101 Things to do with Kids in Orange County

Fun Things to Do With Kids in Orange County List{Updated June 2016}

Summer is here and the kids are home! but don’t worry, there are plenty of things for kids to do in Orange County to keep them from whining and saying “i’m bored!”  to make things easier on you parents and caretakers, i have created a list of 101 Kid-friendly Things to do in Orange County (there are actually 132 on this list).

some of these activities are FREE or low cost…some are pricey. plan out your favorites accordingly and get out into the sunshine with those kiddies. i have found that getting out once a day helps my sanity. everyday i need a break from my house, and work, so i make an effort to take the kids somewhere during the day…even if it is just the park or the front yard to ride bikes. you can also check out the Sandy Toes and Popsicles Facebook Page for daily updates of events happening in Orange County such library and park events and fun ideas.

NOW go have some fun!!!!!!!

Orange County Park Fun
1. Fun Orange County Parks The #1 resource for finding great parks all over Orange County. Michelle’s fantastic website has the scoop on almost every park, what amenities they offer, and useful tips. Check it out!
2. Orange County Great Park (Irvine) Where you can ride the Big Orange Balloon and ride a carousel for a nominal fee. It also has a play park and garden to check out, and hosts family-friendly events often (check out their website).
3. Atlantis Play Park (Garden Grove) Charming concrete animals and slides including a giant sea serpent. It also has a splash pad and plenty of picnic areas. Admission is $2 (no bills over $10 accepted, closed on Mondays)
4. Adventure Playground (Irvine) one-of-a-kind park for kids to use there imaginations in interactive play. wear clothes that can get dirty, and bring an extra set.
5. Adventure Playground (Huntington Beach) AKA mud park. Rafting in mud pond, mudslides, fort building and water fun. A kids dream park, and my children’s favorite summer activity each summer. Open mid June – August, 10am – 4pm. Closed Sundays. Admission is $3.
6. Irvine Park Railroad & Wheel Fun Rentals
7. Giant Slides at Santiago Nature Preserve ( Santa Ana) free
8. Heritage Park Play Island (Cerritos) Is a city park that has a play island with Historic buildings reminiscent of those during Paul Revere’s Ride with play equipment inside! It is a must see park. Make a picnic lunch and enjoy an afternoon of park play. Admission is free.
9. Concerts in the park (click link to find dates & cities) free
10. Free Outdoor Movies in Orange County (click link to find dates & cities) free

Reading Fun
11. Local Library Programs
12. Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program
13. Pottery Barn Book Club (Costa Mesa & Mission Viejo) Every Tuesday and other select days for special book events. Receive a $10 Pottery Barn voucher for every 5 times you attend. Admission is free.

Museums
14. Discovery Science Center (Santa Ana)
15. Pretend City (Irvine) Fun for babies, toddlers and children, I suggest 10 and under.
16. La Habra Children’s Museum (La Habra)
17. Bowers Museum (Santa Ana)

Discounted Movies
18. Free Outdoor Movies in Orange County
19. Summer Movie Programs for Kids
20. Discount Picture Show at Main Place Mall (Santa Ana) $2 movies all day. $1 movies on tuesdays, $2 surcharge for 3-d
21. Woodbridge 5 AMC Cinema (Irvine) $3 movies all day. $1 movies on tuesdays, $1 surcharge for 3-d
22. Regency Theaters (Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Westminster, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Beach) $3 movies all day, $2 surcharge for 3-d.
23. Brea Plaza 5 (Brea) $3 day, $3.75 evening
24. Cinema City (Anaheim Hills) $5 before noon, on Mondays & Tuesdays, and on Sundays before 6pm.

Amusement Parks
25. Knotts (Buena Park)
26. Disneyland (Anaheim)
27. Legoland (Carlsbad)
28. Adventure City (Anaheim on south Beach Boulevard) Carnival rides, rock climbing wall, arcade, petting zoo, children’s theater and food. Admission is $14.95 per person.

