Tonawanda News


December 2, 2013

THROUGH THEIR EYES: Fun and tradition at the Herschell Carrousel Museum

Tonawanda News — The Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum in North Tonawanda is open from the spring to the end of December, and especially with the new Kiddieland exhibit outside, it certainly has plenty going on during the warm-weather months.

But for us, the museum will always be associated with Christmastime. Hence, this week’s Through Their Eyes.

I think Jim was only 2 when we first set foot into the doors of the former carrousel factory. He’d developed a fascination for carrousels during the not-so-long ago October storm of 2006 (when his father took him to the Boulevard Mall everyday for lunch — we were without power for eight days), and the Santa on the Carrousel event seemed to be a perfect holiday activity for our young family. 

We rode the 1916 carrousel multiple times with our then-toddler son, had a photo taken with Santa Claus — I think it graced our Christmas cards that year — probably had some hot cocoa and departed. I knew there was a lot more to it, but with a tired child, there just wasn’t much opportunity to explore at that point.

To some extent, this is still Jim’s pattern when we visit. For him, it’s all about “the horsies.” We circle the 1916 No. 1 Special until he picks a horse; to me, this difficult choice looks random, but he always knows just what he’s seeking. Hoisted into the saddle, he’ll pat its painted mane with a look of concentration, grin throughout the ride and assert “more horsies!” from the moment the ride begins to slow down. 

Of course, we have to repeat this multiple times during any visit.

In recent years, he’s begun to appreciate the 1940s aluminum carrousel in the Children’s Gallery, although he’s now just about too tall for its smaller horses. His more-adventurous little brother, who has wanted to ride alone since the day he was first able to toddle, was responsible for that.

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