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Best Reason to Borrow Someone Else's Kid 

Children's Fairyland

Four hundred miles closer than Disneyland, $50 cheaper, and a thousand times more laid-back, there's Fairyland, a half-park/half-amusement park with a $7 admission ticket. Fairyland, which lacks fairies, might be more accurately named "FairyTale Land." It's a monument to children's literature, with storybooks your grandparents read rendered in 3-D so you can climb on them. Built in 1950, when America was rich enough to splurge on ten acres of amusement for the kids but not yet entrenched in hyperconsumerist insanity, the park has puppet shows every few hours, affordable hot dogs, and a tiny, un-scary Ferris wheel. Slide down a dragon's belly, climb to the crow's nest of a pirate ship, or run through Alice's rabbit hole and get confused in a house of cards. Hang out in trapezoidally proportioned little houses and board a tiny Noah's Ark that's a bird sanctuary. Or just dig in the sandbox while your grown-up buys an espresso from the barista in the giant stucco pumpkin. Adults aren't allowed in without kids, so if you babysit, have relatives under ten, or you're just into slightly trippy, goofily proportioned, refreshingly old-school kids' amusement facilities, this is the place to take your charges.
(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)


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