Once upon a time in the United States of America, a carousel ride was the ultimate thrill ride for kids. Then in the late 1940s, a group of people in Oakland, California are said to have worked on a local businessman’s vision of creating what is today known as a Theme Park.
The idea was to create a park with structures from popular children’s story books and nursery rhymes. It was planned to have some farm animals too. Soon Oakland became home to Children’s Fairyland, a 10- acre fantasyland that came to break a path for many more theme parks to mushroom on American soil. According to the park, it was from this Fairyland that Walt Disney himself got the inspiration to build his Magic Kingdom that would go on to gain international fame. (The in-house magician tells us Mr. Disney even employed a couple of people who worked on the creation of Fairyland.)
Fairyland with its many scenes from children’s classics, is set up beside Oakland’s Lake Merritt and is within Lakeside Park.
Some time ago, when a friend of mine was in town, we planned a trip to this theme park called Fairyland, hoping her daughter would like the storybook sets. (What kid wouldn’t like to go to a place called Fairyland?) After we entered Lakeside Park, we were trying to figure out where the entrance to Fairyland might be. We followed the road looking for a board to direct us and there wasn’t one or we missed it because we soon found ourselves driving out the other gate of Lakeside Park. When we re-entered, we decided to park close to the place where colourful kiddie-structures popped out of hedges, and just walk around and look for the main gate.
We were soon greeted by a big book with a bookworm sticking out of it and the old lady who lived in a shoe. As we entered, there was Aladdin sliding down a roof. And not very far away was a large shiny lamp and a larger blue Genie. Abu couldn’t be far away I thought. I looked all around and there were no signs of the little monkey. But as we walked further into the storybook-themed park, we saw little children trying to skate and slide down Jack-and-Jill-hill, the white rabbit that led Alice to Wonderland, a maze of cards, Peter Rabbit’s place, Rapunzel letting down her hair from her prison tower and the three little pigs and their brick home. And whom did we see behind their little home — the wicked villain who threatened to huff and puff and blow down their cozy abode. We even saw Humpty Dumpty sitting on the wall (near the restroom 😉 ) among other famous characters.
Fairyland is a fun place for kids who are sure to be fascinated to be where several of their favourite story book characters live. And for adults it is quite a walk down memory lane. There are a few rides and a few live events depending on the day of the week you chose to visit the place. It’s a pretty cute storybook land. (Methinks that Storybook Land would have been an apt name for this kiddie-land.)