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Monday, July 30, 2012

Children's Fairyland

I really think that I stepped back in time when I entered the gates of Children's Fairyland in Oakland. I have heard about this place from many friends, but since I rarely make it over to the East Bay, I had never been. We went there for a birthday party, and it was really, really surreal. The park, whose idea was conceived by Oakland businessman Arthur Navlet first opened it's gates in 1950. All of the storybook sets were designed by local architect William Russell Everitt and during that time, there were costumed guides to escort children though the sets.

What makes Fairyland super cool is that I don't think it's actually changed since 1950! There is a website which showcases old postcards from Fairyland in the 1950's, and if you compare those pictures to the park today, not much has really changed.

It's actually quite magical in it's simplicity, by today's standards. It's reminiscent of a golden era, where kids didn't need to be entertained by video games or T.V. They could be entertained by using their imagination and this park lends itself to just that. Plus, you feel like you are in the middle of a story - it's so cool! They even have daily puppet shows, and they rotate the performances every few weeks during the season.

There are two carousels here, and since this one was closest to the party area, the kids wanted to ride it. This is the smaller of the two, the Wonder-Go-Round and the animals are stationary.

Alice in Wonderland is a common theme throughout the park, and as I walked around, I felt like I was a guest at the Mad Hatter's tea party.

There is a small train ride that the kids loved, and adults can go on it too. Waiting in line I saw this sign. Don't you feel like you are back in the 1950's?

They even have a chapel, called The Chapel of Peace. It is a replica of a church, complete with a pulpit, pews, stained glass and scripture versus hanging on the walls. My son had fun pretending he was giving a sermon.

There is a gift shoppe on the way out, and they have a collection of vintage toys, so it's a lot of fun to browse!

I think it is actually perfect for toddlers and young children, and it was fun to watch our party guests explore and wonder at all of the exhibits. We also were given magic keys (available for purchase at the gate) that unlock more than 25 storybooks through-out the park. We had to leave when the park closed, but none of the kids wanted too, and I think they could have happily spent all day there. There was so much more to explore, that for sure we will be back!

Children's Fairyland is open year-round, but their operating hours and days vary so be sure to check out the website before you go.

Children's Fairyland (@fairylandca)
699 Bellevue Avenue, Oakland, CA 94610

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