March 03, 2016

Photo Essay: A Swim on a Sea Creature Carousel

I've ridden a few carousels in my day.

And although I tend to prefer the antique ones, I can't resist a good modern menagerie collection that stands out from other contemporary carousel designs.

The LA Zoo's "Conservation Carousel," where you get to take a ride on various endangered animals (a gorilla, a bald eagle), is noteworthy...

...but at Disney California Adventure's King Triton Carousel on Paradise Pier... get to take a "swim" with various sea creatures.

And there's not a bad ride in the house.

Unlike many carousels, none of these creatures stay in a "fixed" stationary position.

From humpback whales to dolphins to goldfish, all seven different types of creatures that live "under the sea" undulate with the waves of music.

These critters are all locals, of sorts—you could conceivably find all of them in California's coastal waters.

But, of course, any of us would be so lucky to actually swim with them.

So instead, under the reign of King Triton (Ariel's father in The Little Mermaid)... get to live out your fantasies on fantastical, bejeweled versions of the Pacific Ocean's finest residents.

And they seem pretty happy to be saddled up.

The carousel itself is a tribute to the seaside attractions of California's coastal past, with painted images from The Pike in Long Beach, Venice of America, Belmont Park in San Diego, Santa Monica Pier, and the various lost piers of Ocean Park.

Here, out of the 56 creatures total, the only horses are those of the sea.

And in some ways, this carousel is historical in its own right, as a remaining original ride from the 2001 opening of California Adventure (which was built on the site of a former Disneyland parking lot).

This companion amusement park to Disneyland has made a lot of changes to try to attract more crowds, but somehow, the carousel has stood the test of time (well, at least 15 years).

It was manufactured by the now-defunct D.H. Morgan Manufacturing, a company that had been better-known for its coasters (and train cars for them),  antique car reproductions, the balloon ride at Knott's Berry Farm, and the spectacular train crash at Universal Studios.

How could a carousel survive—in some cases, for over a century—when there are so many other rides that really take you someplace, and, in some cases, scare the bejeezus out of you?

Well, sometimes, it's nice to take a leisurely ride in the park, going nowhere not too fast, not having to do a thing but just be there, in the moment.

Related Posts:
Photo Essay: The Faces of The Santa Monica Pier Carousel
Photo Essay: Wayward Carousel Horses & Other Creatures
Photo Essay: The Dead Mall of the Carousel
This 40 Year-Old Princess Has Found Her Kingdom
The Cult of the Happiest Place on Earth

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