GREENSBORO, N.C. — The excitement surrounding the Greensboro Rotary Carousel is growing. On Monday, the Greensboro Science Center started welcoming people inside again, at a limited capacity with timed tickets and social distancing. Several of those guests took a walk to the back of the parking lot to see the carousel through the glass, but there was something historic going on inside at the time.
“For the last 14 years, going through the process of trying to raise money, having something called the recession which didn’t help matters,” said Bernie Mann, president and publisher of Our State Magazine.
Over 14 years, the Rotary Club of Greensboro raised $3.8 million with the help of more than 300 donors. Mann says the carousel is the largest ever built by Carousel Works, of Mansfield, Ohio. It is decorated with images from Greensboro’s past and present, including the Greensboro Four, Neese’s Sausage and Wrangler to name a few.
The carousel is also made up of 56 sculpted animals.
“There’s nothing else like it in the world, because this carousel says Greensboro,” Mann said.
Around 2 p.m. Monday, with the swoop of a pen, the carousel officially changed hands from the Rotary Club to the Science Center.
“It’s kinda like a child going off to college, you know? You’re happy to see them go, but you’re gonna miss ‘em a little bit,” Mann said, to Greensboro Science Center Executive Director Glenn Dobrogosz.
“I knew that this would be that crown jewel of that project,” Dobrogosz said, of the day Greensboro Rotary approached him regarding the carousel. “I knew that we had a golden ticket at that point.”
The project Dobrogosz was speaking about is the Battleground Parks District Project, which is aimed at reinventing the parks and area behind the Science Center to be somewhat of a “Central Park” of Greensboro.
“I don’t think people even realize how big of a deal it’s gonna be,” he said. “Think about what we’ve just been through. People are gonna want something iconic.”
Everything on the carousel has a name on it, from donors to their grandchildren.
“That joy that they’re gonna feel, and the kids, and the adults, there’s gonna be adults riding this, you know, because it’s so much fun,” Mann said.
The Science Center says it will be installing screens inside he building to educate people about the artwork on the carousel.
“All these wonderful doors will come open,” Dobrogosz said, of the large bay-style doors of the building. “The wind will be coming through here.”
The carousel will also be completely illuminated for events such as the Science Center’s Winter Wonderlights.
“We will be opening it during the warm season at nighttime, so the lighting out here is beautiful,” Dobrogosz said. “You see this at nighttime, it even comes to life even more.”
Dobrogosz added he doesn’t know exactly when the carousel will be open to the public, due to reopening phases. But it will be soon.
“This is the beginning of a new era,” he said. “We’re so excited and so appreciative.”