TODAY IS:Tuesday, July 7, 2015  WE ARE OPEN 11 to 5

More Mystery Stories from Our Finalists


As promised, here are the other prize winning stories from our Sherlock Holmes Mystery Writing Contest. We hope you enjoy these as much as our judges did!

The second place prize winning story from Vitalena L.

The Race Car Mystery

 Once upon a time there was a squirrel named Ryan. He had a nice little home in Funderland park. Everything was great till one day somebody took his favorite toy – red race car. Ryan did not know who did that but he wanted to take his toy back. So he decided to solve that mystery. He was looking all around the city and could not find it. He was very sad and did not know what to do. So he called his friend, a girl squirrel June. She was a detective.

“Hi June, it’s Ryan. Somebody stole my favorite toy. I have looked everywhere and couldn’t find it! Could you help me solve this mystery?”

“Hi Ryan, I’ll be glad to help you find your toy! Glad you called! Let’s meet in Funderland Park.”

June brought her magnifying glass to the park and started looking for clues. She was wearing a detective hat. She looked, and looked, and looked. Finally she found a first clue – paw prints of some animal by the tree where Ryan lived.

“Ryan, do you know whose those paw prints are?” said  June.

“No, I have never seen paw prints like that before,” Ryan answered. “How are we going to find out who stole my toy?”

“I’m working on it,” replied June. “Don’t worry; I know what I’m doing. Let’s open my book of paw prints and try to find who the mystery guest is.”

They opened the book of paw prints and looked inside. But they couldn’t find the paw prints that would look like the ones by the Ryan’s tree.

“Strange. I thought I could solve this mystery right away. What animal could leave paw prints like that?” said June. “I guess we will have to find out later. Let’s look for more clues!”

Ryan and June were walking around the tree when they saw a new squirrel. She was making her house in the tree close by. She smiled at Ryan and June and said hi.

“let’s find out who that is.” Said June.

Ryan and June came up to the squirrel and introduced themselves.

“My name is Vita”, said the squirrel. “It is very nice to meet you. I’m new here, just moved from Ukraine. Will you be my friends? Do you want to play together?”

Ryan really liked Vita, but June thought that Vita could be the one who had stolen Ryan’s race car. She was new there and nobody knew her yet. Although the paw prints they found did not match Vita’s paw prints she felt like something was very suspicious about her.

“What game are you playing?” asked Vita.

“We are looking for my toy race car. I lost it somewhere and can’t find it anywhere!” answered Ryan.

“Have you seen anyone here today, Vita?” asked June.

Vita looked surprised. “NO, I haven’t seen anyone at all. I was busy all day unpacking. I have to go now! It was nice to meet you.” Said Vita and ran to her tree. She jumped inside her little house.

“Ryan”, said June. “I think Vita acts strange. She wanted to play with us, but when I asked her if she saw anyone today, she ran away. Do you think she could have taken your toy?”

“No”, replied Ryan. “I think Vita is too nice to be able to steal something. Why would she do something like that?”

“I don’t know. But I’ll find out!” said June.

That night June decided to hide in the bushes by Vita’s house. She wanted to know more about Ryan’s new neighbor. It was 3 o’clock in the morning when June saw Vita coming out of her little house. It was dark, but June thought Vita looked scared. She was holding something that looked like a car. June thought that she was right. She jumped out of the bushes and caught Vita’s hand.

“What do you have here Vita?” asked June. Vita screamed! “I didn’t steal this car! It was a dragon. I saw him taking the car from Ryan’s house this morning. He was holding the car when he saw Ryan coming back home. The dragon threw the car in my house and told me to hide it or he would eat me! He told me to bring it tonight to the zoo. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you. I was scared.”

“Ok,” replied June. “I believe you.  I saw the paw prints of some animal that was not in my book. Now I understand that those were dragon’s paw prints. Let’s call policeman Bear. He will catch that sneaky dragon.”

