WATCH: Inside Children’s Fairyland

Martin Snapp, Children’s Fairyland’s unofficial historian and, arguably, its biggest fan, leads us on a a brief tour of the Oakland institution. You can read his colorful history of Fairyland, which includes appearances by Walt Disney, Mayor Libby Schaaf, and the inventor of the magnetic key card, here.

— Marica Petrey
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The summer of ’15, I returned to Fairyland for the first time since 1956, when I’d been three. I almost didn’t get in because I didn’t have a kid with me. But I begged and pleaded with them, told them I’d come all the way from Boston, and at length they asked a young woman who worked there to accompany me. It was amazing the way the memories surfaced. I remembered the shoe that the old woman had lived in, that you walk under before you get to the entry, and I remembered the logo above the entry. I remembered some of the little passageways, and the enchanting little Mother Goose houses. I did not remember the dragon. It was maybe 40 feet long, about 3 feet wide, and bright orange. Then the woman told me that when I’d last been there, the dragon had been green. Then I remembered it. I remembered being awestruck. I also remembered having the feeling that such a big, long, but slender creature didn’t look like it would be viable. The kind of thinking one would expect from a future student of David Wake.