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New York, New York

The SeaGlass Carousel

Manhattan’s Battery Park has a new carousel, full of spinning, glowing fish. 

The SeaGlass Carousel at the Battery is housed inside a glass-paneled nautilus shell that sits atop the site of the original New York Aquarium. Constructed as a public-private project, it took ten years and several million dollars to bring its fish ashore. 

Opened in August 2015, the carousel is the creation of the Battery Conservancy and George Tsypin, a renowned opera and theater designer (the guy behind the staging of everything from LaScala operas, to the Sochi Olympics, to that “Spider-Man” musical). The SeaGlass Carousel features 30 fiberglass fish spotlighting 12 different species, and the mechanics are unique in that there’s no traditional center pole. Instead, by putting individual motors for each fish below the floor, the riders have unobstructed views—the fish both spin independently, and swirl around each other. There is a changing LED light display that makes you feel like you’re underwater, and each fish contains its own speakers that play aquatic sounds and music specifically composed for the ride. The nautilus shell exterior was designed by New York firm WXY architecture + urban design.

Each of the fish in the spinning contraption is modeled after an actual species ranging from tall angelfish to the much smaller clown triggerfish. No matter which you choose, it will resemble one underwater lifeform or another that can actually be found out in the world.

Even though $8 million of the total $16 million cost of the carousel came from public funds, the ride still charges a fee—$5 for 3 minutes (but kids under 12 months ride free). 

Know Before You Go

The carousel is in the Battery, accessible via several subway trains and bus lines. Visit their website for specifics, directions, and parking. They are open daily; check their website and Facebook page for current hours. Tickets are $5 (children 12 months and under ride for free). Kids under 42 inches have to ride on an adult’s lap (one kid per lap).