The policemen Bear was sleeping when he received a call from detective June. “I’ll be right there! Thank you detective!”

He rushed to the zoo and there he saw a dragon. He caught the dragon and put him in a cage. “Don’t steal things from others. You have to ask if you want to play with someone’s toy. It’s not nice. Why did you take Ryan’s toy?”

“I’m sorry”, said the dragon. ”I really liked it.”

“You have to apologize to Ryan!” said Bear.

Squirrel Ryan was very happy to get his race car back. He rushed out of his house to see June and Vita. “Thank you so much, June, for helping me find my toy. Vita, don’t worry; I can still be your friend. I know you did not steal it. It was the dragon’s fault.”

“I’m sorry Ryan” said Vita. “Thank you for being a good friend.”

By Vitalena L.
Age: 5

And here is the third place prize winning story from Sara S.

Mystery of the Lost Treasure Chest

Hi my name is Emma Pierre, I have red hair, blue eyes and I’m ten years old.

I live in Elko on Pillsbury Street and my story starts right here at school.  “Class, today I would like you to write a five paragraph essays about your… “, pssst,” Emma, let’s go on a trip after school.” “Well, I don’t know Kayley.”   “C’mon it’ll be fun.” “I still don’t know Kayley.” “I’ll think about it Kay.”   “Emma, Kayley pay attention please.”  “Yes Mrs. Gitsgey.”

After school Kayley said, C’mon over to my house I want to show you something.  This map belonged to my great grandfather. I want to go to this island. It has a jungle.  That’s where a pot of gold is hidden.  “Great, we’ll go Saturday.”   “I still don’t  know Kayley.”  “Come on, where’s your sense of adventure.” What, are you chicken?” “NO!  I am not chicken!”  Ok I’ll go. “ALL RIGHT!”   Let’s start packing, whoa;  whoa, Kayley your sense of adventure is much too big.   We’ll pack on Friday.

Finally it was Saturday, we were each packed and ready to go, we were going to “borrow” my dad’s motorboat.  All right lets go.  Kayley, do you even know where we’re going?  Oh sure. First I want to go to the pet shop to get a dog to help protect us.  I want a dog Emma; I’ll name the dog Poppy.  After we purchased the dog, Emma said sorry Kayley but I forgot the food. What?  I guess we’ll be going to the food store.  When we arrived at the food store we found that there was no food.   When we got back we found a picnic basket.  Where’d you find it?  In the boat.  Do you know how to drive the boat? Oh yeah, it’s easy.  You  tell  me  where  to go  and  I’ll  go  there. All right, let’s go.  When we got there we were both very hungry.   But the picnic basket was gone.  Lucky for us there was fruit in the jungle on the island. But  we  hadn’t  expected  anyone  but  us  to  be  here.  We  were  scared  half  to  death  when  we  heard  a  guitar  outside.  When we saw who it was we were speechless.  It was the janitor from our school! Kayley  thought  she  knew  why  he  was  there,  but  we  needed  proof  before  he  got  away.

Today we were going to look for the pot of gold.    We looked everywhere for   Kayleys shovel but we just couldn’t find it.  When  we  finally got  in  the  tunnel  we  realized  we  forgot  our  headlamps,  suddenly  there  was  a  rock  avalanche,  and  it  was  on  top  of  Kayley!  Then  a  squirrel  appeared  and  started  chirping,  Kayley  followed  him  right  out.  We were scared because the school janitor was there.  Kayley catch!  Now let’s find that gold Emma.  Ok but I already found it.   How did you find it?! Well I just kept digging until I heard a big KATHUNK!  I just knew it was the gold.  But Kayley how did you know a pot of gold was here?  My mom’s mom told me.

The End

By Sara S.
Age: 8



Thanks again to everyone who participated in the Sherlock Holmes Mystery Writing Contest! The essays were wonderful, and we hope to see all of these budding authors in print someday. And just to get the ball rolling, we decided to feature the winning stories here on the blog. So this week, here is the prize winning story from Katelyn M.



