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Children's Fairyland (Oakland, CA)

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Places to Go > Children's Fairyland (Oakland, CA)

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Sleepover at Children's Fairyland

March 2013

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? Amy

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. Fairyland Fan

Fairyland Birthday party logistics

May 2012

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 appreciated. Cheers! 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. Jenny

Visiting Children's Fairyland

Nov 2011

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

Oct 2001

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). Karen

June 2001

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. -- Kandis

Fairyland Camps & Theater Program

April 2009

Re: Musical Theatre for 9-year-old son
Children's Fairyland in Oakland down by Lake Merritt runs a children's theater program: kids (ages 8-10 by Jan. 1) audition in January, and they choose a bit over 30 kids to assign to three different casts. The kids rehearse on weekends in the spring (every third weekend, both Sat/Sun, for each cast) then perform, again every third weekend, two performances each Sat/Sun, beginning June and running through October. Our daughter is in her third year, and loves it; each year they have one classic production (this year's is from Beatrix Potter), one native Americas production, and one from some other foreign culture. The new stage, opened last year, is stunning. More information here: Stage Dad

Dec 2008

Re: Young Drama Queen looking for Venue
Children's Fairyland will be holding auditions for next year's productions in January: They select three casts of ten 8-10-year-olds, rehearse from March or so and then perform starting in June and running through October. Each of the casts generally performs every third weekend, two shows on Saturday and two on Sunday (i.e., they rotate the casts so there's a two week break, then a heavy performance weekend, for each cast). After that there's a holiday show that performers can volunteer for, combining players from all three casts... the 2008 performers will be doing that this coming weekend, and next, and it might be a great opportunity to meet and talk with them (and see the performance venue... this year was on the brand new $3M stage). Our daughter has been in it the last two years, and it's been wonderful. Ross

Dec 2007

Re: summer theater camp
Hi, I don't know anything about Kids 'n Dance, but I do know that Children's Fairyland in Oakland has a performing arts summer camp for children ages 5(K)-10. At the end of the week the put on a little play. You can read more about it on their website: Good luck, I hope you find what your child is looking for.

April 2003

I am looking for feed back on Fairyland, Kaleidoscope and Mocha Summer Camps. This would be for a 5 year old girl. All the usual questions; care and nurturing of the children, is it safe and fun, did the kids like it, the pros and cons of the camp. I did check the archives, but the posts are either outdated or nonexistent. Getting some real feed back certainly will help in the decision making process. Thanks for your information and help. a first time summer camp mom

This will be our third summer at Fairyland, camp. It's expensive so we just do a week, but worth it! Both my daughters love it and it's the one they insist on doing. The activities are good and the staff are excellent, very caring and really work to help all the kids participate. The shows at the end of the week are a lot of fun. Lorraine
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