OAKLAND (KPIX) -- Months after being shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic, Children's Fairyland in Oakland finally reopened to visitors on Friday.
There is something magical about the fact that -- after 70 years and a serious financial struggle after being closed for most of 2020 -- Children's Fairyland is still around in 2021.
With 10 acres of land, the amusement park can have 700 people under the current Red Tier guidelines in Alameda County. There are other changes required by COVID protocols. Instead of selling printed paper tickets at the park box office as in the past, tickets are now digital.
"Please have your digital tickets ready on your phone or, if you have the printout, please have it ready. We'll be checking guest in momentarily," the front gate guide said to parents and their children lined up to enter the park.
Families said they have had enough of stay at home and are happy to get the children back outside to enjoy the family favorite near Lake Merritt.
"A lot of fun! It was amazing to come back to something normal, you know, after one year!" enthused one mom.
"It was great! There weren't too many people. It was really a fun day for the kids," said another.
Some parents told KPIX they are watching to see how the park handles sanitation. Families were still being careful, but they seemed to be satisfied by the precautions being taken.
Ben Yates and his daughter Mai are longtime fans of Children's Fairyland.
"It seemed to be working well. I felt safe. There's handwashing stations so we could have sit down snack and wash our hands. I think it's fine," said Yates.
Throughout the park, staff members were wiping down surfaces, but some things are still not open. Moving rides and performance areas remain shut down.
"The animals are so excited to have everybody back into the park! Can you imagine?" said Fairyland Executive Director Kimberly Miller. "No, really, it's like the, regularly the animals see everybody everyday, but it's been a whole year of just the staff. Looking at the same old face. They want to see the little ones."
More information on the amusement park's COVID-19 protocols and tickets can be found at the Children's Fairyland website.
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