The carousel at the Saginaw Children’s Zoo is truly a delight — not only because it’s charming to ride, but also because it was created for us by community volunteers.

Each animal is designed to replicate classic carousel figures of the early 1900s. Hand carved by a member of the Tri-City Wood Carvers, our carousel animals were sanded, painted, and installed by volunteers over 18 months and 40,000 volunteer hours.

It’s simply a must for each Zoo visit.

Cost: $2 per person, per ride or $6 per person for an unlimited day pass.

More About the Carousel

Our Carousel story is one-of-a-kind. In the spring of 1996, Saginaw Valley Zoological Society (SVZS) President Julie Stevens and board members began researching ways to strengthen and improve Zoo programs. They suggested that a carousel at the Zoo would be a delightful addition to the community’s recreational facilities.

Inspired by the concept, City Councilman Earle DeGuise mentioned the idea to Jerry Willis, a retired contractor, who developed a plan to replicate some of the classic carousel figures of the early 1900s. Mr. Willis consulted with the Tri-City Wood Carvers, whose enthusiasm for the carousel was unanimous.

With the help of Delta College, volunteers had a space to begin work on all of the components for the Carousel, including:


  • Boy bunny
  • Girl bunny
  • Signature horse (lead)
  • Native American horse
  • Children’s pony
  • Bavarian armored horse
  • Zebra
  • Midnight blue dapple
  • Cowboy horse
  • Flag pony
  • Calvary pony
  • Christmas horse — Miss Holly
  • Cabbage horse
  • Scottish Highland pony
  • Trappers’ horse
  • Fish scale, semi-armored horse
  • Viking-armored horse
  • Sea monster
  • Mexican pony
  • Indian pony

Other Features

Along with the animals, the carousel features two chariot seats — one depicting dragons, the other the Goodridge Brothers Photo Shop which captured much of the region’s lumbering history in photos.

The carousel also has carved rounding boards with local historical scenes and framed artwork:

  • Indian camp on river
  • Potter Street Train Station
  • Postal delivery at Messner Hotel
  • Early Saginaw church scene
  • Great fire of 1893
  • Ships loading lumber on river
  • Lumber camp in winter
  • Lumber camp in summer
  • City Water Works
  • Caledonia Coal Mine
  • Great flood of 1904
  • Water pump on the corner

Upper scenery panels on the carousel depict:

  • Bancroft Hotel Crystal Ballroom
  • Migrant workers at harvest
  • Bliss Park
  • Fort Saginaw
  • Chief Shop-en-a-gons
  • Tri-City Wood Carvers
  • Fire and police
  • Fordney House
  • WWII B-24 bomber
  • Farm scene
  • Flying Merkel motorcycle
  • Making ice on the river

Lower scenery panels include:

  • Boating on the Bay, 1922
  • Ice fishing on the Saginaw River
  • Winter farm scene
  • Castle Post Office
  • Stardust, boating on the Bay
  • City Hall fire, 1935
  • Interior or school room
  • Gathering maple syrup