Solar carousel

Why no one built a solar-powered carousel sooner is a mystery, because there's no better recipe for fun than kids, sunshine, animals, and tintinnabulous music. At Hopland's Solar Living Institute―part of the decade-old Real Goods shop and public gardens, 13 miles south of Ukiah, California―the 10-creature spinner launched its first roundabout this summer with a saddle-sporting salmon, hungry mountain lion, native wild turkey, and scent-free skunk. Hand-carved and painted by fourth-generation carousel maker Bill Dentzel, the ride takes only a tiny fraction of the energy produced on-site by the institute's massive solar panels. And for road-trip recharging of a human sort, the gardens and pond are good spots for picnics. 12-4 daily; $1 (125-lb. rider limit). 13771 U.S. 101, Hopland, CA; www.solarliving.org or 707/744-2017. ―L.T.