     It was about 7:30 P.M. when Detective Katelyn was playing with her assistant Jessie when she got a call from her good friend Pastor Eric saying that someone had stolen his family’s painted acorns which were very beautiful.  But at the same time I was thinking who would steal some acorns?  Then I said I’ll be there in a minute, and I hung up and told my assistant to grab her detective bag and wait for me by the door.  She did as I said while I went and got mine.  After I got my bag we dashed out the door and headed to his house.

When we got there we put our bags on a chair that hadn’t been touched and got out our gloves.  Everything in the living room was messy!  There was dirt on the piano, nativity scenes had been knocked over, and Christmas presents lying down.  After we got our gloves on we took out our magnifying glasses and did not touch a thing because we didn’t want to change anything.  We just looked.  We noticed that a paper was lying on the ground.  After we looked around we took notes about the clues we found and about the suspects.

I thought about the people who were in the house at the time of the robbery and who could have gotten in the house.  I talked to Mrs. Shannon and to her daughter to see if they knew anything about the missing acorns.  Mrs. Shannon said that she was in the kitchen fixing light bulbs when she heard a crash, but she didn’t go see what the noise was.

I asked if I could take a look outside, and they said “yes”.  At first I didn’t see anything so we went back inside and checked the doors and windows and still didn’t see anything. Then I went back outside and looked at the sliding glass door and saw two footprints, but they were not human footprints.  They were animal footprints!  Then I remembered I’d seen the same tracks on the paper that was on the ground!  So we went back inside.  While Pastor Eric check the Internet. I went to find the paper with the tracks on it.  Pastor Eric searched for dog tracks, cat tracks, chipmunk tracks and squirrel tracks.  We compared the tracks on the paper to the ones on the Internet.  Finally we identified the tracks on the paper.  They were squirrel tracks!  Then I remembered my thought about who would steal some acorns?  And there was the answer: a squirrel!

A few minutes later we got a text saying that the security camera had taken some pictures of a squirrel.  After we saw the pictures on the iPad, we brought our flashlights and iPad outside and checked the places the camera showed the squirrel burying Pastor Eric’s acorns. So we went digging for them.  Finally detective Katelyn found all the missing acorns and returned them to Pastor Eric. And so detective Katelyn has done it again!

By Katelyn M.
Age: 8

Let the Fun Begin


A big thanks to everyone who came out for our first open weekend this year! It’s great to be open again and see all of your smiling faces. As long as the weather is on our side, we will be open every weekend in January and Friday–Sunday in February. Check out our hours of operation here.

FYI: we’re starting to plan some fun events for the year, so make sure to follow us here on the blog and on Facebook. The return of Happy the Squirrel, the annual Easter Bash, and more is just around the corner. So stay tuned; you won’t want to miss any of the fun and excitement!

And remember the Sherlock Holmes Mystery Writing Contest ends this Friday the 25th. There’s still time to submit your story. In fact, the more the merrier. It’s a fun writing exercise for the kiddos and a pleasurable read for the judges, so take this opportunity to encourage us all. You can enter the contest here. And check out the prizes: the winner gets a 2013 Season Pass and a photo opp with Happy the Squirrel! What’s not to like about that?

Our goal this year is to provide affordable fun and entertainment for the whole family. So we hope you make us a part of your family activities for 2013!

Getting Back into the Swing of Things


If the weather holds up bright and cheerful, we will be open again on the weekends starting this Saturday, January 19th! It’s been good to have some down time during the holidays because it’s allowed us to do some cleaning and maintenance work in the park. But with the new year and bright weather, we’re looking forward to getting the rides back into action. And we look forward to seeing all of you again–the park has been too quiet without you! So if you’re not doing anything this weekend, put us on your calendar and come on out for a little winter fun.

