Last week one of our favorite friends Suzy took some time off of work so her husband could go on a quick trip to London to check out potential neighborhoods (they are moving at the end of the summer...exciting for them, so sad for us). Suzy suggested we check out Fairyland in Oakland and Norah and I were game. I mentioned to BVZ what we were doing and he said that his mom used to take him there all the time as a kid and it was "pretty beat." That would have been around 1979, and apparently it hasn't been updated much since then. I am not sure that anyone over the age of 5 would have much fun, but Norah and Caroline LOVED it and we had a fabulous morning.
There was a little gnome on the top of this mushroom that blew one bubble every 2 minutes or so. Yeah, one bubble. You could even see the little plastic wand. This little fairy couldn't have been more impressed (yes, she's wearing pink fairy wings courtesy of our friends Karyl and Isaac...thanks, guys!)
This giant dragon was a favorite of Caroline's and she could easily navigate her way up and down his scales. Norah wasn't quite as agile (shorter legs, way bigger chicken), but did her best.
This was a big hit-Rapunzel's tower. Norah would have climbed those stairs all day. There was a VERY steep slide inside the house that she would have nothing to do with. It took a couple of climbs up, but Caroline finally went down it.
This is a bad picture, but it was one of Norah's favorite "exhibits." It is a giant whale with a small fish tank. BVZ totally remembers this, which I think is funny. See that purple box? For $2 at the admissions gate you can buy a plastic key which will turn on music and stories at these various boxes located throughout the park. I bought one but kind of forgot about it (plus, a lot of the boxes didn't work and the kids weren't that interested in listening anyway). Norah now uses the key to "lock" Cinderella and other tragic heroines in her bedroom at home.
I think this was Gepetto's workshop.
Lou behaved how he usually does....smiled and looked around for a while and then took a nap.
There were a handful of animals (some rabbits, a horse, etc.) but the kids weren't all that impressed. Norah likes to look from afar only and Caroline apparently is still not over an unfortunate incident she once had with a goat. Tunnels were more interesting.
There were a few rides that looked as though they were last updated in 1983. I wasn't too concerned because Norah isn't that interested in rides (let's face it, she's a huge chicken). There was a ferris wheel type contraption that circles the kids around in enclosed cages. Caroline saw it and made a beeline for the line. Norah held her hand and went running off with her. I told Suzy there was no way in hell Norah was going to get on, so imagine my surprise when she jumped into the little cage with Caroline and clapped her hands in anticipation. The ride started. It made its way around once before we could hear the "Mom! Stop this! Please! I want off!" The woman operating it was very gracious (I would imagine this probably happens a lot), and quickly let her off. Norah dried her tears and we watched Caroline finish the ride.
She recovered quickly and kept on exploring.
Then took a break for a snack.
There was an Alice in Wonderland exhibit that Suzy and I both really liked (BVZ remembers this one too). You wander through a maze of cards and then walk down a tunnel with various scenes from the story set up in diorama form.
Kevin was such a trooper. He chilled in his stroller and ate goldfish crackers.
There was a puppet show performance of 'Sword in the Stone' going on that Norah was pretty into, but I made her go potty instead.
After a pee break the show was over, so the girls hopped on this very sophisticated and technologically advanced ride that went .0000001 mile an hour. So, of course Norah loved it.
There were lots of cute and funny photo opps.
Both of the girls really loved the carousel. They rode it a lot.
It was a really, really fun day. It was very overcast so the weather was quite cool (almost chilly), and the park was not very crowded. I don't imagine I would have enjoyed myself if it had been hot and/or crowded, so thankfully things aligned in our favor.
The girls were pretty tired when we left but somehow caught a second wind. Norah apparently decided she needed to run around and took off as soon as we left the confines of the Fairyland gate. Now, perhaps we are spoiled in that she has never been that kid who takes off or runs away or otherwise puts herself in imminent peril, so I was dumbfounded when she bolted off and didn't respond to my repeated screams of 'stop!, freeze!, and red light!' I was pissed and once I caught her I let her know that her behavior was inappropriate and dangerous and as a result of her refusal to listen she forfeited the privilege of watching a movie that afternoon.
And believe me, after a long morning with a kid who no longer naps regularly, forfeiting a movie is a way worse punishment for me than it is for her.