Headed to Pullen Park for a carousel ride or a quick journey on the train? Don't bother. The landmark park near downtown Raleigh is closed. And closed for a long time - through summer 2011.
The area inside the train tracks, which includes the carousel, lake, boats and playground, is closed for some major renovations. By the time it opens in 18 months, there will be a completely new structure to protect the historic carousel, a new welcome center and concessions building, new restrooms and train station. There also will be more gathering spaces and picnic shelters. And a completely new playground is in the works, including some shaded structures. Click here (it's a pdf) to see the playground plans.
And here's more about the Pullen Park master plan.
A city employee was kind enough to show me around the park the other day. I got there a little early and saw several people planning an afternoon at the park only to turn away when they saw it was closed.
If you've promised a carousel ride, there are three others in the Triangle. Chavis Park is only about two miles from Pullen Park at 505 MLK Jr. Blvd. There also are carousels at Cary Towne Center and Northgate Mall in Durham (which has a train as well).
The Pullen Park arts and aquatic centers remain open. And you can still use the picnic tables and shelters outside of the train tracks.
I plan to follow construction at the park over the coming months. Check this video to see what it looks like right now (pretty empty).