Thursday, July 12, 2007

Kids' Day Out in Oakland

Since Kavya is having her summer vacation and getting bored out of her mind staying at home, I took the day off from work today and took Kavya, her cousin and Karthik out. Our first stop was this kids park called Fairyland in Oakland. While we have made multiple trips to the Oakland Zoo, we have never been to Fairyland, which is about 15 minutes north of the zoo, in downtown Oakland. Our trip today made me wonder why. It is a fun place for kids and has enough to entertain them for atleast half a day, if not more.

The park is situated on the shore of Lake Merritt and that by itself makes it a picturesque location. The tickets are pretty cheap at $6 (parking is $3 on weekends and holidays). The park primarily consists of what they call storybook sets - set pieces illustrating scenes from popular children's stories. So they have models showing scenes from stories like The 3 Little Pigs, Pinocchio, Snow White, Alice in Wonderland, etc. All the sets are painted in bright colors, which makes them eye-catching. While some of the sets are simply for display, others(like Peter Pan's pirate ship) allow kids to climb up a rope ladder to the crow's nest, jump around, etc.

Apart from these sets, they also had a puppet show. It was a simple story narrated very slowly and clearly. The puppets were also cute and the show managed to even keep Karthik interested! There were 4 rides - 2 carousels, a train ride and a small ferris wheel - that were all very very kid-friendly. They also had a few animals in cages at a couple of places in the park.

From there we went to the Oakland Zoo. Among the 3 zoos I have visited in the Bay Area(the zoos in San Jose and San Francisco are the other two), Oakland is definitely our favorite. It has a lot more animals than the zoo in San Jose but is not as big as San Francisco and so will not tire out kids as much. They have a nice cable car ride and the new kids' area is a great addition with cute animals and a nice play area. The adjoining area with a few rides is ofcourse a very popular area with the kids. We have a membership at the zoo and since that means free admissions, we decided to make a stop there though we only had a couple of hours.

We covered almost the whole zoo in that time though. Karthik gets totally excited seeing the animals and his enthusiasm was the main factor in making us see most of the animals. It was a real hot day and most of them were cooling off but we saw the giraffes, lions and zebras.

A real exhausting but fun day...


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