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Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz, California

One of the rides that I was really looking forward to at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk was the parks classic Looff Carousel.

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz, California

Santa Cruz's Looff Carousel was purchased from Charles Looff in 1911 and it is one of the five remaining carousels carved by Looff and his company.

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz, California

Here is Travis getting ready to take his first ring carousel for a ride.  You ask "ring carousel"? 

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz, California

This carousel is one of the three remaining ring carousels in the United States.  The other two are the Grand Carousel at Knoebel's Amusement Resort in Pennsylvania and the Cass County Dentzel Carousel in Logansport, Indiana.

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz, California

Ring carousels add a layer of challenge and thrill to the simple old carousel.  You see there is a arm on the outside of the carousel that dispenses iron or brass rings.  Your job as a rider is to grab as many rings as you can every time the carousel takes you past the ring machine.  If you get the one brass ring you win a ticket for a free ride.  That is where the phrase "you've got to reach for the brass ring" comes from.  You have always got to be trying to get it...you may not but when you do it will make your day and give you a free ride.

Unfortunately, there was only one ring for our entire ride and the guy right in front of me got it.  Once the ring is grabbed riders are supposed to throw their rings at the clown target.  There Santa Cruz has a machine that feeds the rings back into the ring dispenser.  I guess too many people; like the guy ahead of me who pocketed his ring, took home a souvenir.  That was my only disappointment to my visit to Santa Cruz.  I'll be back some time to reach for the brass ring as this is the most challenging carousel of all three as unlike the ring carousel at Knoebels or in Indiana the outside row of horses on this carousel jump making for getting the ring that much more of a challenge.



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Paul B. Drabek