Did you know there are a total of 6 carousels in our fine state Rhode Island? My little family and I recently took on what I’ve affectionately dubbed the “Carousel Crawl.” In short, it is an endeavor to traverse the state and ride all 6 carousels in one day.
I have always found that taking a spin on a carousel instantly transports me back to a different era and simpler time. Taking a day to enjoy and appreciate all of the ones that call our state ‘home’ was a really fun experience to share with our kids.
My friend Katie originally came up with this idea, mapped it out, and did “Carousel Crawl” with her family, so I can’t take credit for this idea. She did a phenomenal job planning it, and I am so glad we decided to try it too.
This was the order we visited the carousels, mostly based on opening and closing times and what made the most sense for us based on our location:
Slater Park Looff Carousel, Newport Ave, Pawtucket, RI
Open daily from 11am-5pm early July through Labor Day. Operates weekends only during the remainder of the year.
Pricing: $0.50 per ride
The Slater Park Looff Carousel (located in Slater Park) is open daily after July 4th through Labor day from 11am-5pm. This seemed to be the fastest carousel we rode all day, so hold on! There is a small concession stand available with popcorn and drinks. Charles I.D. Looff, a famous carousel artist, originally designed this carousel, and it is one of two of his works located in RI.
Bonus: Paddleboats costing $5/rider for 30 minutes are located right across the street from the carousel. We didn’t plan on doing this, but I’m so glad we did. The kids loved it!
Roger Williams Park Carousel, 1000 Elmwood Ave, Providence, RI.
Opening hours vary on time of year; open from July 1st through Labor day from 11am – 6pm
Pricing: $2/ride; $20 for 12 rides; $15 for 12 rides for zoo members
If you can find your way to Roger Williams Park Zoo, you can easily find your way to the carousel village. This was also a pretty fast carousel offering a variety of animals to ride. My little one was really excited to ride the lion!
Bonus: The Hasbro Imagination Playground is right in the Carousel Village. There is also a full snack bar, kiddie train rides, bounce house, and pony rides.
Crescent Park Loof Carousel, 700 Bullocks Point Blvd, Riverside, RI
April, May & June, open Saturday & Sunday, 12pm – 6pm
July & August, open Thursday through Sunday, 12pm – 6pm
September & October (through Columbus Day weekend), Open 12pm – 6pm
Pricing: $1.50 per ride, or 20 rides for $25; Thursdays in July and August rides are $1 each for kids
The Crescent Park Carousel is the second carousel in RI designed by the famed Charles Looff and is one of the few left in existence. Mr. Looff used the Crescent Park Carousel as a functional showroom for venues “ordering” their own carousel.
This was my favorite out of the six we rode. The artwork is incredible and transports you back to when the Crescent Park area was a bustling recreational area of the state. Recently renovated, it’s a state treasure you shouldn’t miss whether you do the “crawl” or not.
Bonus: Blount Clam Shack is located right next to the carousel. It’s a perfect stop to grab some clamcakes and chowder for lunch to add to your RI experience.
Easton’s Beach Carousel, 175 Memorial Boulevard, Newport, RI
Open Weekends only Memorial Day weekend through mid-June, 10am – 5pm; Open Daily from mid-June through Labor Day Weekend, 10am – 5pm
Pricing: $2 per ride
Complete with a beach vistas and salty air blowing in your hair, the Easton’s Beach Carousel has been part of Newport’s history since 1958. It is also a rare 4 row carousel still in its original condition. Because it’s located at the beach, you may be concerned about parking, but don’t be. We were able to park for free in the temporary lot. The carousel is located on the second floor next to the rotunda and is accessible by elevator.
Bonus: The Save the Bay Exploration Center & Aquarium is located downstairs. It is hands-on experience featuring 40+ species from Narragansett Bay. Kids can pet stingrays and hold horseshoe crabs, among other experiences.
Flying Horse Carousel, 151 Bay Street, Westerly, RI
Open through Labor Day, 11am – 9pm on weekdays; 10am – 9pm on weekends
Pricing: $1.50 for one ride on an outside horse, $1.00 per ride for an inside horse.
Thought to be the oldest continuously operated carousel in the entire country, Flying Horse Carousel in Watch Hill offers a unique experience. The horses are suspended from the center frame, rather than being attached to the floor. (This gives them the illusion of “flying,” hence the name). Because of its age, adults are not allowed on this ride on this one. Kids can also grab brass rings at the carousel as they ride, therefore the outside horses are viewed as more desirable.
This location does not have an attached parking lot, so be prepared to park on the street.
Bonus: Watch Hill is a lovely beach side venue lined with quaint shops and eateries and is flanked by beautiful views of the marina. We took a little walk around the area so that we could stretch out our legs after being in the car much of the day. Hey, there is also a chance you could run into Taylor Swift!
Open weekends Memorial Day through mid-June from 11am – 10pm; Open Daily from mid-June through Labor Day 11am – 10pm
Pricing: Tokens are $2 each, $18 for 10 tokens; 1 token is needed per person, per ride.
This vintage 1915 carousel is located just past Misquamicut Beach. Atlantic Beach Park is also home to a small roller coaster, bumper cars, and a full arcade with a redemption counter. Because of its late closing time, and the other activities available, it made sense to make this our last stop.
Bonus: Misquamicut Beach should be free to enter after 5pm. Pack a picnic dinner to enjoy by the ocean. Top off your summer day with a short ride over to Mel’s Downtown Creamery and share a Big Kahuna with your family, or try to tackle it by yourself. Ed Sheeran even tried to conquer it solo!
Our state may be small, but it is bursting with some hidden gems, and these carousels are among of them. I highly recommend taking this journey through our state and experiencing these historical treasures firsthand. Kids are guaranteed to light up with joy at each stop, and you might find yourself lighting up with as much joy as them!