PIXIE WOODS: Celebrating 60 Years

The idea for a children’s park in Stockton was conceived 60 years ago by a group of volunteers who, like many community-minded people, became inspired by the creation of Disneyland®. These individuals approached the Stockton City Council and were told if they could raise $3,500 the city would provide 3.5 acres of land. The group had no trouble raising the funds, and Pixie Woods officially opened in Louis Park in 1955. The original ticket price was 10¢ for children and 15¢ for adults. To name the park, the committee held a contest in the newspaper that was won by Jonathan Bragdone, who received a lifetime membership as his prize.

PixieWith the the name settled, the committee organized tours of other city parks, including Fairy Tale Town in Sacramento, to gain inspiration for the design. Pixie Woods opened with a bang–in the first week the park welcomed 16,000 guests and saw 19 birthdays celebrated. Besides the local residents, the park has hosted numerous celebrities. After a fundraiser at the University of the Pacific, Sonny and Cher held their child’s sixth birthday party at Pixie Woods. Margret Kerry, the original model/actress who Tinker Bell was based on, also enjoyed the park during a private tour. Perhaps one of the most notable celebrities who visited the park is Huell Howser, who showcased it on his television show California’s Gold. Howser was escorted through the park by two board members, including one of the original members who helped form the park in 1954. The episode was so popular, the park attendance increased by 3,000 the month it was aired. Howser was so taken by the beauty of the park that he returned in 2008 for the Pixie Woods Annual Wine Tasting Fundraiser. Pixie Woods park is a pristine example of the past meeting the future. Beloved treasures, such as the 1933 wading park, was redone in the 1980s and became Water Dragon, which now doubles as a dance floor during the June wine tasting. Additionally, the park organizes numerous programs and educational days like Health and Wellness Day and Friendship Day.

Pixie Woods has endured as a Stockton treasure and needs to be preserved for future generations. This park was started by the community for the community and is protected by members of the community. According to board member Yvonne Sampson, “Anybody who has gone through those rainbow gates is transcended into an enchanted world.”

3121 Monte Diablo Ave.
Stockton, stocktongov.com

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