The Magical Menagerie residing in Milton Keynes

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The Independent Online

A carousel of wonders, featuring intricate animatronic insects and larger animals, recently appeared in the unlikely location of Milton Keynes courtesy of arts organisation Artichoke and French theatrical engineering company La Machine - responsible for The Sultan's Elephant and La Princesse.

With a surface area of over 300m² and weighing 40 tonnes, The Magical Menagerie makes an extraordinary impact. The custom built work of art required the skill and imagination of nearly 50 constructors, artists, engineers, wood carvers, locksmiths, specialists, set designers and technicians to create.

Originally commissioned for the French new town, Sénart, as part of its innovative vision to build art into the city infrastructure, it is fitting that the world’s largest and only square carousel, known in France as Le Manège Carré Sénart, is making its UK debut as The Magical Menagerie in the new town of Milton Keynes.

Brought to Milton Keynes as part of IF: Milton Keynes International Festival, a brand new multi-arts festival produced by The Stables in association with Milton Keynes Gallery taking place from 16 – 25 July, the carousel will remain in the city until 8 August. Accommodating 49 people each ride, the carousel’s giant buffalos, exotic insects and tropical fish will come to life as the carousel starts to turn; its unique, custom-built moving elements controlled both mechanically and manually by its riders.

See how the locals responded to its presence in the below video:

Video: Magical menagerie in Milton Keynes

Brought to Milton Keynes as part of IF: Milton Keynes International Festival, The Magical Menagerie, produced by Artichoke as part of the Sky Arts Artichoke Season, is in Milton Keynes until 8th August (closed Monday 2 Aug). For more information visit

Film credit: produced by Chance Collective