Balboa Park Carousel Reopened on National Carousel Day

| August 7, 2023 | 0 Comments

Families and carousel aficionados were invited to celebrate National Carousel Day at the Dorothea Laub Balboa Park Carousel on Tuesday, July 25. National Carousel Day is a free community event presented by Forever Balboa Park, and offered free carousel rides all day, family friendly activities, and entertainment.

Entertainment and activities included a family-friendly DJ, circus performers by J7 Productions, face painting, photo booth, craft activity with Spanish Village Art Center, and activities with the San Diego Natural History Museum. Food will be available for purchase from local vendors, including Golden State Dogs and Ice Cream, and Toro Churros and Doughnuts.

The Balboa Park Carousel welcomed riders back to the historic attraction after a months-long restoration project. On National Carousel Day, visitors noticed a new tile roof and a fresh coat of paint in the building’s interior. Less noticeable were the important structural reinforcements and other infrastructure upgrades completed since last fall that will ensure the Carousel operates for generations to come. According to organizers, they had more than 2100 riders on National Carousel Day. They expect that a total of 3000 people attended the event for the other activities and entertainment. 

According to Elizabeth C. Babcock, PhD, president and CEO of Forever Balboa Park, “National Carousel Day 2023 was a huge success! It’s a pleasure every year to see the joy the Dorothea Laub Balboa Park Carousel brings to the community. Now that the Carousel has reopened for the summer season, we look forward to welcoming back even more visitors for a spin on their favorite animal.”

Built in 1910, the Carousel runs on its original General Electric motor, and the hand-painted animal menagerie and paintings, military band organ, and brass ring game are original as well. The Carousel was brought to Balboa Park in 1922 and is one of just a few in the United States that still operates as it did more than a century ago. Forever Balboa Park has owned, operated, and maintained the Carousel since 2017. The Balboa Park Carousel earned a Historical Resources Designation by the City of San Diego’s Historical Resources Board in 2021. On National Carousel Day 2022, it was officially renamed the Dorothea Laub Balboa Park Carousel in recognition of Laub’s significant support of this beloved community treasure.

National Carousel Day 2023 was made possible by Forever Balboa Park, Heritage Architecture & Planning, Mark Sauer Construction, Inc., and many individual supporters.  To learn more, visit

Category: Architecture, Art, Events, Historical, Local News, Nonprofit

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