Cafesjian’s Carousel: FREE & Cheap Rides in Como Park

It has become a spring tradition of ours to visit Cafesjian’s Carousel, the beautiful antique merry-go-round in Como Park. In the spring the temps are cooler and the price is always unbeatable (even on days it is not free). For those of you who love a Minnesota State Fair connection, the hand-carved horses called the Fairgrounds home until the 1980’s. A St. Paul couple saved this large carousel from the auction block, carefully restored the 68 hand-carved horses and 2 chariots, preserving the original paint, and eventually were able to raise enough money for the carousel’s permanent pavilion home near the entrance of Como Zoo. It is now run by volunteers during the warmer months.


Cafesjian’s Carousel, Como Zoo Pavilion, 1245 Midway Pkwy, Saint Paul, MN 55103

Park Location: Choose the Palm Lot for the closest parking. You’ll find the carousel southwest of the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory and the zoo’s visitor center next to Cleveland Court. Find a full-color, printable map of the entire carousel, zoo, conservatory, Como Town area (including all the family restrooms) here.

May 1st through Labor Day

  • Mondays: 11 a.m. — 1:15 p.m.
  • Last Tuesday of the Month: FREE DAYS
  • Thursday-Friday: 11 a.m. — 4 p.m.
  • Saturday-Sunday: 11 a.m. — 6 p.m.

September 5th Through Halloween

  • Weekends: 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Admission to Cafesjian’s Carousel:

The 2023 prices hold steady at $3.00 for a nice long ride.

  • Tickets $3.00/ride
  • Children under age 1 ride free with paying adult.
  • Adults over 90 also ride free.

2023 Free Days.

While the everyday price is a good deal, you can’t beat FREE. Traditionally, free days are offered once a month during the season. In 2023, free dates all fall on Tuesdays from 11am to 4pm.

  • May 30, 2023
  • June 27,2023
  • July 25, 2023
  • August 29, 2023
  • September 26, 2023

girl riding Cafesjian's Carousel at Como Park in Saint Paul Minnesota


Planning a day at Como Park?  Don’t forget all these fun ideas:

Minnesota Carousels:

Carousel rides offer vintage family fun that doesn’t go out of style. Their history dates back to the 18th century, but at that time, they were called “merry-go-rounds” and “dobbies.” Always a fun family experience, we have more beautiful options for carousel enthusiasts in the Twin Cities. These are the rest of our favorite Minnesota carousels:

Conservation Carousel in Minnesota Zoo

Northern Trail, Minnesota Zoo, 13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley, MN 55124
Featuring 56 world animals on the carousel platform. This ride is wheelchair accessible and runs from about Memorial Day weekend through the end of September, weather permitting. There is a small fee to ride in addition to zoo admission.

Island Carousel in Maplewood Mall

3001 White Bear Ave, St Paul, MN 55109
This indoor double decker Venetian Carousel was refurbished in 2011 and runs year-round since weather is not a concern. Kids are going to want to climb to the top of this two-story ride, so plan ahead when visiting the mall.

Lark Toys

63604 170th Ave, Kellogg, MN 55945
A carousel inside the toy store! for a small fee, kids can ride when you visit to shop. The animals are all hand-carved and a bit more imaginative than just horses. There is also an 18-hole mini-golf course and an ice-cream shop inside this toy store.

Minnesota State Fair Carousel

1245 Midway Pkwy, St Paul, MN 55103
Open during the 10 days of the Minnesota State Fair, find the carousel near the Grandstand in Murai Park.  Bonus: Most of the county fairs offer Merry Go Rounds, too.  Find our full list of county fairs in our Year-Round Festival & Fairs Guide.

Girl riding carousel at the Minnesota State Fair
Minnesota State Fair Carousel

Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America

5000 Center Ct, Bloomington, MN 55425
A modern carousel with a vintage vibe. This carousel will require a wristband and is a 3-pt ride. Appropriate for all ages, it is included among the rides available with the Toddler Tuesday wristband. With three rows of horses and other creatures, kids are bound to find a horse that is just right for them. Note some horses are jumpers and other do not go up and down. Point this out to your kids when they are choosing their rides.

River Hills Mall in Mankato

1850 Adams St, Mankato, MN 56001

Open daily, this indoor carousel costs 1 token to ride. Purchase at the token machine in 1, 3, 7 or 15 token increments.


1 Valley Fair Dr, Shakopee, MN 55379
Another vintage carousel. This one was built in 1925 for the Excelsior Amusement Park. Kids can ride along if they are over 46 inches tall. Otherwise, an adult needs to ride along.

Carousel History Fun

It could be fun to try ride as many Minnesota Carousels as possible and study the history of carousels together while you work towards that goal. Here are a couple resources.

6 thoughts on “Cafesjian’s Carousel: FREE & Cheap Rides in Como Park”

  1. Nice to see your update info post! Actually i have been to the Minnesota this August and played the carousel rides in a amusement park.

    1. I’m glad you had a chance to enjoy Minnesota in August, Jack! As you can probably guess, most of the carousel’s close around here in winter. We do have one in Maplewood Mall that runs all year. If you ever come back in the winter months, you should check it out.

  2. Thanks Ashley, but note that this is currently last year’s information. We’ll be updating for 2017 soon. Stay tuned.

  3. Thanks for your great sharing!
    It is fairly useful!
    You just do a great work! 🙂
    I am also interested in different amusement rides, especially the carousel rides.

  4. Wow! I come across so very few Carousel experts. We should get together to discuss sometime. Have you ridden Cafesjians? It’s maybe not as awesome as the double carousel on San Francisco’s bay, but we love it here in the Twin Cities.

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