The Tilden Park Merry Go-Round; Everything to Know

Tilden Regional Park is home to a local gem, the Tilden Merry-Go-Round or Carousel. This historic carousel was built in 1911, and has been lovingly restored and rebuilt at Tilden Regional Park.

Visitors can take a five-minute ride on any of the historic animals, many of which were originally created over a century ago. For just four dollars per ticket, riders can experience a ride back in time while enjoying the icon of Tilden Regional Park and the Bay Area.

In addition to the carousel, visitors can also check out the concession stand. Here, they can enjoy Bay Area icon Fenton’s Ice Cream, as well as other delicious treats like popcorn. This makes for a great family outing, as there is plenty of parking and nice picnic areas. The carousel is even available for birthday parties!

It’s one of the best amusement park rides in Oakland.

For over a century, the Herschell Spillman Company’s 1911 three-row menagerie carousel has traveled all over California, from Urbita Springs to Wonderland Park to Long Beach, and now resides in Tilden Regional Park.

The carousel was built in 1911 by the Herschell Spillman Company of North Tonawanda, New York and was the second permanent machine built by the company for Oliver Davis of Redlands, California.

It was first installed in Urbita Springs, an amusement park built by the Pacific Electric Railway along its trolley line between San Bernardino and Corona, California.

In 1916, the carousel was moved to Wonderland Park in Ocean Beach, San Diego. It was sold in 1928 and moved to somewhere near Long Beach, California.

In 1935, Oliver Davis reacquired the carousel and ran it in Griffith Park, Los Angeles. In 1937, the carousel was dismantled and placed in storage. In 1939, it was used in the Universal Studios film “So Ends Our Night.”

Finally, in 1948, Ross Davis and his son John moved the carousel to Tilden Regional Park, where it has been ever since. The historic carousel is a reminder of the amusement parks of yesteryear, and a testament to the longevity of the Herschell Spillman Company’s carousels.

What’s on the Carousel?

The carousel itself is a sight to behold. It features 22 hand-carved wood horses, 17 figures, and two chariots. There are also 17 aluminum horses and a small Wurlitzer music organ player. The North Tonawanda 950 organ is another highlight of the carousel.

Getting There

The Merry Go Round doesn’t have a formal address. Here is a link for your GPS:

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.
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