Oakland’s beloved Children’s Fairyland is a must-see for East Bay kids. Expect a mini-size fantasy world straight out of 1950 with fairytale sets, farm animals, and quirky exhibits from a bygone era. Located on the shore of Lake Merritt, this storybook-themed park is best for children under age 8.
A snack bar near the famous Jolly Trolly serves contemporary kid-friendly food (think chicken quesadillas and sunbutter sandwiches) 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.
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.
Download your own pdf Fairyland map to have on your phone during your visit in case you get as easily lost as I do.
All Fairyland attractions are included with the price of admission. Rides are for children ages 3 to 8. Puppet shows, a petting zoo, and the Jolly Trolly train are accessible to younger toddlers. The dragon slide is only for kids over age four.
Though toddlers and young preschoolers love Fairyland, I would not recommend being a sole guardian to more than one little kid. The many open paths, blind spots, 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 exciting Alice in Wonderland playing-card maze for example: 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… I lost him!
Visiting Fairyland in Oakland
Admission costs $16 per person (babies under 1 are free) and memberships start at $139. Puppet shows, live performances, and rides are all included. During the winter, the park is open only Friday-Sunday. Summer hours are daily. See the schedule on the Fairyland website >
Bonuses for magic key-holders
When you purchase a magic key(s), you can use it immediately and for future visits. There are music boxes around the park that play an audio story or song when you “unlock” them.
Say hello to the Fairyland farm animals and swing by the gift shop if you need a new key, souvenir, or even a toy.
Fairyland has also been very busy painting in recent years and the entire property has a fresh coat of brightly colored paint.
There are also some touchless faucets and hand-sanitizing stations throughout the park.
Plan your visit to Fairyland:
Hours & Days:
- 9 am to 4 pm
- Open days change based on season. Check website for schedule.
Prices: Guests from age 1 to 100 are $15
Parking costs between $2 and $10 depending on when you come and how long you stay. Or try your luck at the meters outside the parking lot.
For safety reasons, Fairyland admits adults only when they’re accompanied by children and children only when they’re accompanied by adults.
- Is Fairyland membership worth it?
- Our round-up of all Bay Area Amusement Parks
- Best things to do in Oakland with kids
[All photos 510families, all rights reserved]