Mission: Children’s Fairyland is America’s first storybook theme park, located on the shores of Lake Merritt in the heart of Oakland. As a nonprofit community organization, Fairyland offers programming and activities that engage and enliven families, including hundreds of local low-income children every year. Since 1950, Fairyland has been the low-tech, high-touch outdoor playground for young children to create, imagine, play, and learn.
Programs: Children's fairyland is strongly committed to giving back to the community we serve in a number of ways: providing thousands of low-income children the opportunity to visit fairyland each year at no charge; donating thousands of park tickets annually to local nonprofit organizations, including pre-and elementary schools and libraries; donating use of the park to agencies/businesses serving the low income community; employing dozens of local teenagers each year and training them in job skills; providing scholarships to our summer camp program; participating in numerous local parades and city of oakland events; promoting literacy by providing free books and early childhood curriculum activities to teachers and parents; offering a subsidized rate for all school field trips; providing low cost rental of our children's performing arts theater for local schools and arts organizations and participating in the "give kids the world" program by offering free admission to children with life-threatening illnesses and their family members. Children's fairyland was the first storybook theme park in america, providing the inspiration to walt disney to create disneyland. Our supporters (including over 3500 member families and 6600 facebook fans) are dedicated to ensuring that this "dream for every child come true" continues to survive and thrive in our dynamic urban community.
Children's Fairyland is a fairytale theme park that inspired Walk Disney to create Disneyland. BUt twenty years ago, when my daughter was a toddler, Fairyland was run down and on its last legs (run by the cash-strapped city at the time). A committed group of community members who wanted to save Fairyland formed a nonprofit to run it, raised money, and over the years fully renovated and expanded this one-of-a-kind children's theme park, while still keeping its 1950s charm. I got to really know Fairyland when my daughter was a "Personality" (costumed 8-10-year-olds who performed live shows in the park), and I saw how focused they were on making it a place where children could imagine, play and learn in a safe, non-commercial environment. I finally joined the Board, and must say that this is one of the best-run nonprofits I've ever encountered: mission-focused, understanding families and children, thoughtfully crafting programs that encourage literacy, serving thousands of low-income families every years, and constantly innovating. And now, one of our former "Personalities" is a city councilmember running for mayor ... one of many people who say their lives were changed by Fairyland.