With close to 60 storybook sets, friendly animals, and eight acres of gardens, our park is designed to delight visitors of all ages, but especially those under age eight years old. Come and stroll through our gates — or run through if you’re a child — and discover all that Fairyland has to offer.
Favorite childhood stories come to life
Local architect William Russell Everitt designed our original storybook sets. His whimsical creations feature off-kilter walls, bright colors, and — most important — child-size proportions. We’ve added to and remodeled many sets over the years, but always in the original spirit.
Our best-known, and most-loved, sets include:
The Old Lady in the Shoe greets everyone who approaches our Fairy Gates.
Talking Storybook Boxes feature keyholes for Magic Keys ($3 in the gift shop) so you can listen to stories in English or Spanish.
Jack & Jill Hill is a bright green sliding hill that encourages physical and imaginative play.
The Jolly Roger Pirate Ship from J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan beckons older children (and adventurous little ones) into the crow’s nest above the rope ladder. Watch out for the crocodile!
Old West Junction features a livery stable, bank, jail, and water-tower slide. Kids can act out their favorite tall tales in fantasy play.
The Chapel of Peace gives parents and kids a place to relax. During Fairy Winterland in December, Black Santa Claus welcomes kids at the Chapel.
The Alice in Wonderland Tunnel twists and turns to bring young tunnelers into the playing-card maze. Tunnel windows show scenes from Alice’s adventures.
The Dragon Slide may look big and fearsome but this slippery slope is fun for kids over four. Sorry, no adults!
Willie the Whale spouts water from his blowhole and invites visitors to climb into his belly.
Peter Rabbit’s Garden is inspired by Beatrix Potter’s beloved tales.
Happy Dragon welcomes kids to climb all over his back as he lounges inside the gates.
Fairy Music Farm Tunnel is a 118-foot-long journey of discovery with interactive musical instruments, a landscaped courtyard, and a series of murals showing fairies from different cultures.
Rides are open!
Fairyland’s rides are designed to be colorful, fantasy-filled, and enjoyable for even very young children.
Jolly Trolly: This kid-size train is our oldest ride, installed in 1954. It journeys past Old West Junction and through a tunnel. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Wonder-Go-Round: Installed in 1956, the carousel features Alice in Wonderland characters. Children must weigh no more than 90 pounds; children under 36" tall must be accompanied by an adult.
Anansi’s Magic Web: This mini Ferris wheel, installed in 1975, resembles a spider’s web from the African folk tale. The maximum weight per cage is 90 pounds, and children must be shorter than 54". Sorry, no adults allowed.
Flecto Carousel: The Flecto Paint Company donated this bright carousel in 1997; it was completely refurbished and rededicated in 2016. Children must weigh no more than 60 pounds and be between 38" and 54"; no adults allowed.
You’ll never find a “thrill ride” at Fairyland, but you will find fun and laughter.
Gift Shop and Online Store
Take Fairyland home with you!
Yes, our gift shop is open. Plus, we now offer a more robust online store. Order from our online store and you can magically pick up your goods from our in-park shop on the day of your visit.
Meet our donkeys, ponies, and more
Animals have been an important part of Children’s Fairyland since we opened in 1950. Today, more than 15 gentle animals live in our park.
Want to help support one of Fairyland's most popular attractions? Donate items to help groom, engage, and treat our animals with loving care through our gift registry.
The Fairyland menagerie includes:
Pepper and Pixie, our miniature horses
Brownie and Cookie, our Nigerian Dwarf goats
Miniature donkeys, Gideon and Chiquita Bonita
Luckii, DabDab, and Puddles, our ducks
Oatmeal and Raisin, our Olde English Baby Doll Sheep
Our buff-laced Polish chicken, Ricki Henderson
Opal and Pearl, our other chickens
Puff, our "magic" bearded dragon
Animal Day and Dr. Doolittle programs
Plan a visit to Fairyland when you can get close to our featured, furry, and wooly residents.
Our Dr. Doolittle program gives field trips a special opportunity to meet and learn about the animals. Learn about field trips.
