When Pamma was here, she was just the best sport about happily going along with whatever ridiculous adventure we could cook up for her. And the most ridiculous, as always, was Children's Fairyland. Located within a fenced enclosure adjacent to Lake Merritt, Children's Fairyland is more than just borderline creepy. But small to mid-sized children really get a kick out of it. Because they have no idea that a) fairy tales are the creepiest! and b) Coney Island is the creepiest! and c) combining the two is just the absolute most bonkers extreme of creepy family entertainment.
It's difficult to even describe what it is... I will go with: a sprawling series of interactive displays inspired by children's fiction, none of which are aging gracefully, and some of which smell of mold. So, it's clearly fun for the whole family.
It's way too big for us to cover all the terrain in one visit, so almost everything we saw this time was new to us. Grady the Gus enjoyed the moldering Alice in Wonderland slide/tunnel/maze complex:
Unprompted, he went around hugging Snow White and the seven dwarves, who stood stock-still in a small fenced courtyard outside their locked cottage. That wasn't cute or anything.
And then. We happened upon a carousel for toddlers. We've never even suggested to Baby Grady that he should ride a carousel, because, well, we know him and they are so very, very clearly not his jam. This one, however, seemed like it might be okay. It was tiny, and open-air, and moved very, very slowly. It was kind of no big deal, really. Grady was clearly interested, but we just sort of hung out, no pressure, let's see where this goes. He observed it for several cycles. Then he decided that he wanted to ride the walrus. Then he panicked and wept and had to be removed right before the ride started. We walked away, but then he wanted to go back. He watched some more. Finally, he decided to try again. This time, he selected a sturdy, chair-like spot, in the arms of a weeping turtle-pig. (I don't have any idea, you guys.) And he nervously made it through the entire ride. He managed a slight smile and even some waves, but for the most part, he was clearly concentrating on not losing his baby ish all over that faded, weird miniature carnie ride. It was such a challenge for him, and the desire to tackle it was all his. So incredible to watch from such a little guy.