Each year kids of all ages flock to the carousel in Caras Park to ride a hand-carved pony on one of Missoula’s most prized attractions.
A Carousel for Missoula is far more than an attraction, though. It’s also testimony to the power of community when people share a common vision and goal.
Missoula’s carousel had its roots in 1991 when a local cabinet maker, Chuck Kaparich, made a promise to the city council to build a carousel for Missoula. At the time, the future carousel consisted of only four ponies carved by Kaparich and an antique frame in a thousand pieces.
By opening day in 1995, over 100,000 volunteer hours had gone into creating 38 permanent ponies, three replacement ponies, two chariots, 14 gargoyles, gargoyle frames, mirror frames, and the largest band organ in continuous use in the United States, all enclosed in a jewel box building in downtown Missoula.
The entire community pulled together to make the dream of A Carousel for Missoula come true. Countless contributions of time, services, materials, and encouragement of local residents, created a community treasure that can be enjoyed by all.
The carousel’s spirit of giving continues as a tradition with carousel volunteers continuing to carve ponies for other carousels and nonprofit organizations. A mechanical crew donates their time and expertise to keep the carousel in top condition, and many others continue to improve and maintain the carousel for the benefit of the entire community.
A Carousel for Missoula is open 364 days each year — every day except Christmas. The Carousel is available for birthday parties and private rentals and there is also a gift shop on site. During summer months, a weekly farmer’s market and festival is open at the carousel on Sundays.
Visit the official website for A Carousel for Missoula for more information about operating hours, driving directions, current prices, or to make a donation.
A Carousel for Missoula
101 Carousel Drive
Caras Park, Downtown Missoula