When CoVID-19 forced a shutdown of all venues in Griffith Park – including the Autry, LA Zoo, Griffith Observatory, Greek Theatre, etc. – I contacted Julio Gosdinksi, the owner/manager of the Griffith Park Merry-go-Round to talk about the long-term ramifications. We met at the ride to share a meal (distanced across a picnic table) and he showed me the steps being taken to ensure kids would be safe on the ride once the merry-go-round reopened.
It’s now nearly 2021, and unfortunately many Park venues are still closed to the public, although some are finally reopening; the LA Zoo, for instance, requires guests to wear masks and practice social distancing.
As Los Angeles begins to emerge from a long Rip Van Winkle sleep and moves into less stringent safety restrictions, the Griffith Park Merry-go-Round will remain shuttered; the future of this iconic family-friendly attraction is in jeopardy.
For the past nine years, Julio was instrumental in keeping this historic 1920s-era art piece in top working condition. Maintenance was never easy, especially on the 68 wooden horses and complicated mechanism that kept the painted ponies moving up and down while spinning guests gently around in the lush Griffith Park greenery.
An employee since he was a teenager, Julio was handed co-ownership of the ride in 2011, a responsibility he took seriously and to heart. The Griffith Park Merry-go-Round has delighted families, first dates and grandparents for decades. Julio knew that and always welcomed everyone with a big smile.
When Julio suddenly passed away in early August, the fate of his and OUR beloved Merry-go-Round entered into limbo.
One thing is abundantly clear – the Griffith Park Merry-go-Round is an important feature of Griffith Park, one that brings visitors from around the world just to take a ride and pose for a photo. Now, LA Recreation and Parks must decide how to keep this carousel in the Park, especially now that Julio’s smiling face and generous nature will be missing.
~Kathryn Louyse, FoGP Board member
It is fairly well-documented that Walt Disney first began dreaming of a large theme park when he and his daughters were riding the Merry Go Round. Perhaps Disney or a Disney fan group could help with the restoration and interpretation of the Merry Go Round?
Don Scott, Born Atwater 1943, rode the Merry Go Round joyously with cousins in the mid-40’s
Any updates on this? It would be such a tragedy to let it fall into disrepair! Are they actually just going to let it sit there decaying?? Who owns it now?
We’ve been told by RAP this ride is currently undergoing some necessary maintenance, although there’s so specific plans for when it’ll reopen, so please stay tuned as we try to get more information.
I went yesterday to Griffith park and wanted to ride the merry go round and it was closed. I did some online research and saw all this info. I’d love to know if there are any updates and how I can help to get it re-opened. I have fond memories of riding as a child. I am passionate about it with a history of doing a lot of volunteering and coordinating with fundraising and things like that. I also am a passionate Disney fan so there are two passions driving me here
Currently this venue is closed for several reasons. One of the owners passed away several years back sans will. It’s now in probate. Also, some of mechanical parts are in need of repair and until these are made, the ride remains closed. We’ve been reaching out to the City to insure the ride continues to be protected in the meantime.
I would love to help assist in any restoration efforts of the carousel. I have experience in wood preparation & painting. If you know whom I should contact I will appreciate you letting me know.
Brendon… we’ve been attempting to work with the current owner on some restoration, and will keep you in mind if we are able to move forward with restoration. Thanks for contacting us.
I had heard once that they were allowing families to “adopt” the carousel horses, in essence paying to help restore an individual horse. Is this still going on? This carousel brings so much joy to my son. It’s the first thing we do when we come to stay at Disneyland. I could never imagine a Griffith Park without it.
While we’ve not heard this… it’s something that certainly could be explored. Currently the Griffith Park Merry-go-Round is privately owned/operated, but housed in a RAP-owned building.
I took some pre-teens for a ride in my ’56 Chevy Convertible. I team with clubs all over So. Cal doing car shows. Raising funds with only a car show is slow and usually under $3,500 mostly from entry fees.
I believe I can get Jay Leno behind such a project, if Griffith Park can provide a suitable Space to show the classics. I can imagine that maybe 250-300 cars. If we can convince the city to allow Vendors, we could raise a nice start-up on funds to restore this iconic one of a kind piece of history.
Our suggestion… reach out to LA Recreation and Parks who oversees these types of projects. FoGP hosts volunteer efforts in the Park, not car shows.
Please! When is it going to reopen?
The Griffith Park Merry-go-Round is finally back up and running, albeit only Saturday and Sunday for the current future. 11-5 PM. Have fun and spread the word.
that’s great news!!!