Fairs
29. OC Fair (Costa Mesa) July 15th – August 14th, 2016

Zoos & Farms
30. Zoomars (San Juan Capistrano) Small family owned zoo located in the historic Los Rios Village. Bunny farm, Guinea Pig Gully, corn pool, playground, pony rides, train rides and gem mining. Admission is $7-8, animal food $3, activity prices vary. Open 9am – 5pm.
31. Centennial Farm (Costa Mesa) Farm to the OC Fair animals and gigantic garden. Admission is free. Open to the public until the OC Fair begins and resumes after it is over.
32. Santa Ana Zoo
33. OC Zoo (Orange) Admission in $2. Located inside Irvine Regional Park.
34. Prehistoric Pets – The Reptile Zoo (Fountain Valley) Largest display of reptiles. My kids love this place. You can feed meal worms to turtles and also hold snakes and lizards. Meet “Twinkie” the largest albino boa in captivity. Admission is $5.
35. Tanaka Farms
36. OC Fair July 17th – August 16th, 2015

Trampoline Houses
Giant trampolines from wall to wall. Activities include dodgeball, basketball & foam pits.
37. Sky High Sports OC (Costa Mesa)
38. Sky Zone Trampoline House (Anaheim Hills)
39. Big Air Trampoline House (Lake Forest)
40. Get Air Surf City Trampoline Park (Huntington Beach)
41. Big Air (Buena Park)
42. Rockin’ Jump (Santa Ana) also has rock climbing

Indoor Rock Climbing
43. Sender City at Sender One (Santa Ana) this is seriously one of our favorite places…loved by kids and adults! and fun interactive rock climbing experience with a giant slide and staff that is amazing.
44. Rock City Climbing (Anaheim)
45. Rockreation (Costa Mesa)

Bounce House Places
Inflatable bounce houses with gigantic slides, and obstacles great for kids of all ages. Check them out individually for open play times and special family fun pizza nights. Enjoy indoor air-conditioning on hot summer days.
46. Bounce U (Orange)
47. Scooter’s Jungle (Placentia)
48. Scooter’s Jungle (Alisa Viejo)
49. Pump it Up (Anaheim)
50. Pump it Up (Irvine)
51. Pump it Up (Lake Forest)
52. Pump it Up (Huntington Beach)

Fun Centers
53. Thrill It Fun Center (Orange)
54. Round 1 Entertainment (Santa Ana)

Indoor Play Zones
55. Jump’n Jammin (Mission Viejo)
56. Billy Beez (Anaheim)
57. We Play Loud (Lake Forest)
58. Kidz Spot (La Habra)
59. Seascape Kids Fun (Anaheim Hills)

Water Parks & Water Slides
60. Soak City (Buena Park) Orange County’s largest amusement water park located adjacent to Knott’s Berry Farm.
61. Buccaneer Bay Water Park (La Mirada)
62. Camelot Golfland Water Slides (Anaheim) Located inside Camelot Golfland. 4 giant watersides that you can ride with inflatable tubes. There is a snack bar is located next to the slides. Admission is $8.50 for all-day, $5.50 for evenings after 3pm.
63. Bucaneer Cover at Boomers! (Fountain Valley)

Splash Pads & Public Pools
All these splash pads are open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Admission is free unless noted below. Children who aren’t potty trained should wear a swim diaper. I would recommend these for children under the age of 10 years.
64. Pioneer Park and Splash (Tustin) free (water not running due to drought)
65. Heritage Park Splash Pad (Irvine) free
66. Singler Park Splash Pad (Westminster) free
67. Lemon Park Spray Pool (Fullerton) free
68. Harry M. Dotson Park Wet Saloon (Stanton) free
69. Irvine Spectrum Turtle Fountain Splash Pad (Irvine) Located in shopping area. free
70. Atlantis Play Center Splash Pad (Garden Grove) Admission to park is $2.
71. Terramor Aquatic Park (Ladera Ranch) Must be with a resident to enter.
72. Larwin Spray Pool (Buena Park) free
73. Aliso Viejo Aquatic Center (Aliso Viejo) Public Pool, Splash pad and lap pools. Admission is $5-7 for non-members.

