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October 21, 2009

Fix up the Inner Harbor carousel? Or put something new there?

inner harbor carouselI loved your suggestions for where to put the Frank Zappa statue. 

Today, I read where the Baltimore Development Corp. is taking a hard look at the shabby (but long-standing) carousel on the South side of the Inner Harbor, near the Science Center.

You don't need to spend much time near the carousel to notice that it's not used much and in need of some pretty major repairs.

The question is, should the carousel be restored? Or removed altogether and replaced with something else?

The Inner Harbor "has to be re-energized," said Jim Seay, president of Premier Rides of Baltimore, who presented ideas yesterday. "We have to return some of the magic of the Inner Harbor."

I'm with you, Jim ...

The Inner Harbor needs a face lift, post haste. If I were in charge, I'd start with something more prominent, like, say, the Pratt and Light Street pavilions. Have you been in them lately? They look tired -- especially the food court in the Light Street Pavilion.

As for the carousel, I'm personally torn over what to do with it. I'd like to see it redone with Baltimore-themed figures. It could have a raven, an oriole, Frank Zappa, Edgar Allen Poe, a crabcake, the Natty Boh man ... hee hee.

I'd also like to see something else replace the carousel. I like the sound of a Ferris Wheel. That could be cool. But is there enough room to build a big one? Because little Ferris Wheels are lame. A big one that gives you a panoramic view of the city would be cool. I'm sure you'd run into opposition from the folks at Top of the World Observation Level, though.

Here are some of the other suggestions: A "4-D theater" with changing themes such as a simulated pirate ship during non-holiday periods and a "winter wonderland" when it's cold, a traveling museum featuring artifacts from Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum or a "mirror maze" by Ripley's.

Uh ... I'll pass on those.

What do you think should happen there?

(Baltimore Sun photo by Amy Davis)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:09 AM | | Comments (28)
Categories: Random stuff


Grrr, you're reading my mind again. I like the idea of creepy local figures replacing the horses heads. Why is it I can't think of any local icons that aren't creepy?

Well you're going nowhere
When you ride on the carousel
And maybe you're strong
But what's the good of ringing a bell
The switchback will make you crazy.
Beware of the bearded lady
Oh let me take my chances on the Wall Of Death

All the ideas yesterday, except maybe the ferris wheel, would make that part of the harbor feel more like the bordwalk. Ripleys? Really?

I say put a homeless petting zoo there.

Large Ferris Wheel = "LOOK MA! I can see barclay street from here"

I didn't even know there WAS a carousel in the Inner Harbor until today, so I'm sure we can replace it with something better..... but no Ripley's, please???? Mini Golf would be cool.

The carousel is in famous paintings of the Inner Harbor!
It's a piece of Baltimore. I vote to restore it. Where else can you take the kids for a $2 ride???? Ride a crabcake or a Raven???? How cheap. Restore those horses.

The reason you didn't know there was a carousel in the Inner Harbor is because the view of it is blocked by the trees! Take the trees down.

Yes! Down with the trees! And not just in the Inner Harbor. Down with the trees everywhere!

Maybe the patronage is down because of the increase in violent crime at the Inner Harbor. Is replacing the carousel with something else going to change that? Let's fix the real problem!!

We should replace the carousel with a triage station for victims of violent crime.

That would send a good message to tourists -- "sure you might get stabbed at the Inner Harbor, but you should have no problem dragging yourself to some of the best medical care the city has to offer."

Don't take down the carousel! We've grown up with it and now our children get to appreciate it too. My son loves it. Sure, it needs some sprucing up and I cover him in Purell after a ride, but it's part of the Harbor and should be restored - horses and all.

PLEASE keep the original carousel at the harbor with improvements!!!!!!! When my family moved to Baltimore from Michigan in 1984 we were told about the Carousel at the harbor. We have been going to the Harbor ever since!!!

Love the carousel!

had some of my wedding pix taken on it two weeks ago and friends nation wide have commented on how cool it is.

An original piece of art is how I think it should be considered.

The best thing that could happen would be to incorporate it into a re-vamping of the surrounding area.

All of the ideas to populate Rash Field with a viable amusement???? The city of Baltimore drove the Trapeze School that occupied Rash field for 6 profitable years out of town to DC.....The school brought students from as far as NJ and DC to the city on a regular basis. The City treated the Trapeze School very poorly and made it VERY difficult for them to stay. As the story goes....They did move to DC ant their numbers have increased significantly.....Good ending for them but once again Baltimore has lost out because of poor treatment of business who would like to make this city their home.......

BA we should just combine the two, duh - triage AND a carousel would be way more funner!!

A small dog park would be perfect.

That carousel was the scene of a crime in an episode of "Homicide". A little boy was kidnapped right off of one of the horses while his mother stood waiting on the other side. During one spin of the wheel she looked in her purse for her camera. When she looked back up, the horse he was riding was empty.

Can we just get a large Ferris Bueller instead of a Ferris Wheel?

You can certainly tell the suburbanites with their inane comments. They no nothing of what it is to live on the harbor..we love it, except when they park in front of our houses illegally and scratch our cars with their strollers. Keep the minature golf (it wasn't good the first time)

Keep the carousel!! If something else needs to go up, put that there too. I mean, it isn't like it takes up that much space. Maybe put some bathrooms on that side of the harbor. All that sand is a waste too. Maybe put another attraction on two there.

The whole Key Highway section of the Inner Harbor should be changed. It's very underused, mostly because there's no reason to go there. I don't understand all that space dedicated to specialty sports like beach volleyball and trapeze.

If there's no desire to build a structure of some sort there, I think they might want to consider some multi-use basketball / tennis area that residents can actually use. Heck, maybe even a few Bocce Ball courts could work.

The carousel is set at the end of the inner harbor, and therfore isn't utilized as it should be. It's hidden from where most tourists tread. Renovate and relocate it! How about right off of light street in that giant open entranceway to the inner harbor, next to the visitor center? give it some publicity, make it a historic restoration project, and money will pour in like crazy!


Have you seen the volleyball courts during the summer? They are packed 5 nights a week with people who live in and out of the city. Hundreds if not thousands of people play volleyball there during the summertime. Just FYI, not hating.



I don't usually see it at night, but during the day, the volleyball courts seems really underutilized. I think an equal sized area with 3 or 4 different types of courts would be a better fit. Also, sports like tennis and basketball are played three seasons of the year.

They should take down the carousel and put in a miniature version of The Block like the one on Baltimore street.


Beach Volleyball is also played three seasons of the year. I can just about guarantee you that basketball/tennis courts would be underutilized during the day when you drive by as well.

I also enjoy the irony of (I'm going to paraphrase) not understanding the dedication of space to specialty sports and then suggesting using the space for bocce. Yes, that's a specialty sport. As is tennis in my opinion.

I'm not trying to be rude. I am surprised some commenters are so unaware of the huge numbers of people who play (and who get turned away because there isn't room) on those courts.

Matt- I couldn't agree with you more. The beach volleyball players and Todd saved my business two years ago. It is crazy how many people play there and you are right a lot of people still don't know about it.

it would break our hearts, mostly our 3-year-old daughter's heart, if the carousel were to move. we live in federal hill and walk down to ride the carousel several times a month. some days it is busier than others, but children do ride the carousel often and we view it as a perk of living so close by. we hope it stays, we really would miss it if it were to be remove or relocated too far from the current locale.

Restore the horses!! There are so few true carousels left!!!

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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