I awoke today with the knowledge that I had a whole day off to spend doing whatever I wanted with the Monkey, but with no plan to speak of. A quick "things to do with kids bay area" Google search led me to a place my Dad had mentioned hearing of a few weeks ago, and which my parents and I took the little guy to for
Today's New Activity: Children's Fairyland in Oakland
I don't know why it didn't occur to me when I read the name of this place but of course...of course! Children's Fairyland is an amusement park at Lakeside Park (Lake Merritt that is) created especially for kids ages 2-4 that is all about children's fairy tales! Every little structure and play thing there is tied in to a story. Take, for example, this crooked house (that the crooked man lived in of course)
There were dragons to climb in and on
and real life animals representing those in well-known fairy tales, the structures in their living areas showing which story they were telling (like goats and geese and donkeys and bunnies and, for some reason, this random alpaca (the first I've ever seen))
The spider from Little Miss Muffet was mercifully fake
On the way in we bought a "magic key" for two bucks, and at every area there were these boxes, where the kiddies inserted the keys to play a talking story or song. So cute! Monkey finally got the hang of the turning toward the middle of our visit, and he must have played the one at Hey Diddle Diddle 8 times in a row.
At one point my Dad introduced him to Humpty Dumpty, whom he kept referring back to for the rest of the day as "Humpy Dumpy," which I thought was itself a pretty awesome name.
There were so many fun things to do: a little train, two carousels, puppet shows (all of which we missed), mazes and a pirate ship climbing structure, an old ghost town to explore, a gigantic slide made out of a dragon and this other one, set in the middle of the old lady's shoe (as in "there was an old lady who lived in a shoe")
We stayed only two hours for this first visit, but I plan to drag my friends and their kids back very soon. There was a decent snack bar, tons of shade, and no lines for anything. It was ten times cheaper ($8 admission for all), closer, and more rewarding for kids this age than Disneyland would be. Even a child younger than two had full access to everything, and the Mamas don't have to run that far too keep track of them. I love love LOVE this place!! Can't wait for the next time :)