Thursday, May 2nd, 2013...12:32 pm

Once upon a time at Children’s Fairyland

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“As miniature and uncynical as a toddler’s beating heart” — yes, that’s Fairyland! (As described by San Francisco Magazine.) Last week, my friend Dionne and I took our toddlers to Children’s Fairyland in Oakland, and there was so much to love. I only found out about this place about a month ago, but as a lover of all things old and awesome, I had to go. It opened in 1950 as the first amusement park created specifically for kids 8 and under, now with about 60 different storybook scenes. It pre-dated Disneyland by five years and, not surprisingly now that I’ve visited, was one of Walt Disney’s inspirations. The Magic Keys that activate talking story boxes throughout the park are an East Bay icon, inked on t-shirts and even tattoos.

Fairyland is full of gems. Like rides that only allow kids of a set height and UNDER! Like the ferris wheel that you had to be under 54″ to ride. Dionne and I laughed at ourselves for feeling wary about letting our two 18-month-olds ride it ALONE. No adults allowed. Turns out it was a bigger deal to us than them. They’re still a bit young to appreciate a place like this — their favorite feature was a little waterfall with stepping stones below it. But how they loved that.

We were there for a few hours and didn’t make it through the entire park… we left more discoveries for the next time we visit. More pics after the jump.



Viv and Milla’s first ferris wheel ride. By themselves!


Beautiful Dionne and Milla after sliding down an astroturf hill on a piece of cardboard.


The detail in all the Alice in Wonderland scenes was amazing. 


The little kids’ carousel. There’s another one for big kids. 


Inside the mouth of the whale. (It’s a fish tank.) 


Thanks Fairyland, we love you.  


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