Postcard. Description: Color photo view of fairyland postoffice with three children. Unused postcard with scalloped edges. Title: U.S. Post Office Children's Fairyland Oakland Calfornia. From the San Francisco Examiner, Dec. 21, 1997, by Annie Nakao. "When it opened in September 1950, the line of parents and their kids snaked down Grand Avenue. "Life" magazine called it the biggest thing that ever happened to the children of Oakland. Now 47 years old, Childrens' Fairyland - considered a prototype of today's Disneyland and other theme parks - still draws youngsters to its child-sized world of Mother Goose characters....In the frazzling era of commercial kiddie fun, many find Fairyland a decided tonic. Nestled on 10 acres among the trees at Lake Merritt, Fairyland is a paean to the small and simple: ambling paths go by The Crooked Man's house and Mary Mary Quite Contrary's garden. Nearby, Humpty Dumpty sits in peril on his wall and Mother Goose swings in a tree. Here, skewed angles predominate: a clock tower slide has few straight lines and neither does Goosey Gander's castle. A small collection of animals - from goats to hampsters to an alpaca - adds to the exhibits. Dotting the park are animal-shaped water fountains and trash cans, many of them originals from the park's opening. And always the scale is aimed at kids, not adults. To enter the park, for example, adults have to stoop to get through the Old Woman's Shoe....But the years have taken a toll on the beloved park. Landscaping is scraggly in places, bathrooms badly need restoring and some corners of the park, like the defunct Robinson Crusoe Island and the drained sea lions' pool seem abandonned. But Fairyland is getting $1.5 million for capital construction from Proposition I, a voter approved bond measure to renovate some of Oakland's best known cultural amenities.... When it first opened in 1950, an estimated 750,000 people visited the park. Admission then was 14 cents for adults and 9 cents for kids. The idea was born when Arthur E. Navlet, a director of the Lake Merritt Breakfast Club, and his wife, visited the Detroit's Children's Zoo. The childless but child-loving Navlets loved what they saw and were determined to create something similar in Oakland. The club succeeded in drawing citywide support. Among the earliest backers: the lae William Penn Mott Jr., former director of the National Park Service, who felt strongly that the park should never deviate from its purpose. "Bill's general thought was that we should always keep the park designed and viewed through the eyes of a child," Lewis Mahlmann, master puppeteer who created FAiryland's famed puppet shows, wrote after Mott revisited the park in 1991. "He also contends that no straight lines should ever be used, but always slightly on an angle to continue the original design of the park."... "It's magical - all the books come true here," said Amy Lyons of Berkeley who was busy feeding the goats Saturday with her 3-year old twins, Katy and Anthony, and a friend's youngster, Jess, 20 months. "My kids love it. They don't try to commercialize it.." Nearby, Richard Larsen, 66, of Oakland, watched his 3-year old grandson, Brent, toddle down a path. "My four kids have all been to Fairyland and they loved it, and now their children are coming," said Larsen. It's all due to a simple rule, Stark said. "It's child-sized," she said. "Kids love it."
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