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Friday, April 21, 2017

Carousels: A History and Celebration

The American Carousel

Carousels can be found in shopping malls, theme parks, zoos, county fairs, and public parks all over the United States.  The oldest and most prized carousels were carved in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by European immigrants, though there are still workshops today that specialize in hand-carving carousel animals from wood.  Equally prized by history buffs, artists, and fun-seekers everywhere, the carousel has a unique place in attraction design.

A Very Short History of the Carousel

For a slightly less brief version, check out Episode 6! (Streaming app can be found below)

The earliest carousels were man-powered swings, though some later models used real horses to turn the machines.  Steam power allowed for a fully automated machine in the mid-1880s.

The aesthetic of modern carousel ponies can be attributed to the beautiful and flashy armor worn by knights and horses in tournaments.

The Golden Age of Carousels took place in the early 20th century.  More American carousels were manufactured during this period than any other time.  Most of the Craftsmen were immigrants.  While there are dozens of Master Carvers, some of the most recognizable names are Marcus C. Illions, Allan Herschell, Gustav and William Dentzel, the Muller brothers, Charles Carmel, Solomon Stein, Henry Goldstein, and Charles Looff.

Most carousel workshops closed permanently during the Great Depression.  It wasn't until the 1970s and 1980s that interests in carousels rekindled, bringing historians, collectors, artists, and woodcarvers together.

There are five museums dedicated to carousels in the United States.  They are located in Ohio, New York, Kansas, Oregon, and Connecticut.





Unlike my other episodes so far, I relied heavily on books to help write the episode on carousel history.  I highly recommend that you read them.  They have a lot of information and the most beautiful photographs!

Anderson, Sharrell S.  "Carousel Horses: A Photographic Celebration".  Courage Books, 2000.

Fraley, Tobin.  "The Great American Carousel:  A Century of Master Craftsmanship".  Chronicle Books, 1994.

Fraley, Tobin.  "Carousel Animals: Artistry in Motion".  Chronicle Books, 2002.

Manns, William, Peggy Shank, & Marianne Stevens.  "Painted Ponies: American Carousel Art".  Zion International Design, 1986.

Papa, Carrie.  "The Carousel Keepers:  An Oral History of American Carousels."  The MacDonald & Woodward Publishing Company, 1998.

Friday, March 24, 2017

"The Rainforest" at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in Cleveland, Ohio

"The RainForest" at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

About the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo occupies 183 acres of land in Cleveland, Ohio.  It is owned and operated by the Cleveland Metroparks Organization.  The Zoo is home to 2,000 individual animals from 600 different species.  According to the Cleveland Zoological Society, more than one million people visit the Zoo every year, and has the distinction of being the most visited year-round attraction in the state of Ohio.

About "The RainForest"

The RainForest building was completed and opened to the public in 1992.  The building is two stories tall and has a total area of 2 acres.  It houses more than 10,000 plants and 600 animals, and displays the first permanent reptile collection at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo since a flood destroyed the previous collection in 1959.  




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*All photos represented in this album are my own.  Please do not use or redistribute without permission.*


The RainForest page on the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo website

Animal Enrichment and Training at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Cleveland Zoological Society

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil

*I am not affiliated with the Cleveland Metroparks, nor was I reimbursed for my time there. All opinions are my own and do not reflect those of the Metroparks or its staff.*

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

"Adventure in the Valley of the Unknown" at COSI in Columbus, Ohio

"Adventure in the Valley of the Unknown" at COSI

About COSI

Originally founded in 1964, COSI now resides on a beautiful campus along the Scioto River in Columbus, Ohio.  The current building, designed by architect Arata Isozaki, has a 320,000-square-foot blueprint.  In the last 53 years, COSI has entertained and educated 33 million visitors.

About "Adventure in the Valley of the Unknown"

This 9000-square foot exhibit opened in 1999 with the current COSI building.  The exhibit was based around the story of a fictional island that had been rediscovered by an international team of scientists.  Guests were challenged to find the fabled Lost Treasure of Knowledge by completing tasks and puzzles given to them by four ancient spirits and aided by the scientific team.  Once the visitor had succeeded, they were presented with a medallion and a letter left behind by the island's missing king.  The popular exhibit closed in January 2017 in order to make room for a new dinosaur exhibition and additional gallery space, in partnership with the American Museum of Natural History.




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*All photos represented in this album are my own unless otherwise stated.  Please do not use or redistribute without permission.*


Adventure Page on COSI website (

Roto Entertainment

Explorers Society Fan Page

COSI Fan Review

Theme Park Tourist Review

Walkthrough courtesy of Skyhawk_Illusions of

*I am not affiliated with COSI, nor was I reimbursed for my time there.  All opinions are my own and do not reflect those of COSI or its staff.*

"Legends of the Wild" at Akron Zoo in Akron, Ohio

"Legends of the Wild" at the Akron Zoo

About the Akron Zoo:

The Akron Zoo currently sits on 77 acres, not far from Downtown Akron, Ohio.  It houses more than 700 animals and in 2016 set a new annual attendance record with nearly 399,000 visitors.

About "Legends of the Wild"

"Legends of the Wild" covers 2 acres and houses animals found in South America, Mexico, Madagascar, and the Himalayan Mountains.  It was completed in 2005 and is part of the Zoo's new capital improvement project.  The exhibit area focuses on cultural connections with the natural world.  Currently, 16 of the species residing in "Legends of the Wild" are participating in their "Species Survival Plan" overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.




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*All photos represented in this album are my own.  Please do not use or redistribute without permission.*
Jaguar photos coming soon!


Legends of the Wild page on Akron Zoo website

Animal Enrichment at the Akron Zoo

T.C. Architects, Inc.

Welty Building Company

*I am not affiliated with the Akron Zoo, nor was I reimbursed for my time there.  All opinions are my own and do not reflect those of the Zoo or its staff.*