I just got back from the ribbon cutting for the newest addition at the LA Zoo. It's not an elephant habitat, nor is it a new terrarium for some cool insects--it's a brand new carousel known as the Tom Mankiewicz Conservation Carousel. Mankiewicz was a screenwriter and chairman of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association who passed away last year. And unlike your standard horse and giraffe merry-go-round, the flora and fauna found on this carousel are wildly diverse: seals, big horned sheep, cheetas, even a dung beetle. All in the name of conservation!
My favorite part--and what makes this particular carousel most unique--is the music. The carousel politiely passes on the nostalgic calloipe in favor of something I think aimed more at the parents: artists like The Carpenters, Amy Grant, and Peter Frampton serenade riders as they glide surrealy on their komodo dragons, horses and tree frogs around the carousel. You can thank prinicpal donors Ann and Jerry Moss for that: Jerry Moss is the "M" in A&M and all of the music comes courtesy of artists on the hallowed label.
You can see (and ride) the new carousel for yourself: it's on display now at the LA Zoo. Go to their website for details.