In recent years a stage has been set up in front of Columbia at the Gurnee park.
The first Columbia opened in the Santa Clara park in 1976 and the GurneeColumbia opened later that year. They opened as the world's biggest carousel and continue to hold that title to this day. Each horse on the carousels was a replica of one of the world's most famous carousel horses. In front of the carousels was a large reflecting pond with historic replicas of American flags flying along the sides. Today the flags still fly. The Columbia is often associated with the Carousel Song, produced especially for the Marriott's Great America theme parks by Gene Patrick. A clip of the Carousel Song can be heard here. The Carousel Song still plays at the Gurnee park every evening when the park closes.
In 1994, Santa Clara's Columbia received some minor renovations for its appearance in the movie Beverly Hills Cop III.
In the early 2000s both carousels received touches of red and blue paint. The original paint scheme was white with gold trim, however some of the gold trim still remains.