The Speedwell Foundation Conservation Carousel—one of the only solar-powered carousels in the world—is now open at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, Washington, D.C. The carousel, created by the Carousel Works in Mansfield, OH, features hand-carved and hand-painted animals and has a net-zero impact on the Zoo’s energy consumption. One hundred and sixty-two solar panels donated and installed by Pepco Energy Services power the Conservation Carousel. Any excess energy is diverted back to the Zoo’s electrical grid.
“First and foremost, the carousel is a great attraction for the whole family,” said Dennis Kelly, director of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. “But I’m hoping that the riders will be inspired by the conservation messages. Some of the gorgeous animals reflect the great conservation success stories of our time while others represent animals we are racing to save.”
The Conservation Carousel features 56 hand-carved and painted animals for visitors to ride. Many represent endangered species that Zoo scientists and animal care experts have spent years studying, breeding or working to reintroduce to the wild. Some unique figures on this carousel include a hummingbird, cuttlefish, clam, three-banded armadillo, Fiji Islands iguana, octopus and a naked mole rat.
The animals spin past scenery panels depicting scenes from forest, grassland, savannah and aquatic habitats. Decorative panels, each