The Tom Mankiewicz Conservation Carousel will open next week on a hill overlooking the Elephants of Asia exhibit at the LA Zoo, so soon you'll be able to ride a poison dart frog while rocking out to Styx. Awesome. The carousel's major donors are A&M Records cofounder Jerry Moss and his wife Ann Moss, who provided a soundtrack from the A&M catalog, including tracks from the Police, the Go-Go's, Cat Stevens, Janet Jackson, the Carpenters, and more. The carousel revolves around a painted mural of animals "in unexpected settings -- from Malibu to Hollywood," according to a press release, and is covered in depictions of Indian paintbrush, sequoias, quail, and other California flora and fauna.
Riders can take a spin on 66 animals, including a lowland gorilla, a Chacoan peccary, a peninsular pronghorn, a blue scarab, a double-wattled cassowary, "and one of the Zoo's freeloading night visitors, a skunk." There are also three racehorses, representing the Moss's own horses. (And it was Ann Moss's idea to include a unicorn, since "imagination is becoming endangered," according to the LA Times).
Donors can buy individual animals for $25,000 (it gets them a plaque for 15 years and 25 free rides a year, according to the LAT). Slash and his wife Perla already nabbed the snakes on a log, Holly Robinson Peete has the praying mantis, and the bear cub is sponsored by the Elton John Charitable Fund. Still up for grabs: the baby rhino, the clownfish, and the bee.
Carolyn Hennesy of Cougar Town provides the recorded voice instructions.
The carousel was named for screenwriter and former Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association chairman Tom Mankiewicz, who died last year (he sponsored the dung beetle chariot). Rides will cost $3.
· The Tom Mankiewicz Conservation Carousel [LA Zoo]