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National Zoo opens solar-powered carousel in DC

Sunday - 12/2/2012, 2:09am  ET

A hand-carved and hand-painted scimitar-horned oryx and red-necked ostrich from the National Zoo's new solar-powered carousel. (Courtesy of Devin Murphy/Smithsonian's National Zoo)
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Carousel at the National Zoo runs on solar power

Kathy Stewart, WTOP


Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The Smithsonian's National Zoo is opening a new solar-powered carousel with hand-carved, hand-painted figures representing many endangered animals.

The Speedwell Foundation, a private family foundation based in Summit, N.J., donated $1.5 million of the $2.3 million cost to build the carousel. A zoo spokeswoman says donations covered the remainder.

The ride was named the Speedwell Foundation Conservation Carousel. It opened Monday and costs $3 per person to ride. Proceeds from ticket sales will support animal care and conservation research at the zoo.

The carousel is powered by 162 solar panels donated and installed by Pepco Energy Services. The zoo says any excess energy is redirected to the zoo's electrical grid.

There are 58 animals represented on the carousel. They include elephants, pandas, frogs, hummingbirds, blue crabs, lions and other critters.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)