CINCINNATI — Carol Ann’s Carousel at The Banks, with its colorful menagerie of rideable beasts and decorative gilded trim, faces a ridership and revenue slump.
Over 120,000 people rode the carousel located in Smale Park in 2016, city officials said. Last year, only 55,000 people rode the carousel.
Revenue has also dwindled from $300,000 in 2016 to half of that in 2019.
To curb the ridership and revenue decline, city officials are looking into transferring operations to a private vendor, and those negotiations are ongoing. The main change would be the ride’s hours of operation. For now, Carol Ann’s Carousel is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
For those that do ride the carousel — especially the kids — it’s a special treat. Victoria Scheu said she loves taking the children she nannies for a ride on the carousel.
“It’s a great place to come down,” she said. “They always love it when I mention this part. They always get really excited about it.”
Sarah McGough also brings her kids to the carousel, an attraction she called “gem of the city.” But she said her family doesn’t ride it as often as they used to.
"I think the initial excitement kind of wore off a little bit because there was a lot of promotion around it,” she said. “I think it's still a lot of fun, and kids enjoy it. I think as a parent you forget about it sometimes.”
Jeff Durrell, who used to live in Cincinnati and was visiting, said he enjoys what the carousel brings to the area.
“Having these things dotted around town just makes the city feel more special and more alive,” he said.