Holiday Outing: Christmas at the Tilden Carousel - 510 Families
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Holiday Outing: Christmas at the Tilden Carousel

The Tilden Park Merry-Go-Round transforms every year into a magical winter wonderland. Full of Christmas cheer – find decorated trees, tiny nutcrackers on display, holiday tunes, and of course a Santa to whisper your wishes to. This year they’re also offering an extra special Breakfast with Santa for three Saturdays in December. How cute is that? The Christmas Carousel is a perfect outing for the grandparents even if they don’t like to ride along. Just keep waving!

Tilden Christmas Carousel
The Christmas set-up around the carousel. Trinkets in all directions, most of them for sale.

Tilden Carousel Holiday Hours

Holiday hours begin on December 3. The Carousel is open on weekends, 11 am – 8 pm, as well as Monday AND Friday  (NOT Monday through Friday) 4 pm – 8 pm. The Carousel is open the week of Christmas, December 20 – 23, 12 pm – 8 pm, with daily Santa visits from 6 pm – 7:30 pm. Closed December 24 and 25. The Carousel reopens December 26 – January 3, from 11 am – 5 pm. And remember, this is weather permitting, so if the weather is crummy, the Carousel might be closed. If you’re not sure if they’ll be open, give them a call  at (510) 559-1004 before schlepping all the way up the hill!

child on carousel at Tilden Park
Photo: Julie Herson

Reservations are encouraged, but not required. Buy tickets online beforehand, or at the ticket booth once you arrive. Rides for the Carousel are $4/ride or $22 for a 7-pack for everyone over age two. Decorations went up in mid-November, with plenty of twinkly lights, jolly trees, and inflatable holiday decor.

child looking in christmas window
The Tilden Park Merry Go Round is magical for little kids during the holiday season | Photo: Julie Herson

When is Santa Claus Visiting the Tilden Carousel

Santa Claus makes his brunch debut on December 3, from 4 pm – 8 pm. Santa Claus is then coming for breakfast on three consecutive Saturdays (Dec. 4, 11, 18). Tickets are $35 children 2+, $55 adults, which will get you unlimited rides, breakfast buffet, photos with Santa and his Elf, a special gift from Santa, and classic Christmas movies playing in the background. Tickets are limited, so get yours early if this sounds like Christmas magic for your family! Tickets >>

Santa will stick around after the breakfast events though, so you can see him, and Olaf from Frozen Friday – Monday at 6 pm throughout December. Be sure to check their website or their Instagram for the most up to date info on Santa and Olaf visiting days.


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Tilden Merry Go Round Christmas
Mail a letter to Santa Claus from the Tilden Park Merry-Go-Round | Photo: Anna Azimi

Don’t forget to stop in the snack bar for a seasonal treat. We opted for gingerbread cookies, but there’s also hot cocoa, churros, ice cream, cotton candy, hot dogs, pretzels – need I say more?

The Tilden Carousel is located at the intersection of Central Park Drive and Lake Anza road. Prepare for crowds, and lines, this place gets busy!

For more info, visit their site>

Tilden Christmas Merry go round
Little nutcrackers are irresistible to young hands | Photo: Anna Azimi



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