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Newport Beach's iconic Balboa Fun Zone carousel to stay in O.C.

November 11, 2011 |  8:33 am

    Balboa Fun Zone carousel
The iconic carousel at the Balboa Fun Zone in Newport Beach is expected to reopen under new ownership in the Westminster area in the spring.

Patrick Moore, the longtime operator of the Fun Zone rides, said Thursday that the carousel would land near the 405 Freeway under a deal still being finalized.

"One of the reasons that I agreed to this sale is that it would keep it nearby and open to the public," Moore said in an email to the Daily Pilot. "Not the ideal place for those of us who remember it from the Fun Zone, but at least we can visit it. I wish I had a backyard to keep it in until it could find its way back into Balboa, but I don't and I am not in a financial position to hold onto it unless it is in use."

The carousel stopped operating in September after the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum declined to renew the lease for the land where the carousel sat. The museum plans to use the area to host community events and educational programs as it phases in ExplorOcean, an interactive learning center.

The new center won't affect the Ferris wheel, arcade shops or other elements of the three-block Fun Zone, Rita Stenlund, the museum's president, wrote in a letter to the Daily Pilot.

"I believe we are all talking about a common goal — putting the fun back in the Fun Zone," she wrote.

On Nov. 5, more than 50 students from Corona del Mar High school and other residents staged a protest at the Fun Zone. They carried signs that read "Keep our Culture Alive," "Leave our Fun Zone Alone" and "Don't Harm Our Charm."


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Photo: The carousel at the Balboa Fun Zone in Newport Beach shut down in September. Credit: Kevin Chang / Daily Pilot