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The Cafesjians Carousel at Como Park

by Jennifer Kirby on July 12, 2007
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The Carousel at Como Park is a site to behold. To help preserve the ride for generations to come, a special pavilion was built next to the Como Zoo and Conservatory.

Originally built in 1914 at a cost of $8500, Austin McFadden has it commissioned for use at the Minnesota State Fair. He ran the carousel and watched years of families enjoy the hand carved horses. Privately owned for its entire life, the public was saddened to see it put up for auction in 1988.

After reading about the upcoming auction, a family in St Paul wanted to save the historic landmark and discovered that for a purchase price of $1.1 Million, the entire structure could be theirs. The story behind how they funded the purchase is wonderful, with many local residents digging into their piggy banks to help out anyway they could. One benefactor was instrumental in saving the carousel at the auction, Mr. Gerard Cafesjians.

Restoration of the Carousel was begun in 1990 and took 10 years to complete. It is believed to be one of only three carousels in the United States with almost all of its original paint still intact. One of my favorite features of the ride is the band organ. While not original, as the first was destroyed in a 1939 fire, it truly makes you feel like a kid again with the authentic band music as you whirl around.

The historic carousel is open from May to October and only costs $1.50 to ride. Children under one year of age and adults over 90 ride free. It is interesting to note that the ride does not operate if the temperature falls below 45 degrees or rises above 95 degrees.

Detailed driving directions are available if you would like to visit!

Don’t forget to visit the Como Zoo and Conservatory while you are there.

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