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Arts & Entertainment

Oakland’s beloved amusement park to host a ‘Fairy Winterland’ that’s not just for kids

Fairy Winterland in Oakland runs from Dec. 16-30, but is closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas. | Courtesy Children's Fairyland

Oakland's Children's Fairyland, the oldest storybook theme park in the U.S., is bringing back its Fairy Winterland event that transforms the park into a sparkly wonderland—and, for the first time, it includes a “Winterland for Grownups” on the night of Dec. 15, offering yet another option for seeing spectacular holiday lights

Adults-only night offers an opportunity for those 21+ to enjoy the park’s thousands of twinkly lights—and some hard beverages—without the backdrop of exuberant children. A DJ will be on hand, as well as food and drink options ranging from The Chairman to Kabob Trolley to Ohm Coffee Roasters for any teetotalers in need of warming up. 

Black Santa poses at the gate of Children's Fairyland in Oakland, the oldest storybook theme amusement park in the United States. | Courtesy Children's Fairyland
A child frolics in front of Old West Junction at Children's Fairyland in Oakland. | Courtesy Children's Fairyland

Adults can connect to their inner child by taking a ride on the Holly Jolly Trolly, dancing under a flurry of (fake) snow at the Old West Junction and watching tap-dancing Christmas trees. Black Santa will be in attendance for selfies, too. The $30 ticket includes two grown-up beverages as well as complimentary apple cider. 

For those who want to enjoy the Fairy Winterland with tykes in tow, families can attend Fairy Winterland every evening from Dec. 16 to Dec. 30. (The park is closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas.) Kids can drop their letters for Santa in a special mailbox at the Chapel of Peace and then join him for the Festival of Lights Parade every evening at 6:30 p.m. Also on tap are a culturally inclusive holiday scavenger hunt and special performances. 

Children's Fairyland has benefited from a recent refresh, with beloved-yet-aging rides and attractions being repainted in bright colors and maintenance issues addressed. The Johnny Appleseed Café has also been revamped, with healthier menu options for kids. 

Fairy Winterland

🕑 Dec. 16 to 30, 4 p.m.-7 p.m. (Adult-only event Dec. 15, 6 p.m.-10 p.m.; closed Dec. 24-25)
📍 Children's Fairyland, 699 Bellevue Ave., Oakland
☎️ (510) 452-2259
🎟 $9-$30
🔗 Purchase tickets here

Julie Zigoris can be reached at