The Flying Horses Carousel has long been one of the most popular attractions in Martha's Vineyard. A National Historic Landmark, it has been on the island since 1884, though 1876 was the year that it was built. No platform carousel in the country is older, at least when it comes to carousels that are still operating, and this can be evidenced by the hand-carved horses. These horses, unlike carousel animals that can be found on later models, don't move up or down as they lack the necessary gears. What they don't lack is style, however, and you might fancy the fact that their manes feature real horse hair.
The Martha's Vineyard town of Oak Bluffs is where you can find the Flying Horses Carousel. This wasn't always the case, however. Built by the legendary Charles W. Dare Company, this carousel originally called Coney Island home. An attorney by the name of F.O. Gordon had it moved to Martha's Vineyard in 1884, and it has remained on the island ever since. Today, the Martha's Vineyard Preservation Trust owns and operates the Flying Horses Carousel, and it has strived to present the ride as it has always been. This means that you can still play the fun brass ring game.
The Flying Horses Carousel brass ring game harkens back to the days when many carousels featured similar challenges. The game works as such. As the carousel goes around and around, riders try to grab rings from metal casings that can be found on the inside and the outside of the track. Some riders are quite skilled and can grab more than one ring at a time, though it doesn't necessarily matter how many rings you grab if you don't get the brass one. This ring is made available at the end, and whoever manages to snag it gets a free ride.
Should you wish to enjoy a ride on the Flying Horses Carousel during your trip to Oak Bluffs, there are a few things to consider. It is open daily from late May to early September, with the operating hours being 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. From mid-October to mid-April, it is closed altogether, and the rest of the year, there are off season hours that vary.
If you want to check the carousel's hours during an off season visit to Oak Bluffs, you can always visit the tourist information booth that can be found right across the street. Information booths like these are found in relatively good number in Martha's Vineyard, they also provide information on attractions and hotels. The fee to ride the Flying Horses Carousel is a fairly small one, and it is possible to save some money by buying your tickets in bulk.
When you're not riding the historic carousel during your time in the Martha's Vineyard town of Oak Bluffs, there will be plenty of other enticing options for things to do. Some of the best public beaches in Martha's Vineyard call Oak Bluffs home, for example, and no visit to the town would be complete without seeing its numerous gingerbread cottages.