FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – One of the favorite attractions at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is the Endangered Species carousel and one of the people who keeps it going ’round is Fred Blakley.
“It’s fun. I love it. I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Fred said.
Fred’s been retired for 20 years and five years ago he decided to get a job at the zoo.
“I said I’d like to run the carousel and he said, ‘You’re hired!’ He said no one wants to run the carousel because they don’t like the music. I said I love the music so this is a dream job for me,” Fred laughed.
Four days a week, Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday, zoo guests can find Fred running the carousel. He’s full of fun facts.
“There are 36 animals. The carousel is 29 years old and they are solid wood animals. They don’t make wooden animals anymore so these are unique and antique,” he said. “There are 357 light bulbs on the carousel. There’s also a hidden treasure. The King’s Crown. Sometimes people will get off and say they couldn’t find it and I tell them you have to look up.”
Fred’s fans have made him Fort Wayne famous.
“In the grocery store kids will come up and say you run the carousel and their mom will come up and say, ‘Yeah you do, we’ve been to the zoo.’ That’s happened a few times and that’s surprised me,” Fred laughed.
Fred grew up in Connersville, Indiana and moved to Fort Wayne 55 years ago. Now he’s a memorable part of the zoo’s 59-year history.
“I could be here forever, probably,” he smiled.
The zoo is open for this season until October 29.