Beach Area Fun
74. The Best Tidepools in Orange County free
75. Corona Del Mar Tide Pools free
76. Balboa Ferry
77. Pirate Coast Paddle (Newport Back Bay) Paddleboarding fun
78. Victoria Beach Castle (Laguna Beach)
79. Crystal Cove & Ruby’s Shake Shack
80. Pacific Marine Mammal Center: See rescued ocean animals and education. (Laguna Beach) free
81. Aquarium of the Pacific: Aquarium (Long Beach)
82. Explore Ocean: Nautical Museum. (Newport Beach)
83. Newport Dunes Inflatable Water Park (Newport Beach)
84. Newport Dunes Movies on the Beach (Newport Beach) free
85. Ocean Institute (Dana Point)
86. Shakesphere by the Sea free

Nature Centers
87. Environmental Nature Center (Newport Beach) A 3.5 acre facility with nature trails, a native plant reserve and a nature center with kid-friendly exhibits. It is open 7 days a week. Admission and parking are free.
88. Oak Canyon Nature Center (Anaheim Hills) Hike the nature trails, visit the nature center and have a picnic at the picnic tables. Day camps are held during the morning hours, check with the city if you are interested. Great family activities are Nature Nights and Cinema under the Stars. Admission and parking are free. Family events are $5.00 per family donation.
89. Fullerton Arboredum (Fullerton near Cal State Fullerton) Beautiful gardens host plants from different regions such as the Mediterranean, Woodlands and the Desert. Yoga in the garden and nature walk are often hosted on the weekend, and family-friendly nature classes are scheduled every few weeks.
90. Peter Mary Muth Interpretive Center(Newport Beach Back Bay) 10,000 square foot facility has hands-on exhibits for the public to learn about the Back Bay’s wildlife nature. Fantastic family events are held on various days, so check out their calendar of events for the special dates. Open Tuesday – Sunday. Admission and parking are free.
91. Shipley’s Nature Center (Huntington Beach)

Miniature Golfing & Amusement
92. Boomers! (Irvine and Fountain Valley) Miniature golf, go-carts, arcades, rides, and food. Irvine has laser tag. Admission is free, but all activities have individual pricing.
93. Camelot Golfland (Anaheim off of the 91 freeway) Miniature golf, laser tag, arcade, water slides and food. Admission is free, but all activities have individual pricing.

Fun Dining & Dinner Theaters
94. Medieval Times (Buena Park)  Medieval dinner and tournament with knights and horses at a fun dinner show. A full dinner is served and must be eaten with your fingers.
95. Pirates Dinner Adventures (Buena Park)  Dinner and show featuring pirates and stunts. A full dinner is served.
96. Chuck E. Cheeses (nationwide) Pizza and arcade.
97. Farrell’s (Brea & Buena Park) Family-friendly restaurant that serves classic American food, and is known for their gigantic old-fashioned ice cream sundaes and shakes. Servers sing and bang on drums. Reservations for large parties are highly recommend.
98. John’s Incredible Pizza (Buena Park) Pizza, arcade, rides, bowling and laser tag.

Arcades
99. Dave & Busters (Orange)
100. Dave & Busters (Irvine)
101. Nickel Nickel (Huntington Beach)

Skating & Ice Skating
102. Holiday Skate
103. Fountain Valley Skating Center
104. Irvine Inline
105. Anaheim ICE
106. Aliso Viejo Ice Palace
107. Yorba Linda ICE

Bowling
108. Kids can bowl FREE all summer at many of our Orange County bowling alleys. find out details & sign up here.

