Heritage Carousel at Union Park

1801 Pennsylvania Ave
Des Moines IA 50316

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A sentimental favorite for many Des Moines-area residents is tucked within Union Park on the city's north side. The Heritage Carousel opened in the late 1990s after a group of volunteers decided there was a need for simple, wholesome family entertainment. All the animals on the carousel were hand-carved from wood and hand-painted to replicate the ornate detail of the carousels of yesteryear.

Parking and public transportation to Heritage Carousel
Access the site from the East Sixth Street/Pennsylvania Avenue exit on Interstate Highway 235. Take Pennsylvania Avenue north to Union Park. Parking is available on site. Transit routes stop along East 14th Street, but expect a walk of about six blocks to reach the park.

Best and worst times to go to Heritage Carousel
The carousel is open to the public Tuesdays through Sundays, usually May through August. The site also hosts several special activities throughout the year, such as an Easter egg hunt and a classic car show. Weekend afternoons are often the busiest, so prepare to wait in line.

Admission to Heritage Carousel
The program's volunteers aim to keep costs as low as possible. Expect to pay just 50 cents for a child to ride and $1 for an adult. There is no charge for adults to stand next to a child rider. Multi-ride and season passes are available.

Other places to visit near Heritage Carousel
Union Park also offers several free family activities. A zero-depth-entry splash pool is open for children during the summer months. Kids and adults alike can enjoy a massive rocket slide that has been located in the park for decades. Grills and picnic tables provide space to enjoy a packed lunch or snack.

Insider tip for visitors to Heritage Carousel
The site's vintage charm is maintained by a local nonprofit organization. Patrons can "adopt" one of the carousel's wooden animals for a season. The donation package includes opportunities for free and discounted rides.

Author's bio: Melanie Lageschulte is a freelance writer and editor. She is an Iowa native and has lived in Des Moines for 15 years.