Carousel of Happiness

A nonprofit organization

$23,887 raised

100% complete

$15,000 Goal

The Carousel of Happiness inspires happiness and well-being as a piece of a living folk art. With 57 whimsical, hand-carved animals atop a 1910 carousel, spinning to the music of a vintage Wurlitzer band organ, the COH attracts people of all ages and abilities. Donations help to keep the carousel accessible to all, while creating happiness and joy for those who visit.


"The Carousel of Happiness has become a regular stop for travelers along the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway and brings visitors to Nederland from across the United States. It is inspiring to see this work of art -- the realization of one man's vision and an example of community support. The Town of Nederland is grateful to host such a gem." -- Joe Geirlach, Past Mayor of Nederland

"The Carousel staff is always super nice and accommodating to everyone in our group! It's so great how the actual carousel is accessible and the participants who utilize wheelchairs are able to ride with everyone else. Our large group can be loud and little overwhelming for some venues, but the Carousel staff are always smiling and appear to genuinely enjoy when we visit. They also let our group ride as much as they wanted for a very discounted price, which is always appreciated! When we visited the Carousel over Spring Break, the man running the carousel walked around while the kids were loading up and let them talk into the microphone; they just thought that was the coolest!" -- Instructors/Staff, Out & About Therapeutic Recreation - A Division of Imagine!

"Our organization has followed this unique carousel project as it progressed through the years. It is a perfect example of why antique carousels should be preserved and new ones created. The benefits will be seen on the faces of the visitors, whether they come to ride or learn, and whether they be young or old." -- Bette L. Largent, Past President, National Carousel Organization


Our mission is to inspire happiness, well-being, and service to others through stories and experiences.

Background Statement

The story of the Carousel of Happiness is the story of a young Marine, a derelict carousel and the small mountain town of Nederland. As a young Marine in Vietnam, Scott Harrison received a gift of a small music box, which he held to his ear to distract him from the horror of the war around him. The music brought him a peaceful image of a carousel in a mountain meadow.

Decades later, Scott rescued an abandoned 1910 carousel originally designed by the American carousel architect, Charles Looff, in Utah. He spent the next 26 years carving a new set of animals to bring it back to life. Amazingly, he had never carved before.

As he finished the last of the animals, the small community of Nederland (pop. 1,500) came together and raised the $700,000 to build it a home. Scott still lives in Nederland; he helps with carousel maintenance and occasionally serves as a guest operator. "I love coming to the carousel and seeing all ages of people enjoying the ride and finding little things that interest them on the carousel and in the building," he said. "I am overwhelmed, in a good way, by the great comments and hugs I get when I visit. My happiness is to be alive to see what this means to so many."

The Carousel of Happiness and its unique 12-sided building has become a destination for many individuals and groups as a place to lift one's spirits and forget life's troubles. Families come to enjoy some simple fun by riding and putting on puppet shows and connecting with one another in a creative environment. There is now a storytelling booth in the building as well, where visitors can record their own stories on a computer thumb drive for future generations to hear. We've given over a million rides since opening in 2010, and look forward to a million more with your support!

Organization Data


Organization name

Carousel of Happiness

other names


Year Established


Tax id (EIN)



Arts, Culture & Humanities


20 Lakeview Drive PO Box 1811
Nederland, CO 80466

Service areas

Boulder County, CO, US

Denver, CO, US

Gilpin County, CO, US

Broomfield County, CO, US

Jefferson County, CO, US



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