Carousel in Oakland’s Schenley Plaza Opens for the Season

Emilia, 3, entered the gate for the PNC Carousel in Schenley Plaza in Oakland.

She slowly walked around, considering riding several of the animals.

Then she ran towards the teacup.

“Do you want me to ride the teacup too?” asked her mother Kelly Marek, of Imperial, on Monday, the opening day for the attraction.

The little girl shook her head in affirmation.

They enjoyed the short ride before Emilia asked for ice cream.

“She loves the teacup,” said her mom. “We’ve ridden one at Idlewild (& SoakZone in Ligonier) and Hershey Park. This was her first time riding this one.”


Shawn Fertitta, director of visitor experiences for Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy (left), hooks the chain on the teacup ride for Kelly Marek (right), of Imperial, and her 3-year-old daughter, Emilia.

It’s the 16th year for the carousel, which annually debuts in mid-April and is open into the fall.

The carousel is considered a menagerie carousel because it features not just a traditional horse, but a camel, elephant, giraffe, ostrich, rabbit, seahorse, and other animals meant to symbolize the diversity of Pittsburgh and its people, said Shawn Fertitta, director of visitor experience for the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, which operates the carousel.

The merry-go-round was renovated with brass plating, anti-slip deck surfacing and fresh paint on the brightly-colored fiberglass resin animals that give it a nostalgic look.


The PNC Carousel in Schenley Plaza in Oakland opened for the season on April 11.

Old-time Wurlitzer carousel music plays in the background. The amusement park ride can accommodate 17 people at one time.

The carousel pays homage to one that was previously located in Schenley Park from the early 1900s, Fertitta said. It is a ride that is popular because it’s familiar to most people, he said. It also brings back childhood memories.

It was designed to accommodate everyone from the students at nearby colleges and universities to couples, adults, children, families and those with special needs.

The merry-go-round is located not far from the Carnegie Library and Carnegie Museum. There are nearby restaurants. Plaza restrooms are open to the public and there is a large, tented area with chairs and tables.


A giraffe is one of several animals on the PNC Carousel in Schenley Plaza in Oakland, which opened for the season on April 11.

Children can celebrate their birthdays at the carousel. It’s been a backdrop for bridal party photos and graduation pictures.

“The carousel is a wonderful addition to the plaza,” Fertitta said. “The carousel opens in the spring, which is a time for renewal and hope.”

The PNC Carousel is located at 4100 Forbes Ave. in Schenley Plaza in Oakland.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week with modified hours on holidays and inclement weather. It is wheelchair-accessible.

The second Sunday of the month from June through October is Kid’s Day, which features free rides. There are also lawn games and other activities.

Rides are $2. Tokens can be purchased using a credit card at a kiosk or the nearby Asia Tea House restaurant.

A $60 season pass, providing unlimited rides for two adults and up to four children, can be purchased at the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy website. An Access or EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) card secures one free ride for each member of a family per visit.

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 724-853-5062, or via Twitter