Fairyland membership: is it worth it?

I think Fairyland is a wild and crazy place. It reminds me of the Brady Bunch or a throwback to the fifties. If you’re a tiny person (toddler or preschooler), it must seem like a strange little paradise.

In the past, I have found discount admissions via Chinook Book or Group deal sites, but finally, I broke down and we activated an annual membership.

Perks of Membership:

  • Admission for one year for each adult and up to 3 children (membership goes by the number of adults AKA back-up you get to bring through the gates)
  • When a kid melts down, you can leave and not fret the entrance price!
  • One-time discounts on food and beverage (like coffee, cotton candy, etc.)
  • Half off admission to Jack O’Lantern Jamboree and Fairy Winterland
  • Invitation to members-only appreciation night
  • Special-edition Fairyland key for each child plus a bumper sticker
  • 10% discount at cafes and gift shop
  • 10% discount on park rentals
  • Additional discounts on birthday parties and summer day camp (yes!)
  • Opportunity to participate in members-only early registration period for summer camp, sleepovers, and birthday parties

What Membership doesn’t get you:

  • Plays are not free; they still cost $10.
  • Sleepovers are not discounted (but camps and birthday parties are)
  • Deals for other caregivers or friends.
  • Reciprocal agreements with other Bay Area or national attractions.

The break-even point:

At $107 (gulp!) my family of five (two adults and three named children over age one) would have to go to Fairyland almost three times in one calendar year to make the membership pay for itself (based on full price of $8 per human over age one or $40 per visit).

Three visits per year is a decent amount. We won’t feel like we have to go every weekend, and yet, we have the flexibility to go whenever. I do like Fairyland for toddlers and preschoolers but for my family of grade schoolers, I think I have to pass. Cha-ching.

Other membership levels:

Interested? register online

[Photos by me; Rate information updated 12/1/14]

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Comments

  1. says

    We got a discounted family membership this year that we had paid off after only two visits. The best thing about it is exactly what you said–if someone decides to have a melt-down, we can leave immediately without feeling like we’ve wasted our money.

  2. Anonymous says

    Yes! For 1-4 year old who can enjoy an activity for 2-3 hours max, its perfect. We go about once a month and our membership enables us to just hit a few rides/sights/activities and leave before our son “hits the wall”. Everything is safe and caters intelligently to kids while allowing for parents needs too. Fairyland is refreshingly low-tech, this reinforces my belief that children gain the most fun and learning when they have to use their own talents to participate.

  3. Anonymous says

    The other nice thing about the membership is that the three named children do not have to be from your family, and each child gets their wn membership card. So two of my friends’ kids have their own membership, so my friends can take them and just pay for themselves and I can also take their child with me sometimes. It’s one of the best memberships, value-wise, that I have found.

    • Cara says

      Yes, exactly! When I got mine, I put two of my friends’ kids on my card — the kids each got their own, so they could go with their own parent anytime and only the parent had to pay admission.

  4. says

    Yes! And we added my daughter’s best friend who we do playdate swaps with to our membership and we take her for free on our days! It’s most awesome when you can get a discount on the membership though savvy source or some other discount site. But all in all worth it, especially if you can go during the week. It’s so less crowded- but even if it is crowded- there is so much to see and do that it’s not like you are stuck in line waiting forever for a “ride”.

  5. C.J. says

    Just a clarification…children’s theatre company plays and other park performances are free with admission; the Bay Area Children’s Theater productions in the summer are an additional fee.

  6. Liz says

    We love our Fairyland membership even more so because we purchased through a Living Social deal in the winter. We didn’t use it much until the summer but as a stay at home mom it was a great go to place for an easy morning activity. My son could ride the train all morning.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Children’s Fairyland: Humpty Dumpty on a wall? Check. Puppets and fairies? Check. Alice in Wonderland? Clearly. Seven dwarves? Obviously. Children’s Fairyland is a landmark in Oakland and seeing as it inspired Disney himself, it’s destined to inspire the likes of local parents and kids. It should be noted that it’s run down in some spots (looks like it hasn’t been re-painted since 1923) – but kids don’t seem to notice and it’s a great morning or afternoon outing. (Related: Heather’s analysis of a Fairyland membership) [...]

  2. […] What gem in Oakland are you most likely to tell a new-in-town parent about? Children’s Fairyland. It’s a lot of fun for little children, and you can go there several days a week and they won’t get tired of it. We have had several playdates after morning preschool. We just stay for a couple of hours, and when we get home, Ayva’s ready for a nap! Oh, and purchase a family membership. It’s totally worth it. […]

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