Carousel of Happiness, Nederland

#1 of 8 in Things to do in Nederland
The story of the Carousel of Happiness is the story of a young Marine, a derelict carousel, and the small mountain town of Nederland, CO. It starts in 1910 when a Looff carousel was installed at Saltair Park, outside Salt Lake City, Utah. During its 49 years at Saltair, the carousel survived fires and wind storms. It was moved to the Utah State School where it was enjoyed by people with disabilities until 1986, when it was sold and stripped of its wooden horses.

Meanwhile, a young Marine in Vietnam, Scott Harrison, (pictured at the right) received a tiny music box that he held to his ear to balance the horror of war. He began to dream of building a carousel in a mountain meadow. Decades later, when Scott heard of the empty, abandoned Utah carousel, he rescued it. He would spend 26 years carving animals to bring it back to life. As he finished the last of 35 animals, the community of Nederland pulled together and raised money to build it a home.

The Carousel opened Memorial Day, 2010, with the first ride a silent memorial to veterans. A little over a year later, the Carousel awarded its 100,000th rider a special card, giving her free rides for life. The winner was a 5-year-old girl who was living in Boulder while her father was deployed in Iraq. The Carousel has become a destination for families, senior groups, organizations serving people with disabilities, parties and weddings. A local dating Website called it a perfect place for a first date.

As a non-profit organization, the Carousel relies on volunteers and donations to keep rides $1 so that everyone can experience that feeling of joy.
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Carousel of Happiness Reviews
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246 reviews
  • We were so excited when we were able to ride this carousel after tasting wine at Augustina's winery next door during Nederland's Frozen Dead Guy Days. It's iconic.  more »
  • A wonderful story for a beautiful carousel. The staff was very friendly and informative. One of the highlights of town I must add  more »
  • What a wonderful experience! Beautiful hand carved animals and fascinating history. Carousel was saved from destruction by a Vietnam Vet and built in honor of his fallen friends. Very in expensive ($2) for what you get. Our conductor was extremely friendly and knowledgeable with the biggest smile. Highly recommend for fun and all the history!
  • Loved it! Beautiful hand carved animals all by one incredible artist and Vietnam vet. Really enjoyed the ride. Great music, friendly staff, beautiful artwork besides the carvings. Highly recommend a visit and ride if going through Nederland.
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