The original Silver Beach Carousel lived at the Silver Beach Amusement Park from about 1910 to 1971, when the amusement park could no longer compete with Cedar Point Amusement Park and had to shut down. The carousel was sold and the beachfront area sat vacant for decades.
In the late 1990s, some local citizens inquired about bringing the carousel back to town, but unfortunately, it was later determined the original Silver Beach Carousel was no longer for sale. So the local residents began a campaign to create a replica carousel in its place. After much fundraising and some hardships, the new Silver Beach Carousel opened to the public in 2010.
This re-creation of the original does not skimp on the finer details. Each carousel horse or creature features details in paint, gems, personal dedications and more.
But there’s more than the carousel at this Silver Beach community spot. There are train displays, an organ that plays music, fun mirrors, a fortune teller game and a photo booth. Just outside the open-air carousel doors, families will find cornhole games, sidewalk chalk, hula hoops, chess and coloring books. The carousel is also surrounded by wooden rocking chairs, a perfect spot to wave from while your kids ride around. And there is a prop box so kids can pop on a funny hat or panda head before hopping on a carousel horse.
There are always events and holiday celebrations taking place at the carousel, such as Christmas in July, when Santa and Mrs. Claus stop by while vacationing in St. Joseph. During the school year, weekly $1 rides are offered. There is an activities room steps away from the carousel where families might find a “snowball” fight happening in July or other craft activities.
The Silver Beach Carousel is located across the street from the Whirlpool Compass Fountain splash pad, a short walk from Lake Michigan and Silver Beach, and within the same building as the Curious Kids’ Discovery Zone (the satellite option of the Curious Kids Museum). Families can easily spend a significant amount of time here during a full beach day, or visit for just an hour or so.
June through August: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 10 p.m. on Sunday
Fall Hours: 4 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday
Things to Know/Bring
The carousel is accessible to all.
A small concession stand, located next to the carousel, offers candy, popcorn, beverages and more. Silver Beach Pizza is located across the street from the carousel, so kids can have a ride before or after lunch (or while you wait for your pizza). A beach concession stand, serving hot dogs, snacks, ice cream and hamburgers, is situated just a short walk away at Silver Beach.
The area is surrounded by paid parking lots, which often fill up quickly in the summer months. Free parking lots can be found several blocks away (up the bluff, up a large staircase), closer to the downtown area. And metered, street parking (which can be even harder to come by) also surrounds the area.