With all the gadgets and high-tech gear aimed at entertaining kids these days, it’s a welcome respite to climb aboard the jewel-encrusted dragons and ornate zoo animals of this historic carousel in Yerba Buena Gardens. It was built between 1904 and 1906 by Charles I. D. Looff, a famed creator of hand-carved carousels and amusement park rides. San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake delayed the carousel’s arrival, sending it briefly to Seattle before it finally arrived at San Francisco’s beloved Playland-at-the-Beach, where it twirled for almost 60 years. When the park closed in 1972, the carousel was on the move again, first sitting in storage in New Mexico then to Long Beach, California. In 1988, San Francisco civil rights leader LeRoy King led an effort to bring the carousel home. Why? Love! He’d taken his wife to Playland on their first date and rode the carousel in the 1930s. The city purchased the carousel, placed it next to the Children’s Creativity Museum, and renamed it for King. The carousel is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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