No trip to St. Joseph is complete without riding the Silver Beach Carousel, open year-round and just a short walk from the shores of Lake Michigan. Before you plan your trip, here are 10 tips for making the most of your visit to the Carousel:
- Buy your tokens in bulk: Tokens start at $3 each, but the more tokens you buy, the more you’ll save per ride. And since the tokens don’t expire, save them for your next visit. If you have riders under 42” in height, an adult will need to stand next to them, holding them, at no additional cost.
- Make time to splash and eat: With the Whirlpool Compass Fountain just across the street and Silver Beach Pizza (and their delicious Carousel Pizza) just steps away, you’ll want to make a day of your trip to the Carousel.
- Save room for refreshments: Don’t overindulge on pizza - save room for Dippin’ Dots® ice cream and cotton candy from the Refreshment Stand inside the Carousel House. Or, put your name in across the street at Silver Beach Pizza, then enjoy some fresh-popped popcorn and take a ride while you wait.
- Take time to learn about the Silver Beach Amusement Park: From 1910-1971, the original Silver Beach Carousel spun along the shores of Lake Michigan with other attractions of the Silver Beach Amusement Park. Explore the Silver Beach Amusement Park Museum (inside the Brass Ring Gift Shop) and hear the stories of the wooden roller coasters, dancing to renowned musicians in Shadowland Ballroom, arriving by ships from Chicago and Milwaukee and the other quirky attractions that filled the boardwalk for generations.
- Bring quarters: In addition to the main event, there are many other ways to spend your time in the Carousel House. For only 25 cents, or use a token, you can watch the miniature train display that changes seasonally. Drop another quarter or token in the amusement park diorama and watch it come to life with all the sights and sounds. Color on coloring sheets made of your favorite figures. Rock in the rocking chairs and listen to the music of the two band organs.
- Plan a Thursday night venture during the off-season: From September to May, the Carousel hosts a Family Fun Night with special themes, giveaways, and rides for just $1. Follow the Facebook page for weekly updates.
- Plan ahead for parking: There is a parking lot dedicated to Silver Beach Center guests just behind the Carousel building (there is a fee to park from Memorial Day to Labor Day), however, it sometimes will close for Shadowland Ballroom wedding guests. Parking below the bluff can fill up early on nice days, but there are many city lots just above the bluff that are a quick walk away.
- Bring the whole family: The Carousel is not just for kids - it’s for all ages and abilities! There are two chariots (one is wheelchair accessible) and a ramp to assist with boarding. The Carousel also provides headphones and earplugs for those with sensory sensitivities or just prefer a quieter ride.
- Shop the Brass Ring Gift Shop: No trip to the Carousel is complete without perusing the gift shop shelves. Check out postcards to send home to family, cute Silver Beach Carousel branded gear, some of the coolest new toys, books, and more!
- Do you still have questions? Ask a Carousel volunteer! Volunteers are available during open hours to answer any questions you have. Want to know the best place to eat in St. Joseph? Upcoming events you can’t miss? Why there are two band organs? A volunteer can answer all those questions and more.
Learn more about the Carousel today: www.silverbeachcarousel.com