Spotlight - Oakland's Fairyland
Mary Piasta-Valluzzo and son, Bobby.
Before Disneyland, there was Fairyland. Hidden in the middle of busy Oakland, this hidden gem is perfect for young kids. It offers a fun fantasy filled experience for tots and adults alike.
Founded in 1950 by Arthur Navlet, Fairyland has given generations of tots a fun place to develop their imaginations. From Pinocchio to Alice in Wonderland, Fairyland allows kids to interact with their favorite stories.
Moderately priced at $8 for adults and kids over 1 (under 1 are free), Fairyland is an affordable outing. Make sure to grab a key to the fairytale story boxes - $2 a key. Bobby loved holding and using the key to unlock the story boxes.
Bobby recently experienced Fairyland for the first time. He loved running around the grounds, exploring miniature houses and riding the little train around the park. He also loved sliding down the rabbit hole into a painted tunnel. At the end of the tunnel, he enjoyed the painted maze themed after the Queen of Hearts. In fact, he had so much fun we didn’t get to cover the whole park in our visit. Next time, we are going to pay a visit to the animals at Fairyland.
Fairyland has more than fairy themed play structures. It has puppet shows and guest appearances from characters like the Cat in the Hat. Who knew that a puppet show would mesmerize a busy bustling 23 month old? The puppet show totally captured Bobby’s attention. He loved watching and listening to the story of the Sword in the Stone.
Of course with so much active play, the kids might need some fuel. Fairyland does have a simple and moderately priced snack bar. With PB&J, chicken burgers and turkey sandwiches on the menu, you’ll find something for your little one. I’d have to recommend the sandwiches over the burgers though. As the chicken burger I ordered was breaded and fried, resembling a hockey puck. If you want to play it safe, you can bring your own lunch as Fairyland has a grassy picnic area.
After lunch, you can let your tots expel excess energy by running around the playgrounds. Then pop back in the car and enjoy a quick drive back to the Valley.
Mary Piasta-Valluzzo is the ultimate Sonoma Modern Mama who loves exploring the town with her son, Bobby. She writes blogs about anything and everything related to parenting young children, including at her own site here. She is also a board member of the Sonoma Valley Mothers Club, an organization that supports women with young children in everything from parenting to socializing. The club is open to all Sonoma moms. For more on the club, visit sonomamothersclub.org or call 996-9890.