A dream that became a Kingsport Original – that’s the Carousel, one of the most unique and popular attractions in the region.
The menagerie-style Carousel features 32 beautiful hand-carved wooden animals, 24 rafter-based creatures and two chariots – each lovingly and painstakingly fashioned by a dedicated group of Kingsport craftsmen. The animals, many of which took as much as 800 to 1,000 hours to carve, include horses, a unicorn, wolf, tiger, frog, and many others.
The carousel took six years to complete includes 24 exquisite bird paintings and 24 rounding boards that feature painted scenes from Kingsport’s storied past. Artists donated their time, producing historic depictions of the city on the rounding boards, which include Daniel Boone’s trailblazing adventures to the city’s first industries.
Taking six years to complete, the Carousel sits on a refurbished 1956 Allen Herschell frame, donated to the City of Kingsport by the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport, Conn.
More than 300 volunteers, including 45 carvers, worked to bring the whimsical Carousel, which sits inside the temperature-controlled Pal’s Roundhouse, to life, delighting children and adults alike since it opened in 2015.
There is also a gift shop in the Roundhouse, which features a nearly 800-pound buffalo carving that can seat up to five children and two adults on its massive head and shoulders, making for a great photo opportunity.
Open Wednesday through Sunday every week, the venue also features Carousel Carving Studios were volunteers teach carving to anyone who might be interested in learning the craft.
The Kingsport Carousel is open Wednesday through Sunday and the cost to ride is $1 per person. For the most up-to-date schedule and current hours, please visit the Facebook page or call the Carousel directly at 423-343-9834.
Outside the Carousel, there is also a park for kids of all ages and abilities that includes a unique playground that features a crawl tunnel, treehouse structure, bridge, climbing wall, web crawler, inclusive spinner, and a music area with various instruments, such as a vibraphone, congas, and chimes.