Fairyland Theme Park in Oakland

Bay Area parents and grandparents have been taking small children to Fairyland in Oakland for over 60 years. In 1948, a man named Arthur Navlet had the idea to build a storybook theme park designed for small children, complete with storybook characters brought to life. Legend has it that Walt Disney was so smitten with the idea of a theme park built for children that he built one himself a few miles down the coast. Since it opened in 1950, millions of children and their guardians have passed through the gates of Fairyland, a family tradition that remains very much alive today.

Young visitors to Fairyland today still get to enjoy the same sense of wonderment that their parents and grandparents enjoyed when they were children, with a variety of activities, shows, learning opportunities and most important, cool places to play! The park is full of different attractions, such as:

  • Storybook sets
    After hearing stories read by costumed actors, kids get to go and visit the many of the places described in the fairytales, including the Jolly Roger Pirate Ship from Peter Pan, The Alice in Wonderland Tunnel, Peter Rabbit’s garden (complete with real rabbits,) Jack & Jill Hill and many more.
  • Rides
    Fairyland has lots of rides built especially for young children, including the Jolly Trolly, the Wonder-Go-Round carousel, Anansi’s Magic Web, The Flecto Carousel, complete with brightly painted horses to ride and other fun rides for kids to enjoy.
  • Animals
    The zoo portion of the park includes a Shetland pony, rabbits, Guinea pigs, chickens, ducks, sheep, donkeys, goats, an alpaca and other animals. On weekends, kids get a chance to get closer to the animal of the day and ask questions from the handler, who makes sure that the kids and animals enjoy the experience.
  • Gardens
    Since Mr. Navlet owned a nursery, gardens have been a big part of Fairyland from the very beginning. The kids may not always be enamored with the pretty plants and flowers, but parents sure are. Especially those seeking a momentary break from the squeals and peals of laughter from happy children.

If you want to take your kids or grandkids to Fairyland, it’s a great and fairly inexpensive way to spend a day reading, learning, playing, watching performances and generally having a wonderful time. The signs say that admission for kids aged 1 to 100 is $8, with those less than one year of age admitted free. Fairyland is located inside Oakland’s Lakeside Park and there is ample parking nearby. Fairyland is also easy to get to via public transportation but the hours of operation can be a bit unpredictable, depending on the weather, time of year and other factors. To ensure that the park is open on the day you’d like to visit, point your browser at the Fairyland website at http://fairyland.org/ for more information.