Long-Planned Improvements Underway to Yerba Buena Garden’s Historic Carousel

YBG Carousel to be closed through April/May 2014 for major restoration.

Yerba Buena Gardens historic hand-carved carousel built by craftsman Charles Looff in 1906 and considered a masterpiece of American art will be undergoing long-scheduled improvements to ensure that it will be operating for another 100 years for all ages to marvel at and enjoy.

The multi-month restoration requires a meticulous disassembly and rebuilding of the carousel by an expert team specializing in carousel restoration. The carousel will be closed until late April/Early May, 2014 to replace major structural elements, improve lighting and spruce up its menagerie of 65 fanciful animals.

Yerba Buena Gardens | Creativity Carousel
Long-scheduled improvements are underway on the historic 1906 carousel.

A long and colorful history of family fun.

It’s the carousel’s exquisite detailing and superb craftsmanship that makes critics consider the work a masterpiece. It is also one of the few carousels ever made that features an expansive array of so many animals from giraffes, camels and rams, to jumping horses with gilded chariots.

In 1912, the carousel was brought to San Francisco and installed at Playland at the Beach, where it spun for 60 years. After extensive refurbishing and renovation it was sent to Long Beach’s Shoreline Village near the Queen Mary where it ran from 1982 until 1998.

The carousel finally came home to San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Gardens and was again renewed with new flooring, horsehair tails, brass poles, and jewels for the animals. It is housed in a stunning glass pavilion. This beautiful example of “old fashioned” entertainment is now the cornerstone of a pavilion of “new fangled” fun, including the Children’s Creativity Museum, an arts and technology studio for children, a regulation-size ice rink, and a bowling center.

4 thoughts on “Long-Planned Improvements Underway to Yerba Buena Garden’s Historic Carousel

  1. As a TaxiDriver here in SF, & a native san franciscan, I was wondering what happened to the carousel, so looking forward to its return!!!!!!!!!!, xoxox, Peace, lenny

  2. Hi, I was wondering if the carousel is just for children or if adults can ride it too…?

    1. Hi Colleen,
      Adults certainly CAN ride the carousel and do everyday. There are a few limitations, only one rider per animal (adult or child) and a maximum weight limit for the moving animals is at 220 pounds. The stationary animals have no weight limit. We are open everyday from 10am to 5pm, come down and join us!

  3. So happy to hear about the Carousel being back in SF. I saw the documentary on this restoration recently, wonderful! I grew up in SF and spent a lot of time at Playland from late 1950s and throughout the ’60s, and I remember the dear Carousel so well. I probably rode on it a hundred times. My memories of this Carousel and of Playland-the Fun House-the Laughing Lady-are very dear and fond. I often had wondered what became of the Carousel, and now I know it is safe and restored and being enjoyed in my dear City. Thankyou.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *