Take a Ride on These Local Carousels

Carousels in the DC area
Photo: Momentos Reales / Pexels

Local carousels and outdoor recreation parks closed their facilities during the early stages of quarantine to comply with state mandated coronavirus protocols. But now, a collection of carousels in the DC area are opening up for business and encouraging families to enjoy a fun-filled ride during the summer months. 

As re-opening phases slowly continue to take place within the District, Maryland and Virginia, outdoor recreation spots are also sanitizing more frequently, enforcing strict mask use and administering social distancing rules for visitors. 

Read below to learn more about each carousel and their new safety procedures. 

The Carousel at National Harbor

137 National Plaza Suite 200, Oxon Hill, MD 20745

This Fort Washington carousel sits on the National Harbor and offers its visitors a scenic view of the Potomac River. A bustling hub of shops and restaurants are all just a walk away and so is the spectacular Capital Wheel.  

To ensure that visitors can enjoy each recreation to the fullest, the National Harbor is enforcing health and safety recommendations in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Personal protective equipment—gloves and masks—must be worn by the harbor’s cleaning staff at all times. Public areas, including door handles, handrails and public equipment, are thoroughly sanitized with disinfectants. Visitors must also wear a mask when inside restaurants or shops but are not required to do so when outside.

The National Harbor’s carousel tickets are $7 per person and can be purchased here

Chessie’s Carousel at Lee District Park

6601 Telegraph Rd, Alexandria, VA 22310

Chessie’s Carousel at Lee District Park in Alexandria prides itself on being an accessible and mobility-friendly merry-go-round for all kids. This Chesapeake Bay-themed carousel features a collection of animals native to the Bay, including a hummingbird, frog, whooping crane, swan and coyote. Carousel animals also move vertically, adding more fun and excitement to the ride experience! 

From July to September 17th, the carousel will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. After September, it will be open only on the weekends from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Pre-sale tickets are available to prevent overcrowding and maintain social distance between riders. Visitors can choose from a selection of 562 available sessions and can select a specific day and time to ride the carousel. Children under the age of two can enjoy a free ride with a paying adult. 

We tried it: Roer’s Zoofari

The Burke Lake Carousel

7315 Ox Rd, Fairfax Station, VA 22039

Burke Lake Park in Fairfax features a variety of amenities for visitors to enjoy, including the quaint Burke Lake Carousel. Currently, the park’s carousel is only opening up its benches, which can seat a maximum of two people. Individual seats are now closed to limit the number of riders and maintain social distance. 

Pre-sale tickets are also available for the Burke Lake Carousel here. Visitors can choose from a selection of 598 available ride sessions and can select a specific day and time to ride the carousel. The merry-go-round features a per person weekday fare of $2 and a weekend fare of $3. Parents who ride with their children must also purchase a ticket. Children under the age of two can ride for free with a paying adult.  

Ovid Hazen Wells Carousel

12001 Skylark Rd, Clarksburg, MD 20871

The Ovid Hazen Wells Carousel in Clarksburg invites families to embark on both a “unique and whimsical adventure.” The carousel, which re-opened on July 16th, closed its middle row of horses to allow for riders to safely maintain physical distance. Currently, only the innermost and outermost carousel horses seat visitors.

Carousel rides are also three minutes long. After the completion of each ride, a 15 to 20 minute break takes place to allow for horses to be thoroughly sanitized. In addition, riders are required to wear masks/face coverings while on the carousel.

Tickets for the Ovid Hazen Wells Carousel and the Wheaton Miniature Train can be purchased here. Individual tickets are $2.50 each and a special bundle of 10 tickets is $22.50. Young children under the age of two can ride for free with an accompanying adult.   

The Carousel at RIO Washingtonian

136 Boardwalk Pl, Gaithersburg, MD 20878

Located along a shady walking trail and near the Washingtonian Center waterfront, this small carousel in Gaithersburg is now open for families. The merry-go-round features 30 dancing figures, including horses, fantastical creatures and chariots. It can normally hold up to 38 adults and 30 children riders but in the midst of the pandemic, limited seats are offered to maintain adequate distance between riders. 

Riders are required to use hand sanitizer prior to boarding the carousel. Masks must also be worn at all times—while riders wait in line and while they are on the carousel. After the completion of each ride, carousel figures are thoroughly sanitized and cleaned. Hand railings, carousel bars and other surfaces are also frequently disinfected. 

Carousel day passes are $6 per person and a 5-day pass ticket book can also be purchased for $27. Kids under 42 inches can ride for free with an accompanying adult. Carousel passes can be purchased here.   


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