Kelly’s been eager to visit Oakland’s Fairyland, which I agreed would be a wonderful place to her. On Wednesday, I took here there, since I was already almost halfway there, having dropped Neil off at Stanford for his Maya camp.
Fairyland is all I could want; and it makes me miss the old Happy Hollow (which is destined to become some twee environmentalism-preaching mess now) ever the more. It was the park Happy Hollow was based on, and I love it for its old-fashioned kiddie-appealing charm. It was built back in the day when children weren’t jaded before their time, and it has no qualms about having a little chapel, or having to acknowledge whatever the new hot licensed phenomenon is.
It has all of four low-key rides, a lot of play areas where children can climb and slide, or look at animals. Like the old Happy Hollow, it had a puppet show which took a folk/fairytale and gave it a little twist (in this case, the evil queen from Snow White remains an old hag). The animals aren’t off in their own zoo area, but put into a fairytale setting, i.e. ducks under Rapunzel’s castle.
Kelly especially loved two unique features of the park. You can get a key for $2, and which it, you can turn on a storybox which will tell or sing you a nursery rhyme or fairytale. Kelly wanted to make sure she got to activate all the storyboxes, and even their stories are told in a sweet old fashioned way. (Though as a nod to multiculturalism, Spanish is offered as a language choice as well as English.)
Also, there was a little house completely filled with children’s books to read. Books! Kelly loves books.
Neil recently reread and introduced Kelly to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and I was having a very Alice in Wonderland week, so I particularly enjoyed the park’s related attractions, like the Wonderland carousel
and an Alice in Wonderland tunnel
which includes a funhouse mirror and Cheshire cat oddities and jokes and ends in a card maze.
It’s just a shame Fairyland is so far away in downtown Oakland, or we would want to go there more often.