Lake Merritt's Fairyland will reopen to the public March 19 after temporarily closing last year

Lake Merritt's Fairyland will reopen to the public March 19 after temporarily closing last year
Entrance to Children's Fairyland in Oakland | Photo: Courtesy of Fairyland
By Matt Charnock - Published on March 01, 2021.

Oakland’s dreamscape of bright colors and childhood nostalgia, Fairyland (699 Bellevue Avenue) is set to reopen to the public on March 19 after being shuttered for over four months.

Fairyland, the country’s first children’s storybook theme park, was founded over 70 years ago and has existed as a cross-generational touchstone for early education programs, summer camps, and all-around family-friendly merriment. But the pandemic has dealt one financial blow after the other to the beloved Bay Area institution. (In July, SFGate reported on the historic park's struggle to stay in business during the pandemic and after a PPP loan ran out, staff were re-furloughed.)

Though with the park now expected to reopen on March 19 — tickets for its reopening date went on sale last week — some financial respite is on the horizon.

Starting Friday, March 19, the park will be open three days a week (Friday through Sunday) and will then expand to five days a week (Wednesday through Sunday) starting the 31st; on June 7, the park will then stay open all week long.

To ensure proper social distancing, park-goers can choose between two timed-entry sessions that are separated by an hour’s worth of cleanings in between. And to abide by local and state COVID-19 safety protocols, Fairyland will operate at reduced capacity and host only 1,000 attendees per day, split between those two sessions. (Rides, puppet shows, and other live entertainment are presently not allowed by Alameda County COVID-19 guidelines — so those and other like-attractions are, at the moment, closed.)

The in-park cafe, however, will still remain open with a slightly modified menu that will expand by summer; indoor retail spaces are also now open and visitors will be allowed to enter one “social bubble” at a time, per the park.  

Fairyland is also planning a new, “never-before-done” summer night at the Fairyland event series — with details expected to come soon.

To preorder your tickets for the park, click here. And if your pockets are feeling especially deep, you can still donate to the park’s ongoing fundraiser, which has currently over $111,000 to keep the park afloat and offer financial aid to its employees.