photo - variety of children on carousel animals, horse, elephant, zebra, tiger, all smiling, laughing, having fun

Conservation Carousel

Open daily at 10:00 a.m.  Last ride will be at 5:45 p.m.

Hours may vary depending on staffing and attendance. All activities are seasonal and subject to regular Zoo maintenance and the cooperation of weather and animals.

The carousel has been newly painted and stained! Try out the poison dart frog, rhino, snow leopard or jaguar next time you take a spin!


All Day Pass$4.50

Rider Policy

  • Please read all safety information and follow the instructions of Zoo staff.
  • Guests who are pregnant, or might be pregnant or anyone with heart, neck, or back problems should not ride.
  • Children under 42″ must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Children under 42″ require a ticket; however the accompanying adult rides free.
  • Accompanying adult must stand next to their child for the entire duration of the ride.
  • Children are not permitted to sit on another person’s lap.
  • No side-saddle sitting is allowed.
  • Guests should remain seated, facing forward, holding onto the pole at all times.
  • All guests must wear shirt and shoes to ride.
  • Please secure any loose items before ride begins.
  • No food, drinks or smoking of any kind allowed on the carousel.
  • The Louisville Zoo is not responsible for any items that are lost, stolen, damaged or left behind.

Rider Responsibility: There are inherent risks in the participation on any amusement ride or attraction. Guests have a duty to exercise good judgment, act in a responsible manner and obey all oral and/or written warnings.


About the Zoo’s antique Conservation Carousel

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For many children, one of their favorite features of the Louisville Zoo is its beautiful restored antique Conservation Carousel.  This turn-of-the century carousel was built in 1919 by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company, one of the premier carousel makers in the world at that time. The carousel that is known as PTC#49 and is nicknamed the Old 49, found its way from Clementon, New Jersey to Marion Ohio in 1996.

There it was meticulously restored by Carousel Concepts before making its way to the Louisville Zoo in 2000 with the help of the Mary Lee and Adam Burkle Charitable Remainder Trust. It stands majestically at two stories tall, has a 24-foot tall center mast and displays over 700 lights; the rounding boards, shields and inside scenery panels are reminiscent of bygone days. The handsome pavilion was built in Louisville with support from the Paul Ogle Foundation.

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When refurbished, the carousel’s original 48 wooden horses and 2 chariots were replaced with non-wooden replicas echoing the vintage feeling of a nostalgic ride. The Zoo has since replaced 24 horses with hand-carved and painted wooden animals of all kinds, many endangered. The most recent additions include a poison dart frog, rhino, snow leopard and jaguar.

Dr. Bill Foster, Zoo Director at the time of the carousel’s arrival, stated that the carousel is a unique way to accomplish the Zoo’s mission “to better the bond between people and our planet.” He explained that “for young children, the carousel is a gentle introduction to the world of animals; for adults it is a reminder of the need to conserve our rich resources for the next generation.” He added, “I can see these children bringing their children to the Zoo and telling them ‘when I was your age, I always rode the cheetah.’”

Be a part of history!

Commission a hand-carved wooden animal for the Conservation Carousel. All donors will be recognized on a plaque installed on the Carousel pavilion. To learn more, contact the Development Office at (502) 238-5615.