Skip to Main Content

Kings Island

Kings Island announces important updates regarding the rest of the 2020 Season. Learn More.

Skip to Next Section

What goes around...

John Keeter

Kings Island Blog Contributor

It’s no wonder why Kings Island holds a special place in the lives of so many – it has a heart.

In 1926, Philadelphia Toboggan Company carousel #79 made its debut at Cincinnati’s Coney Island. Standing 80 feet wide and featuring 48 horses (including 28 “jumpers”) and two chariots, the carousel is adorned with 37 oil paintings (depicting scenes from all over the world), 20,000 sheets of 23-karat gold leaf, 1,000 sheets of sterling silver, over 700 lights and hundreds of mirror accents. Understandably, all that glory didn’t come cheap, and it cost over $200,000 to build (that’s nearly $3,000,000 today!).

The carousel operated successfully at Coney Island for 45 years while surviving routine Ohio River flooding. Most famously, during the devastating 1937 flood, some of the horses floated away and were later retrieved nearly 500 miles downstream.

After years of use, the owners of Coney Island initiated a massive $50,000 overhaul to the carousel in 1969. All of the mechanical operations were re-conditioned, its oil paintings were painstakingly re-painted and the horses and chariots were stripped of over 40 years of paint. This was done in preparation for its new home.

When Coney Island was dismantled, the carousel made its way to Kings Island for its grand opening in 1972. It found life in the Coney Island-themed section inside a new Victorian-themed carousel house featuring over 500 additional exterior lights. A replacement 1926 Wurlitzer Duplex Orchestral Organ (#157) was purchased by Kings Island for the carousel. The organ had originally operated in Ocean Grove, New Jersey and later traveled to fairs across the country. The organ has a history all its own, and even had two professionally recorded albums released featuring its 21 songs.

Soon after the 1972 opening of Kings Island, the carousel was featured in the Partridge Family episode “I left my Heart in Cincinnati” filmed at the park. The cast is shown riding the carousel during a montage set to the song “Together We’re Better.” However, a year later, when the Brady Bunch filmed at the park, the carousel was not seen, rather heard. During the opening credits of the Brady episode “The Cincinnati Kids”, the recorded version of “Ben Hur’s Chariot Race” is played from the carousel’s band organ.

To this day, the carousel undergoes a painstaking process of upkeep every few years. In addition, horses are cycled off for a season so they can be restored, while “back-up” horses take their place. If you pay extra special attention to the outside stationary horses, you may catch a glimpse of one of the three signature horses – these figures include the letters PTC (Philadelphia Toboggan Company) cleverly carved into their saddles. You may also notice that some horses have initials painted into the front of their bridles. It is a great honor to have your initials added and it is reserved to those very dear to the park.

During Kings Island’s 45th anniversary season, the Carousel will be celebrating its 91st birthday. Next time you visit, be sure to take another spin on this beautiful piece of history. You’ll be amazed at how strongly a nearly century-old heart can beat.

Share This

John Keeter

Kings Island Blog Contributor

Post a Comment

Skip to Next Section

Beat the heat at Soak City Water Park

When the summer heat hits, Kings Island’s Soak City Water Park is the perfect cool-off option for all ages. With more than 50 water activities, including 36 water slides, Soak City offers entertainment options galore for families to experience together.
Read More

Autism Awareness Week July 8-14 at Kings Island 

It's Autism Awareness Week at Kings Island We've teamed up with the Autism Society to ensure that ALL of our guests can enjoy a great day. We are also offering discounted tickets to members of the Autism Society!
Read More

Grand Carnivale ends run at Kings Island tonight

There is an end to everything, to good things as well. Join us this evening for the final night of Grand Carnivale. Tonight we say goodbye to Grand Carnivale.
Read More

A Walk in the Park at Kings Island: A tale of loops and food

Welcome back to a walk in the park at Kings Island! What are we talking about this week? Well the title says, “A Tale of Loops and Food”. Should we talk about loops on a roller coaster? Grand Carnivale food or fudge?
Read More

Morning view from the K.I. & Miami Valley Railroad at Kings Island

This week’s “Morning View” shot was snapped behind the scenes of the K.I. & Miami Valley Railroad where the Blue No. 12 and Green No. 19 engines are being prepared for service. The K.I. & Miami Valley Railroad has been a favorite with guests since Kings Island opened in 1972.
Read More

Seven easy ways to save money at Kings Island

From admission tickets to drinks, there are many ways you can save both time and money on your next visit to Kings Island. Check out this list of seven money-saving tips to get the best deal possible when you go.
Read More

Last chance to experience Grand Carnivale at Kings Island

This week. That's all the time that's left to visit Kings Island and experience Grand Carnivale, a larger-than-life festival celebrating the rich traditions of China, Italy, France, India and Germany.
Read More

Halloween Haunt scare actor, WinterFest live performer auditions begin this month

The calendar may have just turned to July, but the entertainment team at Kings Island is preparing for fall and winter with interviews and auditions for Halloween Haunt scare actors and WinterFest live performers set to begin this month.
Read More

Happy National Blue Ice Cream Day!

A blueberry soft serve, blue ice cream was introduced by Kings Island in 1982 and became an immediate hit. Because blue ice cream has become a staple in Kings Island history and entrenched as a part of Cincinnati culture, July 1 has been designated as National Blue Ice Cream Day.
Read More

Kings Island offers free admission, discount tickets to active and retired military for Fourth of July

Kings Island is offering free admission to active and retired members of the U.S. military during the Fourth of July holiday. The deal is available July 3-5. A valid government-issued military ID must be presented at Kings Island to take advantage of this offer.
Read More