If you rode a carousel when you were little, you’ll remember what a magical experience it was. The excitement of choosing the animal, riding around and around, and listening to good old fashioned theme park music never got old. It’s time to bring the family out to enjoy those same memories you made as a kid. We found five awesome carousel rides in San Diego that your little ones will love to ride.

Carousel rides in San Diego
Balboa Park
The carousel at Balboa Park was added in 1910 right by the San Diego Zoo. All of the animals are original and hand-carved (minus two pairs). The hand painted murals at the top of the carousel are also original works of art. This 5-minute ride also includes the old brass ring game – one of the few carousels in the world still offering it. The lucky winner gets another ride around.

2920 Zoo Dr.
San Diego, Ca 92101
Hours: Saturday, Sunday and school holidays, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Cost: $2.50/person
Online: balboapark.org/in-the-park/balboa-park-carousel

Carousel rides in San Diego

Seaport Village
The enclosed, hand-carved carousel in Seaport Village was built in 1895. A ride around this carousel is a must-do after walking around all the nearby shops. With 54 animals and 2 horse-drawn carriages, there is sure to be a spot for every animal lover. So even if you see a bunch of kids waiting for a turn, don’t leave — you’ll never wait longer than a few minutes.

849 West Harbor Dr.
San Diego, Ca 92101
Hours: Daily, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Cost: $3/person
Online: seaportvillage.com/entertainment/attractions

Carousel rides in San Diego

Parkway Plaza
This double decker carousel is located at the northwest entrance of the Parkway Plaza mall. The carousel may not be a historic landmark but it does have two stories. Kids will get their choice out of 32 horses, 1 fixed giraffe, a spinning teacup or 3 benches for their merry-go-rounding amusement.

415 Parkway Plaza
El Cajon, Ca 92020
Hours: Mon. – Sat., 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. (closed from 2:30 – 3 pm or 4 – 4:30 pm)
Sunday: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Cost: $3/person


San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Choose between 60 animals to take a ride around including a giraffe, rhino, zebra, or a cheetah at the Conservation Carousel located inside the Safari Base Camp at Safari Park.

15500 San Pasqual Valley Rd.
Escondido, Ca 92027-7017
Hours: Daily, 10 a.m. to closing
Cost: $4/person or $6/all-day wristband (also budget for admission to the park)
Online: sdzsafaripark.org/conservation-carousel

Carousel rides in San Diego
Belmont Park
The Liberty carousel at Belmont Park is an antique reproduction that looks just as authentic as an original. Located at the entrance of the park, it’s sure to grab your kids’ interest. There are a few rides at Belmont Park but the carousel really appeals to the toddlers. The scary roller coaster in the background may be a better pick for the school aged kids. The sweet part about the Liberty carousel is that it’s right by the beach, perfect for washing off all that cotton candy from the park.

3146 Mission Blvd.
San Diego, Ca 92109
Hours: Fri. – Sun., 11a.m. to 10 p.m. (availability may change during spring and summer months)
Cost: $3/person
Online: belmontpark.com

Did we miss your favorite carousel in San Diego? Leave us a note in the comments!

— Brianne Grajkowski

Photo credit: Brianne Grajkowski