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Columbia Carousel facts for kids

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Columbia Carousel
Columbia Carousel from water Jr.jpg
The Columbia Carousel at Six Flags Great America in 2005.
California's Great America
Area Celebration Plaza
Status Operating
Cost $1,500,000
Opening date 1976
Six Flags Great America
Area Carousel Plaza
Status Operating
Cost $1,500,000
Opening date 1976
General statistics
Attraction type Carousel
Manufacturer Chance Rides
Model Double Deck Carousel
Height 100–101 ft (30–31 m)
Vehicles Over 100
Riders per vehicle 1 per animal; 6 per bench

Columbia Carousel (known as Carousel Columbia at California's Great America) is a pair of double-decked carousels at Six Flags Great America and California's Great America. Both parks were originally built by the Marriott hotel chain as sister properties but they were later sold off and are presently owned by Six Flags and Cedar Fair, respectively. To this date, Carousel Columbia (the California counterpart) is the world's tallest carousel.


Columbia Carousel flowers 6FGrAmIL 2006 Jr
In recent years a stage has been set up in front of the carousels at both parks.

The first Columbia opened in the Santa Clara park in 1976 and the Gurnee Columbia opened later that year. The carousel is known as Carousel Columbia at California's Great America and Columbia Carousel at Six Flags Great America.

In 1994, Santa Clara's Columbia received some minor renovations for its appearance in the movie Beverly Hills Cop III, filmed at the theme park.

In the early 2000s both carousels received touches of red and blue paint. The original paint scheme was white with gold trim, however, some of the gold trim still remains.

In the 2011/2012 off-season, Carousel Columbia at California's Great America was re-painted.

During the 40 seasons celebration at Six Flags Great America, Columbia Carousel was repainted.

Background Music

  1. Carousel Waltz
  2. Al Jolson Medley
  3. Bozo's Song
  4. Chinatown My Chinatown
  5. Danny Boy
  6. Entry of the Gladiators
  7. Florida Fight Song
  8. Give My Regards to Broadway
  9. His Honor
  10. Illinois Loyalty
  11. Jay Jay the Jet Plane
  12. King Kong March
  13. Liberty Bell March
  14. Mickey & Friends Medley
  15. Nellie the Elephant
  16. Onward and Upward
  17. Paddington Bear
  18. California, Here I Come
  19. The Carousel Song


The original design of the carousel, then named "The Columbia", was carried out by Randall Duell Associates. Additional scrollwork and decorations were designed by Chris Mueller.

Each of the 106 horses, chariots, and animals on the carousels is a replica of one of the world's most famous carved carousel animals. A large reflecting pond was installed in front of each carousel with historic replicas of American flags flying along the sides of the pond. Today, the flags still fly.

Sixteen original oil paintings by George Gibson are installed on each carousel, depicting scenes from American history. Kris Rowberry publicized the fact, originally from the press release, that elements from Carousel Columbia were originally used on the sets of the films Marie Antoinette (1938) and The Swan (1956).

At 101 ft (31 m) tall, the Carousel Columbia in Santa Clara is the tallest carousel in the world. The sister Columbia Carousel in Gurnee stands just one foot shorter at 100 ft (30 m). The two sister carousels may be distinguished by the color of the roof – the Carousel Columbia in California is painted gold, while the Columbia Carousel in Illinois is green – and the flooring – Gurnee's carousel has carpet, while Santa Clara's has a wood floor.

The Columbia is often associated with the Carousel Song, written especially for the Marriott's Great America theme parks by Gene Patrick. The Carousel Song still plays at the Santa Clara park periodically throughout the day while it only plays at the Gurnee park soon before the park closes.


Seating on the carousel consists of the following 106 fiberglass replicas:

  • 82 jumping horses
  • 6 standing horses
  • 3 chariots
  • 1 camel
  • 1 giraffe
  • 1 lion
  • 1 tiger
  • 1 dragon
  • 1 deer
  • 1 seahorse
  • 2 jumping ostriches
  • 2 jumping pigs
  • 2 jumping cats
  • 2 jumping rabbits

The horses include cavalry-style horses, Parker horses, Dentzel horses, and the 1928 "Silver Anniversary Horse" originally carved for the 25th anniversary of the Philadelphia Toboggan Company (found on the Gurnee carousel only). The original 1928 armored horse is displayed in the Circus Hall of Fame. The chariots are replicas of chariots originally carved in 1918 by Daniel Carl Muller.


  • 37°23′50″N 121°58′28″W / 37.39731°N 121.97445°W / 37.39731; -121.97445 (Columbia Carousel at California's Great America) at California's Great America
  • 42°22′10″N 87°56′07″W / 42.36942°N 87.93533°W / 42.36942; -87.93533 (Columbia Carousel at Six Flags Great America) at Six Flags Great America


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