Institute 2014

Children’s Fairyland in Oakland – ALSC Institute Events

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Can’t decide if you should attend the ALSC National Institute in Oakland, CA, September 18-20, 2014?  Let me tell you about just one afternoon in the three-day schedule that will definitely be worth your time —the Children’s Fairyland program set for Friday afternoon!  I used to work at Children’s Fairyland, so I know this program will be fun and exciting; plus, the breakout sessions will cover timely topics such as creating makers’ spaces, the Common Core, and storytime innovations.

     Children’s Fairyland began in 1950 as a nonprofit (which it still is), with small rides and Penny at Fairylandinteractive elements based on Mother Goose rhymes and fairy tales.  Families entered through a shoe with a child sized door — most dads had to squat down to enter.  There were small farm animals to pet, and other amusements in the park-like setting.  It was the definition of “non-corporate.” Before he built Disneyland, Walt Disney visited Children’s Fairyland to glean ideas for his own (much larger) park.  I started volunteering at Fairyland in the 1970’s, greeting children as Snow White.

     The award-winning puppet shows have always been a feature of the park, and plans are in the works for Institute attendees to enjoy one at the Friday night reception.  Many Fairyland puppeteers have gone on to success in New York and Hollywood, including film director Frank Oz, the voice of Yoda and the Muppets’ Miss Piggy.

Children's Fairyland

     Fairyland has added many new attractions over the years, to reflect the cultural diversity of Oakland, including the Anansi the Spider Ferris Wheel, Chinese Dragon, and Japanese Tea Garden. All the attractions and the puppet shows are based on folklore, fairytales, or children’s literature (including Alice in Wonderland’s reading room, and Peter Pan and Captain Hook’s Pirate Ship), motivating families to find those books and read them at home.

Penny Peck and Mike Kittlestat giving tours at Fairyland

     The Children’s Fairyland program for the ALSC Institute will feature both breakout sessions as well as an opportunity to explore this historic children’s literature-based park, making this a unique experience you don’t want to miss! 

Penny Peck, ALSC Institute Task Force member

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  1. Pingback: ALSC Institute at Children’s Fairyland | ALSC Blog

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