Children's Fairyland (Oakland, CA)
Berkeley Parents Network >
Places to Go >
Children's Fairyland (Oakland, CA)
I'm thinking about taking my son to the Children's Fairyland sleepover this summer and
I'm wondering what other peoples' experiences have been. Is it really all the more fun
for kids who already know Fairyland well (we are members) to be able to run around at
nighttime and ride all the rides? Does anyone who goes ever get any sleep? I also
wonder if my son will be too young to enjoy it -- he'll be just over 2 years old this
summer. Perhaps I should wait another year?
We've done the Fairyland Sleepovers for the past 4 years. We've been going
since my son was 3. Yes, it is a terrific time, even for members (we're members
too). Kids bring glow sticks and run around in the dark with them. They put on
great shows (puppet and magic) and the whole thing is a lot of fun. It always
seems like far fewer people than who are there in the day; there aren't lines
for rides and it has a great vibe.
Of course there are cons: It's expensive. No one sleeps before 10 pm. This is
always a problem for my kids, who usually go down around 7:30. I figure, what
the heck, a late night won't kill them, but they are exhausted every time. Some
years we go to bed early (skipping the dessert and magic show) but then get
reawakened at 9:30 pm when it's ''lights out'' and everyone comes tromping back to
their tents. Kids are LOUD and excited at night and it definitely takes half an
hour, at least, for everyone to be quiet. One year, a baby screamed in a tent
all night long. Also, you have to remember that you are in downtown Oakland. You'll
hear helicopters and (sigh) what I would swear are gunshots sometimes. It's urban
camping! I've finally learned to bring earplugs.
The 'pros' definitely outweigh the 'cons' in my opinion. We'll be going again
this year! My husband and I enjoy it as much as the kids do.
Camping with the Fairies
We've done the Fairyland sleepover two summers now and had a great time the
first year and a sleepless night the second year. The event is very well
organized, our kids (5 and 6) had a fabulous time roaming around Fairyland,
dinner was fine, entertainment was good, but throughout the night we heard
gunshots (in the distance) and fighting (close by). Around 3:30 we were woken by
a fight just on the other side of the fence. From inside our tents we could hear
someone yelling, don't shoot, don't shoot. The fight went on for some time.
Fairyland promised security personnel would be patrolling the premises, but not
sure where security was that night.
Fairyland fan during the daytime
Our family did the Children's Fairyland sleepover when my son was 4 years old, and
again when he was 5. We may do it one more time this summer (at 6). Those were pretty
good ages. It was fun to run around having adventures at Fairyland after dark, plus
it was a bit exciting to sleep in a tent at Lake Merritt. It is possible to get a
good night's sleep so long as you are comfortable with the sleeping bag + tent
experience. Do expect to hear a few cries in the night from the younger children.
The first summer we did the sleepover at Fairyland, we wanted to get back to car
camping camping but found ourselves lacking in time, energy, and organization, and
our camping skills and gear were out of practice. The sleepover was a fine
icebreaker, since it was only 14 hours long, 15 minutes from home, and meals were
provided. As far as going with a just-turning-two year old: perhaps a bit young, but
if your toddler naps so that he can be awake and happy past 8pm, and you think you
would enjoy it, then go for it. There will be a other toddlers present, especially in
families with slightly older siblings. It does get dark in certain nooks like the
western town and the music tunnel, since they are not set up to be a night time venue,
so bring a flashlight.
Your child is definitely too young to appreciate it. Honestly, we took our child at
age 4 or so, and it was a ho-hum experience, even though we are big Fairyland fans.
She didn't seem to react to it as any big deal. They run it well and take good care of
you, but it is really just like any day at the park, only you are there later and get
served meals. I can't see a 2-year-old noticing any difference from a normal visit,
except fo getting cranky from staying up too late.
One thing to consider with a little one -- you have to schlep all the way from the
camp area to the public bathrooms when you need to get there, and it is not very
close. Something you don't notice when you are there during the day, but do at night
when you are in a tent.
We've booked a birthday party at Fairyland, and I wondered
if someone might tell me a bit about the logistics. I've had
a hard time getting in touch with the person who handles the
parties & forgot to ask these questions when we confirmed.
So here are my questions:
1. Does the 1 hour in the party area include setting up &
cleaning up or can we get there a few minutes early?
2.If you ordered food off their menu, was it worth it? I
don't have high hopes for amusement park food,so would it be
better just to bring our own snacks (veggie platter,
sandwiches)? We'd rather not have to schlep back and forth
to the car, but if the food is gross, we'll do it!
3. Did you have someone wait at the front or did you get all
the tix to folks beforehand?
4. If an extra adult comes (without an rsvp) do they charge
the person directly or would they charge me? I'm hoping
folks rsvp, but there are always those that don't.
Otherwise, any tips or suggestions would be much
anxious fairy mama
We celebrated our daughter's 6th birthday party at
Fairyland. If I recall, I mailed out tickets and/or
parking passes which I paid for in advance of the party so
I didn't have to wait at the gate and it's clear up front
that the invite includes tickets for one kid guest and one
adult. It wasn't an issue if I recall. We ordered the
fairyland sandwiches, which were pretty good -- too much
food, but it was nice to have the food there rather than
chugging a ton of stuff back and forth. I was dubious when
I got to the site b/c it wasn't clean or ready, but the
staff person was surprising diligent, and did everything I
requested. It's ok to get there a little early, but might
have to wait, depending on whether there's another party
going on or not. It was a great spot for a birthday party
all in all.
Re: Where to take carousel-obsessed toddler?
Fairyland is currently $8 per person, and well worth it.
Great for kids up to about age 7. Annual passes available.
They have an itty-bitty carousel and a quite small train
ride as well as a bigger carousel (but still much smaller
than the one at the Oakland Zoo, for example). Rides are
free. So if you plan a full or half day of fun, it is a
good deal. anon
Fairyland has two carousels, one for toddlers and one for
slightly bigger kids. The big kid one does not allow adults,
but the one for tiny kids allows (requires?) parents to
stand alongside their kids. It is very small - maybe 6
seats, but you get as many rides as you want w/ the price of
admission. We always go on weekday mornings and lines are
negligible or nonexistent. On overcast days, my 2 year-old
just rides over and over again.
Fairyland also has a little train - sometimes a longer line
to get on, and the views from the train are pretty
unspectacular, but my kid loves it anyway. Good luck! Mom
of a toddler
re: fun place to take a visiting two-year-old
Lots of folks will say these I'm sure: Fairyland (old fashioned "theme park" with very
low tech things to do - climb, crawl thru tunnels, puppet theatre, etc.) near Lake Merritt
and for that matter the lake itself makes a nice walk with a stroller as well as a good
"running" path for two year old (includes ducks to feed and benches to rest/have a snack).
Re: Amusement Parks for 4-year-old
Fairyland in Oakland is one-of-a-kind and is really getting shined up. Young
kids love it and it's reasonably priced. The puppet shows are usually good
too. There are a few rides. Lissa
-Oakland Children's Fairyland
Always a winner
Although I haven't been there in years, Fairyland at Lake Merritt in Oakland
is a fun and inexpensive place to take little kids.
this page was last updated: Oct 3, 2015
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website during
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network