• Solar-powered carousel opens at National Zoo

    2013-01-11

    Officials at the Smithsonian Institution recently announced that the facility's new solar-powered carousel is open to the public.

    The attraction will feature 58 hand-carved animals, many of which are currently on the list of endangered species, including elephants, frogs, hummingbirds, lions and pandas. The carousel will be powered by 162 solar panels, and officials at the National Zoo said any excess power generated by the ride will be fed back into the facility's electrical grid.

    A spokesperson for the National Zoo said that the Speedwell Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in New Jersey, contributed approximately $1.5 million toward the construction of the carousel, and that the remaining $800,000 was covered by donations.

    The ride officially opened earlier this week, and costs $3 per person per ride. Proceeds from ticket sales will be used to fund animal conservation programs at the zoo.

    "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."

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