Carousel of Happiness, Nederland

4.9
#1 of 6 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.
Find out how to plan Nederland trip without stress by asking Inspirock to help create an itinerary.
Source
Create an itinerary including Carousel of Happiness
map
Carousel of Happiness Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5.0
203 reviews
Google
4.9
TripAdvisor
  • Whenever someone asks me "where should I go when I visit Boulder?", I always recommend the Carousel of Happiness. It's one of those rare places that's quick to visit but stays with you for years after...  more »
  • This is a lovely small carousel, lovingly hand-carved by a Vietnam veteran over 26 years. There are some wheelchair-accessible areas on it, and the price of $1 makes it within reach of most families. ...  more »
  • A visit to the past. The carousel is well maintained and fun for the family and reasonable priced. It is conveniently located right next to the highway through Nederland.  more »
Google
  • Wonderful fun experience. A hidden treasure for a delightful road trip exploring towns. We found this gem of a place. This place is a non profit. Our family rode this 2 times. So many cool things to look at that seem to be new each time you look around. Did you find the fairies? The fox? The egg? The coolest thing was the music and seeing the gears move. We loved this place! Perfect for a day trip!
  • This place was pretty cool. The carousel played the Ghostbusters theme song can you say awesome!!! The operator spent a lot of time with us explaining the history and the really cool power monitoring system. The tickets were cheep and the had a gift shop filled with Melissa & Doug items for the kids. Can't wait to come back.
  • A really delightful experience with amazing hand-carved animals and great calliope music. Well worth multiple rides. Staff are friendly and helpful. The carousel is a big hit with my kids and we have been back several times within a few months of being in the area.
  • A unique must see place in Nederland. Carousel is fun for literally all ages. Can't help but smile each time i ride it!
  • This place will always make me smile. It brings out the kid in me. I love taking my kid here. He loves it too. Always has to ride at least 15 times.
Places to stay near Carousel of Happiness

Plan your trip to Nederland

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Plans to Carousel of Happiness by other users

8 days in Denver BY A USER FROM CANADA July, teens, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, teens ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 8 days in Denver BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 31 days in United States BY A USER FROM SAUDI ARABIA June, teens, museums, popular PREFERENCES: June, teens, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 9 days in Vail BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, popular PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 8 days in Denver BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, popular PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 8 days in Denver BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, popular PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 36 days in Denver BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA July, teens, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, shopping, wildlife, fast-paced, popular PREFERENCES: July, teens, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Fast-paced 6 days in Golden BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, popular PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 60 days in Golden BY A USER FROM BRAZIL September, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 9 days in Aspen, Boulder & Denver BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, popular PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 7 days in Estes Park BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, slow & easy, popular PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Slow & easy 11 days in Golden BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM August, kids, outdoors, historic sites, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: August, kids, outdoors, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium
View more plans