A girl takes a spin on the Fun Zone carousel in 2006. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles…)
The carousel at the Balboa Fun Zone in Newport Beach is expected to reopen under new ownership — but far from the waterfront perch where it spun for decades.
Patrick Moore, the longtime operator of the Fun Zone rides, said Thursday that the carousel would be relocated to the inland city of Westminster, close to the 405 Freeway, under a deal still being finalized.
"One of the reasons that I agreed to this sale is that it would keep it nearby and open to the public," Moore said in an email. "Not the ideal place for those of us who remember it from the Fun Zone, but at least we can visit it.
"I wish I had a backyard to keep it in until it could find its way back into Balboa," he added. "But I don't and I am not in a financial position to hold on to it unless it is in use."
The carousel stopped operating in September after the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum declined to renew the lease for the land on which it sat.
The museum plans to use the area to host community events and educational programs as it phases in ExplorOcean, an interactive learning center.
The center won't affect the Ferris wheel, arcade shops or other features of the three-block Fun Zone, said Rita Stenlund, the museum's president.
"I believe we are all talking about a common goal: putting the fun back in the Fun Zone," she said.
On Nov. 5, more than 50 students from Corona del Mar High School and Newport residents staged a protest at the Fun Zone. They carried signs that read "Keep Our Culture Alive," "Leave Our Fun Zone Alone" and "Don't Harm Our Charm."