Hidden in Tilden Park, down a long quiet, winding road, is a favorite ride of kids young and old, the Tilden Park Merry-Go-Round. Built in 1911 and brought to Tilden Park in 1948, it’s a throwback to a simpler time, when quality was valued over quantity. It has 3 rows of animals of all sort: The traditional horses but also tigers, giraffes, bears, etc. There is also seats to sit in, small horses for little ones, and even a spinning seat within. While riding you are treated to circus music, as you ride around into your childhood all over again.
The merry-go-round is generally only open during the day, but during the holidays, the area is decorated in full holiday glory, and stays open until 8pm at night. During December, this is the best time to go. Lit up, the merry-go-round looks even more magical than usual. Outside the kids can run around looking at the inflatables, while waiting their turn to ride. When they are done with the ride, they can head over and take a picture of with Santa, who takes his time to talk and listen to each child. For the adults, there are beautify Christmas Trees, with hand-crafted ornaments for sale, a nice gift for your family and friends.
The carousel has full concession stand. During the holidays, it’s nice to get some popcorn, hot cocoa, or coffee to warm you up. During the rest of the year there is pizza, hot dogs, and other food to have a nice lunch and make it an outing. It’s even possible to have a birthday party at the merry-go-round, perfect for toddlers and pre-schoolers.
Overall, the Tilden Park Merry-Go-Round is the perfect place to spend the day, go back in history, and be a kid again with your little ones. The sheer joy on the kids faces as they pass you again and again is more than worth the trip up.
Tilden Park Merry-Go-Round
Tilden Regional Park
Intersection of Central Park Dr. and Lake Anza Rd.
- Hours: Open Weekends Year Round, generally 11 AM to 5 PM. Open Weekdays Memorial Day to Labor Day and during Spring break. Open until 8PM 7 days a week from Thanksgiving to Christmas.
- Cost: $3 a ride. All riding must pay, including accompanying adults. Can buy a book of 7 rides for $15.
* Stared photos taken by Atma Photography