Midwest Living Review
A carousel's happy organ music inspires happiness. And it's smiles all around at the C.W. Parker Carousel Museum. In 1910, Parker moved his company from Abilene to Leavenworth to expand production facilities needed to support the country's four largest traveling carnivals, all owned by Parker. The Leavenworth operation built more carousels than any other manufacturer in the world, as well as carnival show fronts, shooting galleries and Ferris wheels. One of only five carousel museums in the country, Leavenworth's museum is run entirely by volunteers who lovingly restore C.W. Parker Amusement Company carousels and display three in the riverside showroom. Ride the 1913 carousel of leaping horses and Kansas jackrabbits, a spinning "lover's tub" car for two and an original Wurlitzer organ. There's a rare pre-Civil War hand-carved horse carousel likely created by slaves and a 1950 child-size cast-aluminum horse carousel. Don't miss the "horse ranch" upstairs where guests can view carousel restoration techniques and freaky artifacts from Parker's traveling carnivals. Museum admission includes a carousel ride and tour: $6 adult, $3 children ages 12 and up (additional rides, $1.25). Smiles are free!