On Animal Day at summer camp, kids can participate in a variety of animal-related activities, from looking under a microscope to grooming or feeding the sheep. Learn about summer camp.
We offer volunteer opportunities in our animal department, especially for adults and mature teenagers with some experience in caring for animals. Get volunteer information.
Gardens and Monarch Magic Program
Discover how Mary’s garden grows
Local nursery owner Arthur Navlet originally designed the gardens at Children’s Fairyland to bring the flora of favorite childhood stories to life. Now you can stroll by Mr. McGregor’s garden, visit Mary’s silver bells and cockleshells, and see some of the original plantings from 1950.
We use bay-friendly and integrated-pest-management gardening principles to keep our plants happy and healthy and to protect Lake Merritt. Vegetables from our organic garden feed our animals (and occasionally the staff).
There are also several rare plants dotting our landscape. The deciduous Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides), once thought to be extinct, is now growing strong near the Emerald City Stage.
Under the Dragon Slide, you’ll find Fairyland’s greenhouse, where many of our plants are propagated. If you’d like to take home a living memento of your visit, we have plants for sale in the plaza by our gift shop. The “Fairy Wand” plant is one of our favorites — can you spot it?
Garden clubs often visit to ask about our themed plantings. Feel free to do the same!
Monarch Magic Program!
Thank you for your interest in the Monarch Magic Program! This program runs October-December on an annual basis in conjunction with our native monarch butterfly’s life-cycle. Please stop by to pick up caterpillars/milkweed from 1-3 p.m. on Wednesdays and 11-1 p.m. on Saturdays. If you have questions that are not answered here please email Jackie Salas, Landscape Supervisor, at (her work schedule is Friday- Monday and she will get back to you as soon as she can!).
Monarch Magic foster family frequently asked questions:
Where should I put my terrarium in my house?
Caterpillars would benefit from a spot with moderate temperatures (around 65-70 degrees) and filtered daily sunlight- think the same conditions as a healthy houseplant.
Why can’t I feed the caterpillars milkweed from my backyard?
Our milkweed has been bleached to eliminate a deadly pathogen named Ophryocystis elektroscirrha that kills the caterpillars.
When can I pick milkweed up at Fairyland?
Weekly from 1-3 p.m. on Wednesdays and 11-1 p.m. on Saturdays October-early December.
When do I bring the caterpillars back to Fairyland?
Please bring the adult butterflies back to Fairyland after they have come out of their chrysalis, while they are still in their terrarium. They have to be tested for the O.E. pathogen we are trying to eliminate from our population (which people can learn more about here) before being released.
How do I feed adults butterflies before I bring them back?
With Flowers! All they need is a small nosegay of flowers to keep them happy for a few days. They love salvias, or asters. Just make sure the flowers have not been sprayed with pesticides before feeding their nectar to the butterflies.
Caterpillar raising “Hacks” (Tips):
- Use small necked bottles to hold milkweed stems. Caterpillars can’t swim, so if they fall in larger open mouth cups they can drown. You can also place a ziplock bag with rubber bands on a larger cup like a mini trampoline, and poke a couple holes for the stems to go through.
- Put paper towels on the bottom of the terrarium to collect dead leaves and caterpillar poop- you will be surprised how much they produce and it will make clean up so much easier (think small animal or bird cage cleaning)!
- When the caterpillars get to be 4th and 5th instar size (they molt and get bigger during instar stages like reptiles) they can eat cucumber and pumpkin skin. Make sure its organic- traditional vegetables may have pesticide residue that would kill the insects!
- The caterpillars should eat a couple sprigs of milkweed at a time. The cup of milkweed you receive on Wednesday or Saturday is extra milkweed that should be kept in the refrigerator; individual sprigs can be pulled out of the cup and added as the caterpillars eat through it.
Partake before you play
Yes, our Cafe is open. Service has been revamped to minimize waiting and gathering. Look for signage on how to order your food favorites. The Pumpkin is closed for now, so BYOE (that’s “Bring Your Own Espresso”) – we’ve got fresh-brewed coffee covered though!