Each of the brightly painted wooden figures on the carousel tells a piece of Dayton’s story.
Among the icons spinning around the ride is a larger than life Scipio, the Saint Bernard dog that belonged to Orville Wright; a box of Esther Price chocolates; a Mikesell’s potato chip bag; and a soap box derby car.
The carousel was designed to appeal to younger park visitors who aren’t allowed to touch the historic artifacts on display elsewhere in the history-soaked park.
“There are a lot of Dayton stories that are fun to ride around on, and kids then have a connection,” Kress said.
Children of all ages can learn about the Gem City’s history of canal boats, the pop-top can and the Huffy Radiobike astride the brightly painted replicas on the carousel.
It took a team of six carvers and seven artists from The Carousel Works, a Mansfield-based company, to create the ride that was installed in the park’s Heritage Center of Manufacturing and Entrepreneurship in 2011.
The Carousel of Dayton Innovation, at Carillon Historical Park, is a whimsical ride made of 32 hand-carved figures from the Gem City’s history. LISA POWELL / STAFF
As it spins to music coming from a calliope, the inside hub of the carousel, detailed with illustrations, tell the Wright brothers’ story from boyhood to their aviation success.
On the exterior are painted scenes created from turn-of-the century illustrations depicting major achievements in Dayton.
“It’s a massive piece of art with all of the hand painting that was done on the outside,” Kress said. “You can really sit and study it for quite a while. Everything has a tie back to the Miami Valley.”
A ride on the carousel is $1. Visitors with the park’s $100 supporting membership get unlimited carousel rides at no charge.
The carousel is accessible for people with disabilities and has chariots that don’t move up and down. Among them is a large NCR cash register with a hinged seat that allows for a wheelchair.
HOW TO GO:
What: Carousel of Dayton Innovation
Where: Carillon Historical Park, 1000 Carillon Blvd., Dayton
Hours: Mondays through Saturdays: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays: Noon to 5 p.m.
Admission: $12 per adult (ages 18-59), $10 per senior, $8 per child (3-17), children under 3 and Dayton History members free.
For more information: www.daytonhistory.org