Thursday, November 05, 2015
Welcome to the 11th post featuring Ken Martinez's collection of vintage amusement park postcards! We'll be visiting a place that I have never seen - Children's Fairyland in Oakland, CA. Here's Ken:
Children's Fairyland, Oakland, California
Children's Fairyland opened in 1950, and is located in the city of Oakland next to Lake Merritt. The park has many storybook sets which contained "talking storybook boxes" that you could purchase a plastic key for. When you turned your key in the box, audio would play telling the story of the fairytale/fable portrayed in the storybook set. Walt Disney also visited here and incorporated ideas from Fairyland into Disneyland.
The original entrance to Fairyland was through "The Old Lady in the Shoe" structure. I remember my mother purchasing tickets at the window in the heel of the shoe. Adults would have to squat to get through the entrance. While the shoe still stands, the newer "Fairy Gates" entrance is just beyond the shoe today.
This storybook set features the home of Peter Rabbit. I love the simple small and intimate architecture of these sets. Children's Fairyland had and still does have small animals in their storybook sets and exhibits, like the rabbits seen here.
The Happy Dragon has been at the park ever since I can remember. As a little boy, my mother would hold me up as I pulled his leather tongue, which would activate a speaker so he could tell a story of Fairyland. The Happy Dragon is still vocally active to this day.
This storybook set features the home of the Three Little Pigs. Can we assume that all three of them live there, because the brick house is the only structure that can withstand the wolf's huff and puff? I love the white picket fence and crooked roofline.
The Jolly Trolly train opened in 1954. I remember riding this train along the shores of Lake Merritt and through the parklands surrounded by the city of Oakland. I also remember sticking my head out the oval windows of the cabs as shown in the postcard. The train reminds me of a cross between the Casey Jr. Circus Train and Toonerville Trolley. It still runs along its track today and looks basically the same as it did when it first opened.
As a child I remember sitting here at this storybook theater many times to watch the marionette performances at this little theater. It just seems so small and old fashioned now. The size of things certainly seemed bigger when you were a little kid.
Fairyland was the park I visited regularly as a very small child, since we lived in the Lake Merritt neighborhood in the early 1960's. Because of that, this place holds special memories for me. I hope you enjoyed your visit to Children's Fairyland. The park is still going strong to this day, is a source of local pride, and has kept most of its original spirit and feel. If you plan on visiting, just remember that no adult is admitted without a child and no child is admitted without an adult.
Information source material:
www.fairyland.org Official site of Children's Fairyland, Oakland.
I DID enjoy my visit to Children's Fairyland! Thank you as always, Ken Martinez!