Carousel is the favored term to describe an amusement ride, which allows men and women, and children, for a small fee, to travel with elaborately carved and painted animals on a rotating platform. The modern carousel ride is distantly related to Turkish games of horsemanship first witnessed by the Crusaders; these evolved into horse ballets and musical rides for the European courts by the 16th century. Sometimes carousels are referred to as merry-go-rounds, a term that links their purposes with joy.
Carousels are found the world over: on ocean side piers, in city parks, in shopping malls, inside Nevada casinos, their music, lights, and kaleidoscopic color, beacons of delight and personality. The golden age of American carousels first appeared in the early 20th century, and largely, the photographs from the Carousel feature from these grand carousels.
To ride a carousel is to set forth on a small journey, accompanied by music. Each ride traces a circle and striding forward with wooden horses, lions, and tigers, the future is reconnected to the past. In this way, each ride privileges the journey over the destination.