French carrousel, from Italian carosello
- 1: a tournament or exhibition in which horsemen execute evolutions
- 2a : merry-go-round
- b : a circular conveyor <the luggage carousel at the airport>
- c : a revolving case or tray used for storage or display
A carousel (from French carrousel, from Italian carosello), or merry-go-round, is an amusement ride consisting of a rotating circular platform with seats for riders. The "seats" are traditionally in the form of rows of wooden horses or other animals mounted on posts, many of which are moved up and down by gearwork to simulate galloping, to the accompaniment of looped circus music. This leads to one of the alternative names, the galloper. Other popular names are jumper, roundabout, horseabout and flying horses.
Carousels are commonly populated with horses, each horse weighing roughly 100 lbs (45 kg), but may include diverse varieties of mounts, like pigs, zebras, tigers, mythological creatures (such as dragons, sea monsters or unicorns), and deer, to name a few. Sometimes, chairlike or benchlike seats are used as well, and occasionally mounts can be shaped like airplanes or cars.
Any rotating platform may also be called a carousel. In a playground, a roundabout or merry-go-round is usually a simple, child-powered rotating platform with bars or handles to which children can cling while riding. At an airport, rotating conveyors in the baggage claim area are often called carousels. Various photographic slide projectors, notably those made by Kodak until 2004, used rotating trays or magazines called carousels to hold the slides and were often known as "carousel projectors".
In Europe, merry-go-rounds (as they are most often referred to in those countries) usually turn clockwise, while in North America, carousels typically go counterclockwise (anticlockwise) - looked on from above. One mounts a real horse by lifting one's right leg over the animal's back as it stands with its head towards one's left (the horse's left side is called its "near" side). Likewise for a carousel that turns anti-clockwise: one stands on the near side of the horse to mount (towards the center of the carousel, not on its outer edge). One possible reason for carousels in the USA turning anti-clockwise may be so that the rider can use their right hand to catch a brass ring.In Asia,they often go clockwise.