Children's Fairyland, U.S.A. is an entertainment park located in Oakland , California, on the shores of Merritt Lake. It was one of the first "themed" amusement parks in the United States. Fairyland consists of 10 acres (4.0 ha) of play sets, small rides and animals. The park is also home to the Open Storybook Puppet Theater, the oldest continuously performing puppet theater in the United States.
Fairyland was built in 1950 by the Oakland Lake Merritt Breakfast Club, a local service club. The park was immediately recognized nationally for its unique value, and during the City Beautiful Movement of the 1950s, it inspired many towns to create their own parks. Walt Disney toured many amusement parks in 1950, including Children's Fairyland, seeking ideas for what turned out to be Disneyland.He hired the first Fairyland director, Dorothy Manes, to work as a youth director at Disneyland, where she continued from the park 's opening until 1972.
All shows that the stage of Fairyland's Storybook Puppet Theater is an original production, featuring scripts, costumes, music, and sets designed by our talented puppeteers. Don't miss a chance to watch a production at the oldest puppet theater in the U.S.
Since we parted the curtains for the first time in 1956, some of the country's most talented puppeteers have worked at our theater. The list includes Luman Coad, Frank and Dorothy Hayward, Tony Urbano, and Mike and Frances Oznowicz, the team's husband and wife.
The fourth director of the theater, Lewis Mahlmann, held the position from 1967 to 2005. The current theater director, Randal J. Metz, has worked at the park since he was a Lewis Mahlmann high school apprentice. Randal and Lewis shared the role of director starting in 1991, and Randal became the sole director when Lewis retired in 2005.
The most colorful place to enjoy children's community theater in East Bay is at Aesop's Playhouse, Fairyland 's exciting main stage. From June to October, our talented cast brings stories from all over the world to life — check the showtime calendar.
It has allowed young people to create live theater for more than 50 years. We introduced Fairyland Personalities in 1956. In this theater program, children aged 8 to 10 portray characters from folklore and children's literature in stage productions, at community events and during visits to senior centers and schools. Hearings for our Children's Theater Program are held once a year in January / February.
Aesop's Playhouse has more than 200 people in festival seats and was financed entirely by Oakland's Measure DD, a $198.25 million bond measure passed by the voters in 2002. The structure was designed by Oakland-based Ace Architects; the Richmond Scientific Art Studio created the imaginative sculptures of Aesop and his characters.
In addition to our own children's theater, our playhouse hosted the Bay Area Children's Theatre, the Oakland School of Arts, the Pacific Boychoir, the Oakland Ballet Company, popular artists from KQED, and a host of young performers from local schools and community art groups.
The four pillars of education of Fairyland are literacy, science, social / emotional and creativity. Our many educational programs include an award-winning and highly attractive summer day camp, regular Toddler StoryTime every Friday, field trips with optional life science add-ons, and Turn the Page! , an annual children's book authoring and illustrator festival.
The Community Outreach Program focuses on increasing access to Fairyland and funding field trips and other programs for underserved schools and communities. In addition, our successful children 's theater program provides affordable performing arts education and children's opportunities 8 to 10 in our own Aesop's Playhouse.
This amazing landmark is located near the following amazing must-see sites in Oakland, California:
- Angel Island
- Tilden Regional Park
- Oakland Zoo
- Lake Merritt
- Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park
- The University of California Botanical Garden
- Chabot Space & Science Center
- USS Hornet - Sea, Air and Space Museum
All of these wonderful points of interest are located just a short distance from our location, conveniently located just down the freeway at 1261 Locust St, Walnut Creek! Stop by for a visit anytime!