Woodland Park Zoo unleashes solar carousel ponies

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by GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on January 24, 2011 at 5:58 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 24 at 7:08 PM

SEATTLE -- The painted ponies on the historic carousel at Woodland Park Zoo are getting a little TLC.

Workers are sprucing up the hand-crafted figures for another big season and, when the ride reopens early next month, it will feature a different kind of horse power. Forty-eight solar panels are being installed by Puget Sound Solar on the attraction's large roof. When it's completed, it will pump a healthy 9.2 kilowatts into the Seattle City Light system and offset the cost of powering the carousel.

It's a much different power source than the one used to spin the horses back in 1918. It was hand-built for the Cincinnati Zoo, which later sold it. After making a few turns at other parks, the exhibit ended up in Seattle where it has become a Woodland Park favorite.

It is the latest edition to the zoo's assortment of alternative powered attractions, including the new penguin exhibit which features a geothermal heating system and recycled water.

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