Hundreds of kids and adults lined up to ride the Balboa Carousel during the 75th Anniversary of the Fun Zone in Newport Beach this weekend. They threw their nickels into a jar and enjoyed a final farewell, though many were unaware that in several days, the landlord (Newport Harbor Nautical Museum) expects the ride to be gone. Talk about taking the fun out of the Fun Zone!
While the owner of the carousel has a much longer lease on the Ferris Wheel that overlooks the ferry landing and the bay, he says that it’s hard to maintain the two rides without them being offered as a pair. Evidence of that is clear at Long Beach’s Shoreline Village where a single Ferris Wheel generally sits still with nothing surrounding it to draw people in.
During Balboa’s anniversary day on Saturday, September 24, 2011, over 1,000 people came to celebrate prices not seen since 1936 when this Newport Beach icon was established along the waterfront. 45 minute boat tours on the Queen were offered for a quarter, Ferris Wheel rides a nickel, ferry boat rides a quarter, and even the nautical museum let people explore the exhibits for a mere 25 cents.
I lined up for the 45 minute tour of the bay that runs daily (except Thanksgiving & Christmas) where a family with five kids all under the age of 8 sat next to me. I thought I was saving a bundle by getting a $14 ride for $0.25, but they had me beat–all 7 of them, mom & dad included! We saw the waterfront mansions once owned by the likes of Shirley Temple, Mrs. Fields, Dick Dale, Gillette (razor), Buddy Ebsen and J.C. Penney.
I had a fun day but was among all who found out that they were probably taking their last ride on the carousel. We were saddened by the news that much of the fun will be gone–especially for the little ones–the kids who come to Balboa Fun Zone to sit on a painted pony, listen to lively music and ride in circles. – thebalboafunzone.com