What I love about Carousel Park is that it offers something different. This unique park is tucked in along a busy road in the Newark/Wilmington area and I’ve driven past it a ton of times and hesitated to check it out because my initial thought was that it was only for horse people. Boy, was I wrong!
While the predominant theme of the park is equine related, it has so much more to offer. My kids love ALL farm animals, but especially horses so they were excited when I told them we were going to get to see a whole bunch of them. This is such a cool opportunity to get up close and personal with horses and experience a farm environment. Carousel Park is home to New Castle County’s mounted police so don’t be alarmed when you see all the law enforcement vehicles on site. They also offer pony rides and a cute little town façade and have goats, chickens, peacocks and bunnies to see.
It’s surprisingly hilly there, so I’d say about half of the trails are stroller friendly. I took ours because we planned to walk a mile loop and I know my kids would be complaining (and they did) but it was rough pushing even an empty stroller up the hills and over the tree roots. I was wishing I hadn’t taken it.
Before we got to the park, I briefly looked over the trail map and decided on our route but once we arrived, I found myself feeling completely lost. From the parking lot, there’s no real indicator as to which way the trail goes so I wandered around aimlessly until I could figure it out. My goal was to do the loop around Enchanted Lake which seemed simple enough…
Our first landmark to use to make sure we were on the right track was the Blue Lagoon, so when we found that I was super relieved. It was home to a beautiful, friendly black swan, tons of turtles and fish. The path at this point is paved, and as you walk toward the lake, you will have to go up a hill. We had to decide whether to go left up the “Secret Escape Route” or right on the road we were already on. I let D choose and of course he selected the more difficult option so left we went. That’s where things got tricky. Once we were in the woods, there were lot of small trails intersecting with no labels or blazes to tell us where to go. So I am going to save you some trouble and tell you how to avoid getting lost as best I can.
When you get to the parking lot you are going to walk past the NCC police horse trailers to the ring. Next to there you will see the goats, bunnies, and peacocks straight ahead. If you turn right and walk past the peacocks, the chickens will be on your right. Go down the hill on the paved road until you get to a bridge in front of you. Go right. The Blue Lagoon will be on your left once your exit the wooded area and a horse pasture will be on your right. After you pass that area you will arrive at the base of a hill where you need to choose to go left over a bridge and up the Cinderella Steps (aka Secret Escape Route) or right and stay on the road. If you go right, you will arrive at a playground and picnic area and have a great view of the lake. If you don’t want to do the mile loop, you’ll want to go right. If you go left, you’ll go in to the woods and up the hill. At the top of the hill, go right. Once you arrive at an area with a little bridge over a creek on your right, go that way over the bridge and up a steep hill. This is where we went wrong. We went straight out Hansel and Gretel’s path and came out to a big grassy hill. The boys saw a playground off in the distance and had their eye on the prize. What I couldn’t see from far away is that there is a chain link fence around it because it’s in the swim club area so we walked all the way up there for nothing. We had to head back to that little bridge to get back on track. After that it was a piece of cake.
Now that you know all that you can have an awesome adventure at Carousel Park and hopefully find the five rocks we hid there!