And for those of you who haven’t entered our Sherlock Holmes Mystery Contest, there’s still time. We’ve gotten some great stories so far, but we want more! It’s easy to participate, so ask your little ones to put on their creative thinking caps and enter today. The winner will receive some great prizes!

In other news, the arrival of Happy the Squirrel is on the horizon. He sent us a postcard the other day, and it looks like he will be back in the park by the Spring. So we’ve got some fun doings in the near future! In fact, it won’t be that long until we’re open full time again, so now’s the time to start planning your events. Remember we offer School Trips & Academic Programs, Fund-raisers & Rentals, and Birthday Party Packages. So be sure to include a little Funderland in your projects and festivities for 2013!

We hope to see you all this weekend!

Postcard from Happy!


Look what came in the mail today!


Sherlock Holmes Mystery Contest


If you’re a mystery fan, this contest is for you! January 6th is Sherlock Holmes’ birthday, and in honor of the event, we’re having a mystery writing contest. The contest is open to kids 11 years old and under. The mystery story can be 500 – 1000 words in length and must contain a squirrel in the plot line.

Submissions will be accepted until January 25, 2013. The winner will be announced on Facebook on February 1, 2013. The winner will also get:

  • their story posted on our website
  • a 2013 Season Pass
  • a photo opp with Happy the Squirrel

To enter, fill out the form below and attach your story. It’s that simple and that fun. Good luck and we look forward to reading all your mysterious tales!

Put Some Funderland in Your New Year


Wow, 2013 is almost here! Have you been making New Year’s resolutions? Is Funderland on your list of goals for the coming year? How about: “Visit Funderland once a week.” Or something like that. Of course, the most economical way to do that is to purchase a 2013 Season Pass. Aside from unlimited access to the park, there are some other cool perks. Did you know season pass holders get a 10% discount on food and birthday party packages? Plus, there are ‘Bring a Friend for Free’ days as well as special events and discounts. So add some fun and sparkle to the new year by becoming a season pass holder today!

Coming up in January:
Are there any mystery buffs out there? Well, then you might know that Sherlock Holmes’ birthday is January 6th. And in honor of the great man we’re having a Mystery Writing Contest throughout the month of January. It’s for kids 11 years old and under. The only requirement is that the mystery must contain a squirrel (in honor of our mascot, Happy). The winner will get his or her story posted on the website AND a photo opp with Happy when he returns from his trip.

That’s right, Happy the Squirrel is on his way home. You’ve seen pictures of him around the park, but the squirrel himself will be returning in the the spring. So be on the lookout and stay tuned for arrival times and details!

We look forward to seeing you in the new year!

Winter Park Hours*:
January 19
Sat. – Sun.     10 am – 5 pm

Fri.                   11 am – 5 pm
Sat. – Sun.     10 – 5 pm

* Weather permitting.

Happy Christmas Eve!


Yes, the big day is almost here. Are you still out and about scampering for last minute gifts? Or maybe you’ve played it cool this year, and all the goodies are under the tree. And now there’s nothing left for you to do but nestle in front of the fire, hot cocoa in hand, and listen to Bing Crosby croon White Christmas.

And speaking of … we were running through some of our favorite Christmas movies the other night and bouncing around some of our favorite lines. Here’s a few we came up with; see if you recognize them.

“Remember, George: No man is a failure who has friends.” – Clarence, It’s a Wonderful Life

Ralphie [to department store Santa Claus]: “No! No! I want an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred Shot Range Model Air Rifle!”
Santa Claus: “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.” – A Christmas Story

“Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to.” – Doris Walker, Miracle on 34th Street

“You’re a foul one, Mr. Grinch
You’re a nasty, wasty skunk
Your heart is full of unwashed socks,
Your soul is full of gunk, Mr. Grinch
The three words that best describe you are as follows, and I quote: Stink, stank, stunk!” – How the Grinch Stole Christmas

“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” – Elf

Yukon Cornelius: “This fog’s as thick as peanut butter!”
Hermie: “You mean pea soup.”
Yukon Cornelius: “You eat what you like, and I’ll eat what I like!”  – Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer

“God bless us, every one!” – Tiny Tim, A Christmas Carol

What are some of your favorite Christmas movie lines?

