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The Dorothea Laub Balboa Park Carousel Building

Orchid Icon  Orchid
  Historic Preservation

The Dorothea Laub Balboa Park Carousel welcomed riders back on July 25, 2023 after a months-long restoration project to the building that houses the Carousel. Built in 1910, the Carousel was brought to Balboa Park in 1922. Forever Balboa Park has owned and operated the Carousel since 2017. The Carousel earned a Historical Resources Designation by San Diego’s Historical Resources Board in 2021.

After 100+ years, the building that houses the Carousel was in need of structural repairs. The project restored the facade of the building to its original profile by removing the non-historic triangular roof extensions on the exterior, and stabilized the structure. The clerestory window frames were repaired, and repainted, including restorative work along the roof line. Both roofs were replaced, and historic photographs were used to guide decisions on roof design, materials, and paint color. Because the building had been modified many times, architectural features were carefully documented and compared to historic information. Wherever possible, original materials were preserved. 

Each year, 150,000 park goers enjoy the Carousel. An Orchid Award would recognize the importance of the historic building that houses the Carousel, and assist Forever Balboa Park to care for it into the future.

1889 Zoo Pl, San Diego, CA 92101

Project Owner/Developer:
Forever Balboa Park

Contact Name/Email:
Elizabeth Babcock, CEO, babcock.elizabeth@balboapark.org

Project Architect/Designer:
Heritage Architecture & Planning; Mark Sauer Construction, Inc.; and MJ Structural Engineers

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  1. Phillip Sammuli

    Yes, Forever Balboa Park has a remarkable vision for the park. The carousel is a fine example of more wonderful things to come

  2. Lisa

    The Carousel looks amazing!!!!

  3. Lisa Capano

    WOWOWOWOW the Carousel looks amazing

  4. Ann E Wilson

    The Carousel is looking the best its looked in years! Kudos to Forever Balboa Park for preserving this historic treasure for all San Diegans and visitors!

  5. Judith Bartlett

    This carousel is a National treasure! I love riding it when I’m visiting family in San Diego ❤️ It most certainly has earned an Orchid Award 🥇

  6. Lois Zaranka

    Beautiful job on the carousel.

  7. Marisa Ailey

    The restoration is absolutely beautiful. We are so fortunate to have such a lovely piece of history in San Diego.

  8. Anthony Devine

    I love this carousel so so much! I’ve visited for years!

  9. Karen Wilde

    Our family has the fondest memories of this wonderful carousel. My father born in 1918, watched them build it, brought us kids to enjoy riding it, also my kids and my grandkids and soon my great grandkids will have the same thrill. May the carousel continue on forever.

  10. Sue Macdonald

    The carousel is such a fantastic step back in time for all the youngsters
    and the adults and friends who bring them here! So important to preserve the carousel that brings so many smiles & good times for everyone! I brought my niece and nephews here 20+ years ago!

  11. Judy Brown

    The carousel is a treasure for all San Diegans and San Diego visitors to enjoy. It has been beautifully maintained and lovingly cared for. A very enjoyable place to visit.


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