Bring the kids to one of America’s first themed amusement parks. Storybook sets, rides and animal residents ensure everyone experiences a “happily ever after.”
Enjoy imaginative family fun at Children’s Fairyland, a historic amusement park. Built in 1950, this Oakland treasure on the shores of Lake Merritt was one of the first themed amusement parks in the United States. Learn about its original sets, which included scenes from popular children’s fairy tales such as Pinocchio and the Three Little Pigs.
Today, the park maintains its founding vision of encouraging children to imagine, create, learn and play. Immerse yourself in fantasy worlds of learning at one of several storybook sets. Visit the Jack and Jill set to slide down a bright green hill. Climb a rope ladder like a scallywag at the Jolly Roger Pirate Ship and play in the belly of Willie the Whale. Journey through the Alice in Wonderland tunnel and playing-card maze.
Take the kids to ride the Jolly Trolly, a small colorful train. Built in 1954, this is the oldest ride in the park. Afterward, let the kids take a scenic trip on Anansi’s Magic Web, a mini Ferris wheel that looks like a spider’s web.
The park also has a family of adorable animal residents. Pet fluffy rabbits and inquisitive guinea pigs at Peter Rabbit’s Garden. Nearby, meet miniature ponies, alpacas and hens in spacious enclosures. Visit during Dr. Doolittle programs to get close to the park’s favorite animal residents.
See gorgeous greenery and a rare deciduous dawn redwood at Mary’s garden. Afterward, see where the plants are nurtured at Fairyland’s greenhouse.
Enjoy enthralling puppet shows at the Storybook Puppet Theater, America’s longest-running professional puppet theater. Shows run three times a day year-round. In summer, watch children performing their own plays at colorful Aesop’s Playhouse. Have child-friendly food at Johnny Appleseed Café.
Children’s Fairyland is located in Oakland’s Lakeside Park. Get here via BART, Oakland’s system of public trains, or drive and pay to use the on-site parking lot. The park charges admission and is only accessible for adults with children and children with adults.