Fairyland membership: Is it worth it? - 510 Families

Fairyland membership: Is it worth it?

Children's Fairyland in Oakland 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. Fairyland membership is not cheap, but it might be worth it for your family. Let's do the math.

Fairyland, Oakland photo by Sally Mason
Children's Fairyland, Oakland photo by Sally Mason

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

Fairyland Oakland
Fairyland | Photo Anna Azimi

Regular Fairyland admission prices:

$12 for humans between the age of 1-100. Under one or over 100 is FREE.
Parking may be extra depending on where you park.
Magic Keys for talking Storybook Boxes are $3 at the park gates. Bring it back each visit.
Admission fees for special celebrations may vary.

Perks of Membership to Fairyland:

  • Admission for one year for each adult and up to 3 children (membership goes by the number of adults and requires photo ID)
  • When a kid melts down, you can leave and not fret the entrance price!
  • 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
Fairyland Jolly Trolly
Fairyland Jolly Trolly is always fun | Photo by Fairyland

What Fairyland Membership doesn't get you:

  • BACT special performances are not free; they still cost $12.
  • Sleepovers are not discounted (but camps and birthday parties are)
  • Deals for other caregivers or friends after one single-use adult day pass.
  • Reciprocal agreements with other Bay Area or national attractions.

The break-even point on Fairyland membership:

At $119 (gulp!) my family of five (two adults and three named children over age one) would have to go to Fairyland just over two times in one calendar year to make the membership pay for itself (based on full price of $12 per human over age one or $60 per visit).

Sponsor

Two or 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 Fairyland membership levels to consider:

  • One adult: $99
  • Three adults: $129 (Great for sharing with other families?)
  • All membership levels include up to three named children.
  • You can purchase a two-year pass for a significant discount!

Interested? register online

[Photos by Sally Mason and me; Rate information updated 6/28/19]

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12 thoughts on “Fairyland membership: Is it worth it?”

  1. 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. 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. 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.

    1. 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.

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  5. 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”.

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  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Hi Heather,

    We appreciate your pros-and-cons story, although we’re sorry you decided not to buy a membership! One small correction to your otherwise excellent piece: Our Children’s Theatre performances are included in the membership cost (or individual admission). The only performances with a surcharge are our special Theatre for the Very Young plays, which we co-produce with Bay Area Children’s Theatre.

    Thanks again!

  10. We live in the neighborhood so going to Fairyland is like going to the playground for us. Now that my daughter is six we may visit a bit less but it is so worth it for us. Here is my pros list!
    * The puppet shows are her favorite attraction. They are a fun story telling medium and happen 3 times a day.
    * Friday story times are at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and are wonderful for children up to Kindergarten age.
    * Big rides, farm animals and play spaces abound.
    * Weekend days feature activities like art stations, story tellers and magic presentations.
    * The reading room has an excellent collection of books.
    * Kids are safe and have a huge space to explore, run and play.
    * Beautiful landscaping and has a water feature kids love.

    *

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