One of the coolest stories you'll find in Colorado is the story of US Marine Scott Harrison, who returned home after serving in Vietnam. After experiencing the horrors of war, he just wanted to find a way to help make people happy.

The story of the Carousel of Happiness is tied to a small music box that Harrison kept with him in Vietnam. During some of the worst times overseas, the music box reminded Harrison of a carousel in a mountain meadow in Colorado.

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Colorado's Carousel of Happiness

In 1986, Harrison purchased the frame of a 1917 Looff Carousel from Saltair Theme Park in Salt Lake City. Another buyer had purchased all the animals from the carousel, but Scott purchased the frame and started carving new animals. It took Harrison 26 years to completly restore the carousel, the animals, and the motor and band organ. When complete, the community of Nederland raised the $700,000 needed to build a permanent home for the Carousel of Happiness, found in Caribou Village in Nederland.

Hours of Operation and Tickets

The Carousel of Happiness is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. It is also open Monday and Thursday from 11 am to 5 pm. Tickets cost $3 per rider. Children 9 months and under can ride for free. Find out more info by visiting

Support the Carousel of Happiness

Circus Foundry will present a Summer Circus Fundraiser on July 27, 2024. The circus will be held in Chipeta Park in Nederland and benefits the Carousel of Happiness and helps keep them spinning.

You can support Scott and the Carousel of Happiness by adopting an animal on the carousel for up to one year, or by adopting one of the outer round board paintings around the carousel.

Check out photos of one of the happiest places in Colorado below.

12 Reasons Everyone Should Visit Colorado’s Carousel of Happiness

The backstory of Colorado's Carousel of Happiness is one of our state's most inspiring stories. Keep reading to learn more about the story of US Marine Scott Harrison, who returned from the war in Vietnam and made it his mission to inspire happiness at home in his community.

Gallery Credit: Wesley Adams

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