Taking a ride on a carousel can induce Mary Poppin-like fantasies and smiles for young and old.  But you might not know that the carousel’s history has a not-so-child-like-past  --developed first as jousting training grounds for knights. These earlier carousels featured moving wooden horses positioned upon a rotating platform. Knights would climb onto the horses and practice piercing objects placed outside of the platform. Eventually, jousting became a thing of the past and today carousels are all about fun.

There are now hundreds of operating carousels in the U.S., but only a few are classic works of art that warrant a visit. Take a step back in time, relive your childhood and hop aboard some of the best carousels in the country.