Kings Island, Ohio - The year 2000 has been designated as the International Year of the Carousel, and the enduring legacy of the classic family amusement ride is alive and well at Paramount's Kings Island.
The age-old carousel -- one of the oldest forms of amusement ride entertainment -- has meant fun for generations of children and families around the world. It is perhaps fitting that, with the dawn of the high-tech 21st century, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions organization has designated the year 2000 as the "International Year of the Carousel," celebrating an entertainment heritage that can be traced back some 1,500 years.
Paramount's Kings Island's carousel is a beautiful masterpiece built in 1926, a time known as "golden age" of the wooden carousel. Built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company, the park's Carousel first opened at Cincinnati's Coney Island 74 years ago. It was a family-pleasing mainstay until it was moved to Kings Island when the park opened in 1972. During the ensuing 27 years, the grand Paramount's Kings Island Carousel has entertained more than 16 million riders.
The park's colorful 80' carousel features 48 magnificently hand-carved wooden horses -- 28 "jumping" horses (that move up and down along a centerpole) and 28 stationary horses -- each a genuine piece of artistry in its own right.
Located in the Coney Mall themed area of the park, the Paramount's Kings Island Carousel also features a 1918 Wurlitzer Duplex band organ. When constructed, the beautifully ornate carousel with its magnificent cupola was painted with more than 20,000 sheets of 23-karat gold and 1,000 sheets of sterling silver.
"In today's technology-driven world, it's wonderful to have an all-family attraction that recalls a past era," said Tim Fisher, executive vice president and general manager of Paramount's Kings Island. "We are pleased that, through the decades, we have kept in fine condition and in continuous operation one of the most beautiful classic carousels anywhere."
Park guests seem to agree. "There is a special fondness for me for the Paramount's Kings Island Carousel," said Keith McCartt, a Price Hill man and lifelong Cincinnati resident. "That single ride has spanned generations of fun for my family. I have memories of being a young boy and riding that carousel with my parents when it was at Coney Island. And since that time I have ridden it with my own children at Paramount's Kings Island, and will do so with my grandchildren in the future."
Paramount's Kings Island is owned and operated by Paramount Parks. Paramount Parks, a unit of Viacom Inc., is a leading developer and operator of regional theme parks and location-based entertainment attractions. Viacom Inc. is one of the world's largest entertainment and publishing companies and is a leading force in nearly every segment of the international media marketplace.