** Looking for a gift for the whole family? It’s not too late to take advantage of our 2013 Season Pass Christmas Sale. You can still purchase a season pass for only $64.95!

Behind the Scenes: Earning Our Fun Degrees


Did you know that every year Funderland management takes off on an exciting adventure to IAAPA to learn more about the latest and greatest in the amusement park industry?

IAAPA stands for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, and it is truly a sight to behold. Imagine if you can, a trade show floor filled with all of the fun things that make up amusement parks and fun centers around the country: coasters, 6D experiences, new food concoctions, bowling, arcade games, haunted houses, zip lines, carnival games, laser tag, bounce houses, water rides, you name it.

Now, imagine (if you can), that all of these things are free and unlimited; imagine there are no lines.

Imagine men in business suits drinking ICEE’s and holding meetings on zip lines. Imagine grown women in bounce houses. Imagine an entire arcade of grown-ups hovered over pinball and air hockey for hours while scarfing down Dippin’ Dots and funnel cakes. Imagine yours truly spending 3+ hours perfecting the art of claw machines. If you can imagine all of these things, you’re getting close to the spectacle that is IAAPA.

You know how your entire impression of school changes when someone says “Hogwarts”? Well, IAAPA is sort of the Hogwarts of trade shows. It’s magical.

But we don’t just go to have fun and remember what it’s like to be a kid, we also go to learn from some of the best in the industry: Sea World, Disney, Six Flags, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and others! They all show up to tell us the new things they’re working on and the great success stories we can take back and implement in our own parks. We also get to learn tips and secrets of the trade from other people around the globe who work in amusement parks very similar to our own.

There are sessions on amusement park food, new rules and regulations we’ll need to abide by, being great managers, hiring the right staff, generating buzz, having educational programs, creating integrated marketing campaigns, implementing new technology, and more! In other words, it’s a one-stop-shop to learn about all the new things going on in the industry!

So, now you know a little bit more about we do behind the scenes to stay on top of changes in our industry as we continue to improve our little world of fun here in Sacramento, CA.

Photo Credit

Of Cocoa and Carousels


This morning I’m starting the day with a frothy cup of hot cocoa. There’s nothing like nursing a hot cup on cold mornings. Today I topped it off with peppermint shavings in honor of the season. And I’ve been doing a little holiday decorating as well. It’s always such a joy to get out those traditional little keepsakes. So many good memories of people and times gone by.

I know it may seem late to some of you, but I’m beginning my gift hunting this week too. I know, I know, I have friends that have already finished. So if you’re in that camp, congratulations! I always have good intentions, but you know how that goes.

So at some point this week, we’ll be hitting Arden Fair Mall. And, aside from shopping, a trip to the mall means a stop at the Carousel. Did you know Funderland operates and manages the carousel in Arden Fair? Indeed, we do.

Carousels have a long and colorful history, and I believe the first one to appear in the United States was in the early 1800’s. They’ve developed over the years, of course, with state of the art technology, but they still thrill young and old alike. The carousel in Arden Fair Mall is a custom-made Barrango built in San Francisco in 1992. At the time, it cost a whopping $250,000! Marcy Friedman, one of the owners of Arden Fair Mall, was instrumental in the design and painting of the animals. It’s a beautiful little piece, hand-painted and brightly colored. Just the sort of thing to bring the imagination to life! So if you’re in the mall this season, be sure to stop by with the kids and take a spin. It’s a perfect break from the frenetic mall pace!

Oh, and if you’re still looking for the perfect family gift, why not purchase a 2013 Season Pass? During the month of December, you can get $15 off the regular price! Plus, it’s a gift that lasts all year long. How’s that for some holiday magic?!

* Photo Credit: Peter V. Hernandez (Creative Commons)