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SAN DIEGO – The Balboa Park Carousel has finally reopened after being closed for more than a year during the pandemic. 

“It was strange, I’m used to seeing all the happy faces,” said Bill Brown, who has been operating the carousel for almost 50 years. 

Kids were literally jumping up and down with excitement on opening day. 

“This is his first time on the carousel, he’s pretty excited you can probably tell,” said one father while waiting in line. 

“It’s a big day, a lot of people have been waiting for it all year long,” Brown said. “People have been asking me ‘when are you going to open?’”

“I didn’t know I’d remember everything, but it’s like riding a bike, greasing the machinery and everything,” he said.

Brown is ecstatic to say the carousel is in even better shape than before.

“We took the opportunity to do a lot of work on the carousel, we painted the animals, painted the building, did a lot of restoration work,” he said.

The restoration project was completed thanks to nonprofit Friends of Balboa Park and community donations.

The carousel is only open on weekends for now. Starting June 15 it will be open daily.