Carrousels revolutionized carnivals, turning them into multifaceted entertainment extravaganzas rather than simple traveling funnel-cake bakeries. Delve into the history of itinerant ride-givers with today's Groupon: for $5, you get admission for two to the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum in North Tonawanda (up to a $10 value; admission price varies with age).
The Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum gives visitors a view of the inner workings of a company whose products became part of the American amusement landscape throughout much of the twentieth century. A network of seven different interconnected structures, the museum occupies the production facilities of the Allan Herschell Company, the carrousel cartel credited with thawing icy relations between humans and horses. Examine exhibits such as the Lockman Collection, an assemblage of 20 different hand-carved creatures that illustrates the stylistic evolution of carrousel animals, and the Wurlitzer Music Roll Shop, showcasing manufacturing equipment and more than 1,600 hand-punched music rolls designed to coax wooden beasts from their lumber slumber. Admission to the museum includes a complimentary ride on one of two on-site carrousels: a 1940s-era aluminum ride equipped with miniature mounts for kids only, and a carrousel sporting 36 adult-sized steeds that dates to 1916, the year it was discovered that horses aren't poisonous.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum provides a link to vibrant pieces of Americana, as well as to a landmark of local industry. An ideal opportunity to take a nostalgic dip into the past or simply to stare at a horse up-close without risking a notoriously self-righteous equine diatribe, today's deal carries the potential for an afternoon full of family fun, whether with your own family or a stranger's.
- Lovers of old carousels, bygone ages, or just exquisite woodworking shouldn't miss this museum. The world's only museum housed in an original carousel factory building, this one opened in 1915 to carve wood into fanciful carousel horses. – Frommer's
- Plan a family day out that will be educational and fun, your kids will have a new appreciation for the history and understand how amusement rides of yesterday helped develop the rides of today. – Catherine Seidel, Associated Content