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Sunday 23 June 2013

Children's Fairyland

Last Monday Kim took the girls to a Bay Area family institution - Children's Fairyland in Oakland. 

This got me thinking about the fact that I had a half written post about our first visit to Children's Fairyland back in March. Time to get around to finishing it and posting it I think!

So here it is. A little delayed, but better late than never. A look at our first visit to Children's Fairyland...


Pretty much every person who has grown up in the Bay Area has spent many a fun day at Children's Fairyland and I'm pleased to say that our kids can now say the same.

Ava at the entrance to Children's Fairyland

Children's Fairyland is considered one of the original theme parks made just for children. Built back when Disneyland was just an orange grove, Children's Fairyland has been delighting Bay Area families since 1950.

Children's Fairyland is full of all sorts of storybook fun for kids. Rides, displays and hands on fun from many all time favourite nursery rhymes and stories fill the park with wonder and joy. Whimsical creatures and familiar characters dot the park to delight kids. A bubble blowing elf on a toadstool, a friendly dragon, a giant blue whale, and beloved characters from Alice in Wonderland were firm favourites with Ava and Lola.

The elf on top of this toadstool blows bubbles out of his pipe

We started our day at Children's Fairyland with a visit to Jack & Jill Hill. Much like in the nursery rhyme children can "tumble" down a grassy hill - without breaking their crowns! Ok, so there wasn't really any tumbling, it was mostly sliding. The astroturf hill is the perfect spot for sliding on cardboard. Lola was a little hesitant at first but she soon plucked up the courage and had lots of fun running to the top and sliding down over and over.

Lola slides down Jack & Jill Hill

Watch out for that spider!

Dotted all throughout Children's Fairyland are magic boxes with keyholes. The gift shop sells the corresponding keys which children can use to listen to their favourite nursery rhymes and fairytales. The boxes feature two keyholes; one to listen in English and one to listen in Spanish. As Lola was keen to copy Ava we mostly ended up with both keys in the keyholes at the same time as the nursery rhyme was recited or sung in both English and Spanish!

The girls turn their magic keys to hear nursery rhymes

Visiting Willie the Whale was a favourite of Lola's. She was mostly excited about the whale as she recognises him from her friend Solly's cute Oaklandish t-shirt. That's certainly one cute whale!

Willie the Whale is a big hit with all the littlies 

Wonderland was definitely one of the girl's most favourite parts of the park. A slide takes children through the rabbit hole and down to Wonderland where they can see various scenes from Alice in Wonderland as they wonder through the dark tunnel. At the end of the tunnel kids are met with a small maze of playing cards. Ava and Lola are big fans of mazes and had fun running around and around trying to hide from me.

Outside the entrance to Wonderland the hands on this clock tick backwards - which really freaked Ava out!

Alice and the Queen of Hearts play croquet 

Tea party madness

Ava runs through the playing card maze

Lola runs through the playing card maze

Lola and Ava in the playing card maze

You can't catch me!

While the girls enjoyed running around in the card maze, Kim's favourite spot was these flower chairs under a tree! I think that Kim would've been pretty happy to spend the whole day resting in that chair he's sitting in. In fact, he was so comfortable there he completely forgot to pick up his bag when we moved on - something he didn't notice until the park had closed for the day and we had already left. Luckily the friendly staff at Children's Fairyland had picked it up and taken it to their office. They were nice enough to let us back in after closing so we could collect Kim's bag when we finally worked out that it was missing. Thanks guys!

Kim would've been happy to rest on these flower chairs all day!

Running backwards and forwards across the bridges that cross the little creeks throughout Children's Fairyland was loads of fun for Lola. Crossing the creek by way of Noah's Ark was even more fun.

A quick trip through Noah's Ark

All this running around through mazes, across bridges and boats, and up and down stairs is thirsty work. Luckily Children's Fairyland has fun water fountains dotted throughout. Why drink water out of a boring old water bottle when you can drink out of a giant carrot held by a rabbit or out of a lion's mouth?

Ava drinks out of a fun water fountain

Watch out Lola! That Lion is going to eat you!

Heading toward Old West Junction we stopped for a late lunch. Oh, and to let the Jolly Trolly train

pass by! The Jolly Trolly is one of the most popular attractions at Children's Fairyland. Unfortunately we visited on a rather busy day and the queue for the train was perpetually long so we had to make do with just watching it pass by for now. With our new annual membership though we'll be sure to ride on the Jolly Trolly many times before the year is done.

Waiting for the Jolly Trolly to pass

In Old West Junction the girls had fun running through the buildings of a wild west town while pretending to be sheriffs and cowboys. They also enjoyed riding on the pony statues out the front of the buildings.

In Old West Junction Ava rides a pony

Lola's turn to ride a pony

After the Old West we moseyed on down to the Flecto Carousel for a ride. Unfortunately Lola didn't meet the height requirements and she wasn't able to ride. She had been so excited about riding the carousel and cried the whole time that Ava was on it. Fairyland does feature another carousel that is suited to smaller children but unfortunately we ran out of time before we could make it there. Next time we'll make sure to visit the smaller carousel straight away.

Ava rides Flecto Carousel.

On our way towards the exit at the end of the day we stopped by the Happy Dragon to give his long tongue a pull. It was here that I noticed that Lola was only wearing one shoe. Oops. She had lost it somewhere back near the carousel while she had been crying - it's amazing just how often those shoes of hers come off during a tantrum! A quick search back by the carousel and we had two shoes again.

Pulling Happy Dragon's tongue

Sitting on Happy Dragon's back

Outside Children's Fairyland we were met with another dragon. This one's not quite as happy looking!


After leaving Children's Fairyland at closing time we headed to the neighbouring parklands and Lake Merritt. Ava enjoyed climbing in the trees and swinging on one of the coolest swings I've ever laid my eyes on. If we had a backyard with a big tree I'd definitely be looking for a swing like this for the kids. Ok, and maybe for the grownups too!

Tree climbing by Lake Merritt

Best swing ever!

Little monkey

We all had a great day at Children's Fairyland and can't wait to go back again soon.


So that was our first visit to Children's Fairyland. I can't believe it's taken me this long to get around to posting this. You might notice that the girls are wearing shamrocks in their hair. That's right - it was St Patrick's Day when we visited. Now that was a long time ago!

On their second visit to Children's Fairyland this week the girls made sure to take a ride on the Jolly Trolly and they loved it. It's not the greatest photo as it was taken with Kim's phone, but here they are enjoying their ride around the park in the Jolly Trolly.

Finally riding the Jolly Trolly

I'm sure we'll be back at Children's Fairyland many times over the long Summer vacation.


  1. What a fun place! I would've LOVED going here when I was a kid.

  2. Wow! What a cool place - looooove the water fountains!

    1. Another one to add to the list?

    2. Yes! ...and will there be a mrc d...or a... commenting soon....:)

  3. Thanks for the wonderful post! Would you mind if we shared a pic or two?

    1. No problem! Feel free to share. Let me know if you need higher resolution shots at all and I can email them to you.


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