- Family Time
- Photo Ops
The holidays are a great time to make memories with your kids. You can experience the holiday cheer with your family by taking them to Oakland to visit the Winterland at Children’s Fairyland and Glowfari at the zoo.
Children’s Fairyland is a local theme park that has brought joy to countless children for 70 years. It’s rumored to have been one of the inspirations for Walt Disney to create Disneyland. There are 60 beautiful storybook sets, rides, animals, and a petting zoo to delight visitors. In addition, the park hosts Fairy Winterland in December, a festive multicultural celebration with lights, a parade, Santa Claus, and plenty of hot cocoa. This event typically runs every evening from mid-to-late December.
Also in the area is the Oakland Zoo Glowfari event. It’s an exciting lantern festival for all ages that runs from mid-November through January. At Glowfari, you and your kids will be in awe of the larger-than-life animal-shaped glowing lanterns scattered throughout the zoo’s mile-long path. You can also visit the real animals in the park, see Santa Claus, and ride the Express train.
Families can visit these parks as a standalone weekend activity or pair it with a trip to San Francisco.
Arrive early enough to visit Glowfari on Friday evening. On Saturday, spend the afternoon at Children’s Fairyland and the evening enjoying the park’s Fairy Winterland. Or flip it by spending Friday evening at Fairy Winterland and the next day and evening at the zoo. Then on Sunday, enjoy a traditional or dim sum brunch at one of the many excellent restaurants in the East Bay before going home.
Things to Do
- See the lanterns and animals at the Oakland Zoo Glowfari extravaganza.
- Spend time with Santa, enjoy the rides, explore the storybook sets, and watch the parade at Fairy Winterland.
- Eat out: San Francisco isn’t the only Bay Area city with fantastic restaurants! Oakland has plenty, too, including family-friendly restaurants like Zachary’s Chicago Pizza.
When to Go
The best time to see both attractions is between mid-December to the end of the month, except for Christmas Eve and Christmas. Fairy Winterland runs from mid-to-late December from 4 pm to 7 pm. The Oakland Zoo Glowfari runs from early December to the end of January from 5 pm to 10 pm.
General admission for Fairy Winterland is $18, and the Oakland Zoo Glowfari is $24 for adults and $20 for kids and seniors. Children under two and adults over 76 can enter Glowfari for free.