Where to Ride a Carousel in the East Bay - 510 Families
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Where to Ride a Carousel in the East Bay

There’s no denying the joy that carousels offer. The act of selecting an animal, then going around and around, up and down to carnival music is a classic childhood experience. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of merry-go-rounds in the Bay Area. We’ve rounded up our top picks in the East Bay and beyond that can offer a magical and smile-filled carousel riding experience for kids of all ages.

Ride atop a horse, bench or cat! | Photo: Kat Choi

Tilden Park Merry-Go-Round (Berkeley)

A beloved destination in Tilden Park, East Bay families have enjoyed a musical ride aboard wooden horses since 1948. It’s a prime choice for birthday parties or celebrating holidays with special offerings for Mother’s Day, Easter, and Christmastime. Some say little ones may find the ride too fast, but you be the judge. An on-site cafe and nearby kid-friendly attractions can round out a day trip.

Location: Central Park Drive &, Lake Anza Rd, Berkeley
Hours: 11 am – 4:15 pm Saturdays and Sundays; Weekday hours vary by season
Cost: $4 per ride or $22 for a book of 7 rides; Walk-in or make advance reservations
Website >

tilden park carousel
Waiting with anticipation for the Tilden Park Carousel | Photo: Julia Gidwani

Flecto Carousel at Children’s Fairyland (Oakland)

This colorful carousel is one of the dozens of fun rides at Children’s Fairyland. Set to music, children can wave to adults from their brightly painted horses while going round and round. The ride lasts about a minute or so and moves at a tot-friendly speed. It’s a joy for preschoolers and kids will want to ride again and again! Littler ones may enjoy the amusement park’s Wonder-Go-Round, which features Alice in Wonderland characters and allows accompanying adults.

Location: 699 Bellevue Ave, Oakland
Hours: 10 am – 4 pm Saturdays and Sundays; Weekday hours vary by season
Cost: Included with admission: $15 per person; kids 1 and younger are free
Website >

Child riding carousel at Children's Fairyland
Which colorful horse will your little one choose? | Photo: Maureen Burke

Kennedy Park Merry-Go-Round (Hayward)

Kennedy Park is a top park in the East Bay because it features both traditional play structures and amusement park-style rides at one site. Visit on a weekend to take advantage of the rides, including the historic merry-go-round. The park received a complete renovation in 2021-2022 and is chock full of fun for kids, especially farm-loving ones.

Location: 19501 Hesperian Blvd, Hayward
Hours: 11 am – 4 pm Saturdays and Sundays, weather permitting
Cost: $3 per ride
Website >

Family on merry go round in Hayward
Fun for all ages at Kennedy Park | Photo: Yelp

Carousel at Pixieland (Concord)

Among the airplane ride and teacups at Pixieland, youngsters will enjoy a magical ride on the antique carousel. Kids can hop on a beautifully painted horse and parents are allowed to accompany younger children. Heather’s youngest found it a little fast on their visit.

Location: 2740 E Olivera Rd, Concord
Hours: Hours vary by season
Cost: 2 tickets per ride ($5.50) but admission is free
Website >

Pixieland carousel
Pixieland Carousel is a little speedy for some kiddos. | Photo: William Munny

Conservation Carousel at Oakland Zoo (Oakland)

Ride atop an elephant, ostrich, tiger, or another wild animal at the Oakland Zoo’s carousel. It’s located in the Adventure Landing section, adjacent to the main entrance. Not only does it offer old-school fun, but all ticket purchases also support endangered animals in the wild as part of the Oakland Zoo’s conservation efforts.

Location: 9777 Golf Links Road, Oakland
Hours: 11 am–5 pm, daily; Last tickets sold at 4:45 pm
Cost: 1 ticket per ride ($2) – plus admission to the zoo
Website >

Children on carousel at Oakland Zoo
Ride the wildlife-based carousel at Oakland Zoo’s Adventure Landing | Photo: Stacy Avery via Facebook

Carousels in San Francisco and Beyond

pier 39 carousel at night
Pier 39 Carousel | Photo: Pier 39

Carousel, merry-go-round, whatever you call them–which is your family’s favorite? Tell us in the comments section!

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