Fairyland in Oakland, a first-timer’s guide

Children’s Fairyland is a storybook theme park for children under age 8 located on the shore of Lake Merritt in Oakland. Expect a mini-size fantasy world straight out of 1950 with kid-sized rides, fairytale sets, farm animals and quirky exhibits from a bygone era along with one heck of a puppet theater. You might see the Brady Bunch family walking along one of the paths.

All attractions are included with the price of admission. Rides are for children ages 3 to 8. Puppet shows, petting zoo, and jolly trolly are accessible to younger toddlers. The dragon slide is only for kids over age four.

Fairyland first timer's guide

Though toddlers and young preschoolers love this place, I would not recommend being a sole guardian to more than one little kid. The many open paths, blindspots and water hazards stress me out too much when two children go in opposite directions. Instead, bring enough adults so that you can all have fun. Take the (above) playing card maze themed to Alice in Wonderland. Milo, age 3, can exit from the front or back. He can also get lost inside and sit down to cry. Where is his 5-year old brother when all this is happening? That’s right… he’s gone!

Fairyland first timer's guide

The rides and attractions are ideal for getting timeless-looking photographs of your kid, so make sure to keep your camera handy.

There is a snack bar near the famous Jolly Trolly that serves basic carnival food (hot dogs, fries, etc.) and a latte shack near the entrance. For great food, the Oakland Whole Foods is less than a half mile away, and I often plan my Fairyland visits to include a grocery stop.

Fairyland carousel

The park is quite large for a small person. It is situated on about 10 acres with about 40-50 nursery rhyme-inspired buildings and playsets to explore and climb on. A Fairyland key will unlock old-timey (classic? quaint? out-dated?) audio storybook boxes in either English or Spanish.

Map of Children's Fairyland in Oakland

Download your own pdf Fairyland map to have on your phone during your visit in case you get as easily lost as I do.

Fairyland's Jolly Trolly
Fairyland’s Jolly Trolly train

Logistics and stuff to know

For safety reasons, Fairyland admits adults only when they’re accompanied by children and children only when they’re accompanied by adults.

Fairyland is open weekdays during the summer, weekends year-round, and certain holidays too. Check the website for current hours.


  • Guests aged 1 – 100 are $8 and guests under age 1 or over 100 are FREE (all rides and most shows are included)
  • Is membership worth it?
  • Magic Keys are $3 at the park gates. If you have one from an earlier visit, bring it back!
  • Parking costs between $2 and $10 depending on when you come and how long you stay. Or try your luck at the meters.

699 Bellevue Ave, Oakland, CA 94610
Phone: (510) 452-2259

Fairyland wishing well

What else would you tell a first time visitor to Children’s Fairyland?

[All photos 510families, all rights reserved]

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  1. says

    Great post :-) We usually pack our own lunch and love having a picnic in the Big Apple in the eating area or Los Cantaros, my fave taqueria, is across the street. We sometimes bring that in. We hit the train either early or late, it seems to get really crowded around lunch. We usually bring old bread too to feed the geese before we head home (by our parked car). And I have been known to bring 3 kids here alone. Luckily they all came home with me! Kids under voice control are key in this situation. Love Fairyland!

  2. Blythe Riske says

    The snack shacks close 30-45 minutes before the rest of the park so be careful of the end of the day bribes you make with the kiddos. Or, again, go to Whole Foods in a pinch.

  3. says

    I just went with my 4 & 6 year olds – a totally different experience than when they were 2 & 4 or 3 & 5. Much more pleasant, doable in a morning, and restful for the parent!


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