109. Fountain Bowl (Fountain Valley)
110. Lucky Strike (Orange at the Block)
111. Concourse Lanes (Anaheim)
112. 300 Anaheim Lanes (Anaheim)
113. Irvine Lanes (Irvine)
114. Linbrook Lanes ( Anaheim)
115. Anaheim Bowling & Event Center (Anaheim)

Baseball Games
116. Dodgers Baseball (Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles)
117. Anaheim Angels Baseball (Angel Stadium in Anaheim)

Candy Stores
118. Powell’s Sweet Shop (AlisoViejo)
119. Balboa Candy Store (Newport Beach at the Balboa Fun Zone)
120. B.Candy Store (Corona Del Mar)
121. Wonderland Bakery (Newport Beach)

Historic Fun
122. San Juan Capistrano Mission (San Juan Capistrano)
123. Richard Nixon Library (Yorba Linda)
124. Titanic Artifact Exhibit (Buena Park)
125. Bodies Exhibit (Buena Park)
126. Heritage Museum of Orange County (Buena Park)

Skate Parks
127. Vans Skate Park (Orange at the Block)
128. Etnies Skate Park (Lake Forest)
129. Volcom Skate Park (Costa Mesa)
130. Brea Skate Park (Brea – Imperial Hwy at Berry Street free

131. Beebe Skate Park – (Mission Viejo)

Laser Tag
131. Laser Quest – Fullerton
132. Laser Quest – Mission Viejo
133. Laser Tag – Camelot Golfland, Anaeheim
134. Laser Tag – Boomers!, Irvine

Downtown Disney
135. RidemakerzBuild-a-bearESPN ZoneLEGO Store – Anaheim, Rain Forest Cafe, Disney Store

Art Fun
136. Sawdust Art Festival (Laguna Beach) June 28th-Sept.1st 2013, admission is $7.75 for adults, $3.25 for kids.
137. Color Me Mine – Brea Paint your own pottery
138. Color Me Mine – Costa Mesa Paint your own pottery
139. Color Me Mine – Tustin Paint your own pottery
140. Hidden Talents Ceramic Studio Paint your own pottery
141. Fired Up (San Clemente) Paint your own pottery
142. Timree Paint Studio (Newport Beach)
143. The Ceramic Studio (San Juan Capistrano)

Shopping Area Fun
144. Fashion Island (Newport Beach) Visit the Koi Pond, Pet store, Casey’s Cupcakes, Fountains, Build-A-Bear
145. Irvine Spectrum (Irvine) Carousel, Train Ride, Big Wheel Ride, Fountain splash pads, Movie Theater, Casey’s Cupcakes and shopping.
146. South Coast Plaza (Costa Mesa) Carousel, LEGO Store, Disney Store, Train, Pottery Barn Kids Book Club on tuesdays.

Don’t forget to check out the Sandy Toes and Popsicles Facebook Page for daily updates of events happening in Orange County!

AND….

how about entertaining the tweens and teens….

Fun Things to Do With Teens in Orange County

how about these great summer camps!

best-orange-county-summer-camps-for-kids

 

PLUS….

how about these 10 Family Outings for $30!

Best Family Outings in Orange County

PLUS….

the best popsicles in town. where to get ice cream truck popsicles and ice creams in bulk right here in the OC.

best-popsicles-in-orange-county

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Comments

  1. Thanks for including parks as #1 on your list! Looks like an awesome summer ahead.

  2. This is awesome! I’m sharing this on my personal page for all my local OC friends! Thank you!

  3. Tami says:

    Unfortunately, #38 may be closed while the new Improv is being built. We loved taking our boys to the turtle splash pad/fountains at The Spectrum on hot days. I hope they keep it around after the Improv finishes up!

    • Natalie says:

      The turtle fountain is gone. Irvine Spectrum has a small water play area near the Target store

  4. What an amazing list!!! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Awesome list Jill! Wish I had little ones to give me an excuse to visit some of these locations. I guess I will have to rent more kids for the summer! 😉

  6. Great round up! Sounds like a bucket list to me 😉

  7. Awesome list! Thanks, Jill! We will be doing a lot of these this summer with my two little ones.

  8. We are out here visiting Newport Beach for our annual family vacay – thanks for putting this list together to help with our planning!

  9. Jennifer Castellanos says:

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE all these wonderful summer ideas as well as your entire blog. It’s great! I bookmarked your blog, so that I can turn to this page when trying to entertain my three boys too! (16, 7, and 2) they are all different ages, all different wants/needs….so it can be challenging doing something they all enjoy, and your blog has given me some fantastic ideas! Thanks again……Have a wonderful rest of your summer with your beautiful boys! Look forward to all your posts!

