I could show you pictures of the World’s Largest Carousel at the House on the Rock. I could probably even find some YouTube of it somewhere. But until you’ve been there yourself … until you’ve walked into that basement and been blinded by thousands on thousands of lights and assaulted by the loudest carousel music ever … until you’ve stood there and stared up at hundreds of mythical creatures going round and round and round … there is no way you’d understand. It is a thing of beauty.
The House on the Rock, built by collector and visionary Alex Jordan, is a wonder itself. It is (and this will shock you) built into the rock. It’s huge, but built small. There are staircases leading everywhere, through narrow hallways with low ceilings. Bookcases are built into every cranny, as are long, low benches with dark cushions.
A mountain stream runs through the house, coming inside as a small waterfall along the rocks that make up one wall. It’s so, so beautiful. After touring the house, there are two more tours, filled with animatronic wonders. And then, of course, there is the World’s Largest Carousel. Just down the road a few miles is Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin, which we oohed and aahed at but did not tour.
As I write this, we are in Wisconsin Dells, Wis. We’re not far from where we were yesterday morning (in the peaceful home of Benet and his wonderful wife), but it’s because we spent so long having fun at the House, taking pictures of Taliesin and touring the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum.
For your continued viewing pleasure, here’s a small piece of the Madison, Wis., Monona Terrace community centre, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright: