objects as it helped to tell the story of this carousel.
Not only were my young kids pleasantly surprised by the ride, but even I, myself, found I couldn't stop smiling at all the wondrous things to look at. The music that plays is from an antique band organ that is also over 100 years old - a truly amazing piece of technology. The other riders were of all ages, including a local older couple that said they come in to ride all the time. Actually, I think we saw more adults there than kids! A ride on the Carousel of Happiness was a great way to end our day in the mountains.
They say Disney is the happiest place on earth. Well, perhaps it is, but I can confidently say that the Carousel of Happiness is a close second!