    • jill says:

      Yay for boys!!!! I hope that you all have a fun summer and get to do all the fun things in southern California. Of course our favorite is the tidepools, and Knott’s Berry Farm too.

  10. Highly impressed on how organized this post was! Thanks for the many resources I can take my two young ones to.

  11. Alma Bosek says:

    Great List!

  12. Cassie says:

    This list is great! Very helpful. Thanks!

  13. Taryn says:

    This is exactly what I have been looking for!! Thank you so much. We are visiting twice a year now and as surprising as it is we aren’t coming for Disneyland:) Our first visit I looked and looked for a list like this. I am so happy I found it before our next visit for the year.

  14. The Silverado Modjeska Recreation & Park District hosts summer family events for free in the canyons. Music in the Park (Silverado) Summer Consert Series is held on the 3rd Saturday of each month May-Sept along with Movies in the Park (Modjeska) June-Aug. Check the website for more info http://www.smrpd.org.

  15. whoops…I meant “concert”!

  16. James says:

    You forgot the wetlands.

    http://bolsachica.org/

  17. Alysia says:

    This was AMAZINGLY helpful, you and this site are a blessing!

  18. Hi I’m a Social Media “Guru” that lives in Laguna Beach with my wife & 2 baby boys (2 & 1) would love to help out with your Social Media love your blog & use it weekly as a resource. Feel free to call me anytime for assistance….

    Aaron Christensen
    @ThatVegasGuy

  19. Miraya says:

    Hi, just came across your site and love it! Just exactly what I’ve been searching for. These are some great ideas to do with my little one.

    Thanks again

  20. Renée says:

    Free concerts in the park to add:
    Placentia at Tri City Park on Thursdays in July and early August

    Fullerton at Fullerton Sports Complex on Wednesdays July through early August

  21. Emmanuelle says:

    I love your list but what about fishing places for kids? Do you have any recommendation?

  22. kathy says:

    This is a Awesome list !!!! It’s super helpful and full of great places!!!!

  23. Green Scene Plant & Garden Show, April 18 & 19, 2015
    https://www.pinterest.com/pin/539869074057633064/

  24. Teresa says:

    Thank you for these ideas. I am sitting here on a Saturday morning trying to figure out what to do with my boys and I find this! I do want to add that there is a Vans skatepark in Huntington Beach-on Center Ave. And unfortunately the Rainforest Cafe is not in South Coast anymore. The closest is by Disneyland.

  25. We would love to be featured under amusement parks in OC
    714-236-9300 Ext. 0

  26. Amy Prijatel says:

    Thank you so much for taking your time for all of to post all of theses fabulous finds,Deals, steals & 101 things todo with our kiddo-Do’s!!

    Much Thanks,
    Amy

  27. Steve McNichols says:

    As a parent originally from Huntington, but who has been living in North Dakota, I’m excited to bring my kids back to California to show them some of the things I did growing up. We don’t go until July but your site has given me a great place to start. They are 8 and 10 and they are boys and they just love being active. Can’t wait to post on here after the trip to see how much fun we’ve had.

  28. Desirée says:

    Nickel Nickel is no longer in HB

Trackbacks

  1. […] entertain the kids with the entire summer, so if you can’t find something to do on my list of 101 things to do in Orange County, then check out these sweet Orange County summer camps. this round up are camps i have found to be […]

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  3. […] and if you are still looking for some more fun outing options, be sure to check out my list of 101 Things to Do in Orange County or search for special events on sites such as OC Register or OC Events. many times there are free […]

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  5. […] they’re too big to play on park playgrounds and a lot of the activities on my list of 101 Kid-friendly Things to do in Orange County aren’t geared toward this age range. i’ve had a lot of requests to share more tween […]

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  7. […] the second year in a row, my post of 101 Things to Do with Kids in Orange County was a big hit. i updated it just before summer to make sure it was up-to-date and ready to help […]

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