The Missoula Carousel is a must every time I’m in town. I’m not a fan of carousels in general, just this particular one. My grandma took a special interest in this carousel (which has a unique story of how it came to be) when it was being built in 1995 and every time we went to visit her, she would tell us about the different ponies they added and we’d go for a quick ride. It became a sentimental experience. It still is…and I’m passing on the tradition.
Last time I was in town we took grandma for a ride, she sat proudly in the chariot with my mom and we all nervously watched as the carousel picked up speed!
But this is more than a kid’s carousel, it’s a competition for all who ride. There’s a dragon named “Lucky” and he dispenses rings which people on the outer edge of the carousel reach for as they go round and round. The very last ring is a gold ring and whoever grabs the gold ring gets a free ride. Adults and children alike reach out with excitement in hopes they’ll be the one to hold the gold ring.
Hallie tried and tried and a few times she barely missed it. She had fun regardless.
We had to pry the kids off those horses and they rode many times!
Each horse is “adopted” by a family and they help design the horse. In the gift shop after our rides I was wanting to buy an ornament. They only had three horses and I didn’t like any of them. I shared that with the lady working the counter and she expressed how expensive it was to carry a larger selection. I pulled Hallie over to help pick the ornament and she landed on “Silver” pony. As soon as she picked it, the lady beamed. It was her adopted horse and she shared the details of the horse that included her kids initials and grandkids names. I quickly put my foot in my mouth. Of course it was her horse after I just finished saying that I didn’t care for any of the options. Just my luck!
There’s a park right next to the carousel called “Dragon Hollow”. Along the perimeter of the park is a fence with names carved into each slat of people who donated to build the park. I told you my grandma was a big fan of the carousel and my grandpa’s name is proudly displayed in his memory.
I’m pretty sure Hallie was just as excited about the carousel as I was. It’s magical. It always has been and probably always will be.