Lake Merritt's Children's Fairyland is the original storybook theme park — the first one in the country — geared toward the seven-and-under crowd. Walt Disney toured the theme park back in the early Fifties, and it inspired his "Magic Kingdom" (Disneyland), which opened in 1955 five years after Fairyland. The place is only open to children and accompanying adults, though there are special adults-only nights for elders who want to experience the magic of Fairyland. For the younger crowd — it's truly made for children — there's plenty to do, including checking out talking storybook boxes activated by magic keys, an animal farm, child-sized rides, daily puppet shows, a children's theater program, a store, and a constant stream of bubbles to chase after. Disneyland might be the happiest place on Earth, but Fairyland is definitely the most delightful.
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