Looking for some fun things to do with kids in Orange County? Here are 101 of the best places total kids in the OC. From the best beaches, parks and museums, to hidden gems and theme parks...we have listed them all!
I've made things easier on you parents and caretakers, and created a list of 101 Kid-friendly Things to do in Orange County (Actually, there's more than that on this list). Many of these Orange County activities are FREE or low cost...some are pricey. Plan out your favorites accordingly and get out into the sunshine with those kiddies.
For daily updates of events happening in Orange County – such as library events, park events, free events and more, follow our social pages:
- Sandy Toes & Popsicles Facebook Page
- Sandy Toes & Popsicles Facebook Group
- Sandy Toes & Popsicles Instagram Page
NOW go have some fun!!!!!!!
Fun Places to Take Kids in Orange County, CA
Best Orange County Parks
When you are looking for things to do in Orange County and don't want to spend a lot of money, then parks are a great choice. These are my Top Orange County Parks to play at:
- Fun Orange County Parks Website - This is the #1 resource for finding great parks all over Orange County. Michelle's fantastic website has the scoop on almost every park in OC – including which amenities and useful tips to navigate each OC park!
- List of all the Orange County Summer Concerts in the Park - Click link to find dates & cities. (Currently updated for summer 2022) Many are FREE.
- List of 2023 Orange County Summer Movies in the Park - Click link to find dates, times & cities. (Currently updated for summer 2022) Many are FREE.
- Orange County Great Park - Irvine's biggest park with lots of walking/biking trails and fun playgrounds for kids. Take a ride on the Big Orange Balloon and ride the carousel for a nominal fee. You will also find a community/educational garden that also hosts family-friendly events with a farmers market on Sundays. (Check their website for times & dates)
- Atlantis Play Park - (Garden Grove) This gem hosts charming concrete animals, slides, and a giant concrete sea serpent - making this park a favorite of OC locals. During summer, you can visit the splash pad! Admission is $2 (no bills over $10 accepted, closed on Mondays)
- Adventure Playground - (Irvine) A one-of-a-kind park for kids to use there imaginations in interactive play. Concrete slides, water & mud play, giant LEGO bricks, sand, games, forts. Wear clothes that can get dirty, and bring an extra set. Great park to bring out-of-town guests.
- Adventure Playground - AKA the Huntington Beach "Mud Park." Kids can raft in giant 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.
- Marina Park - (Newport Beach) AKA the "Lighthouse Park". Fun nautical themed park equipment with a large lighthouse slide. It's located on the Newport Bay, a great wave-free area for kids to enjoy the ocean.
- Irvine Park Railroad & Wheel Fun Rentals - (Orange) This kid-friendly train is located within Irvine Regional Park. Ride the train, play carnival games, paddleboat and bike rentals.
- Blue Bird Park - (Laguna Beach)This unique park has a vintage style rocket ship play structure, concrete slides, park obstacles and tunnels to explore. A large turtle decorated with mosaic glass marbles is a local favorite.
- Heritage Park Play Island - (Cerritos) 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.
Orange County Libraries, Story Times and Reading Programs
- Orange County Public Library Events
- Newport Beach Libraries Events
- Barnes & Noble Events for Kids
- Storytime at Goods & Goats Market - Located in San Juan Capistrano, kids can play with baby goats and have a fun storytime.
Family-Friendly Museums in Orange County
- Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana - Orange County's biggest children's museum. 2 huge floors of science exhibits and hands-on activities including an outdoor science area with a larger than life dinosaur.
- Pretend City in Irvine - A kid-sized city with kid-sized products, vehicles and obstacles. Lots of fun for babies, toddlers and children, (I suggest 9 years old and under.)
- La Habra Children's Museum - 10,000 square feet of hands-on exhibits about the arts, sciences, other cultures and everyday life. Through the power of play, children are able to increase their sensory/motor interaction, art, science, creativity and analytical skills.
- Bowers Museum in Santa Ana - Families are welcome at the Bowers Museum and encouraged to take advantage of free admission for children under 12 years old. The Bowers Family Scavenger Hunt offers a fun, interactive way for children to explore the galleries while learning. Pick up a copy at the admissions desk and collect a prize once completed!
Discount Movie Theaters in Orange County
- Summer Outdoor Movies in Orange County
- Picture Show at Main Place Mall in Santa Ana - $6.75 before 6pm
- Woodbridge 5 AMC Cinema in Irvine - $5 movies on Tuesdays.
- Starlight Cinema City in Anaheim Hills - $7 before noon, $5 on Mondays & Tuesdays, and on Sundays before 6pm.
- Drive-In Movies Near Orange County - Full list of every drive-in theater near the OC
Amusement Parks in Orange County
Amusement Parks at probably among the most fun things to do with kids in Orange County. they offer a full day of fun and entertains. Most come with a high price tag, but they are a must once in a while.
- Knott's Berry Farm - California's oldest theme park!
- Disneyland - Tickets by reservation only.
- Legoland California in Carlsbad - Great for LEGO lovers! Best for kids 12 and younger.
- Adventure City in Anaheim - Carnival rides, rock climbing wall, arcade, petting zoo, children's theater and food. Great for younger kids.
- Universal Studios Hollywood
Indoor Trampoline Parks in Orange County
Giant trampolines from wall to wall. Activities include dodgeball, basketball and foam pits. (Don't forget your socks!)
- Sky Zone Trampoline House - (Anaheim Hills)
- Big Air Trampoline House - (Buena Park)
- Get Air Surf City Trampoline Park - (Huntington Beach)
- Big Air Trampoline House - (Laguna Hills)
- Sky Zone Trampoline House - (Mission Viejo)
- Rockin' Jump - (Santa Ana) Indoor trampolines and rock climbing.
- Sky Zone Trampoline House - (Westminster)
Indoor Playgrounds in Orange County
These Orange County indoor play spaces have fun things like ball pits, bounce houses, slides and climbing structures. They're great for toddlers and younger kids. (Don't forget your socks!)
- Billy Beez - (Anaheim)
- Seascape Kids Fun - (Anaheim Hills)
- We Play Loud - (Huntington Beach)
- We Play Loud - (Lake Forest)
- Jump'n Jammin - (Mission Viejo)
- Candeeland - (Santa Ana)
- BubblePOP! - (Tustin)
- BubblePOP! - (Mission Viejo)
Orange County Zoos
- Zoomars in San Juan Capistrano - Small family owned zoo located in the historic Los Rios Village. Visit Guinea Pig Gully, feed the animals, play in the corn pool, playground, pony rides, train rides and gem mining. Open everyday, times vary.
- Centennial Farm at the OC Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa - This is the farm to the OC Fair animals. Here you can visit the animals and stroll through their gigantic garden. Admission is FREE. Open to the public except during the OC Fair.
- Santa Ana Zoo - Orange County's first zoo. You can see a variety of animals...mostly monkeys, Primates, Camels, Tierra de las Pampas, Anteaters, cow, pony, new miniature donkeys. You can also check out the Exploration Maze, visit the Colors of the Amazon Aviary, the Conservation Education Theatre. Treetop Toys Gift Shop, Bean Sprouts Café, and the Zoofari Express Train!
- OC Zoo at Irvine Regional Park in Orange - (Orange) Located inside Irvine Regional Park. The OC Zoo's focus is on animals and plants native to the southwestern United States. Many animals were injured, orphaned, confiscated, or not releasable into the wild. Animals on include black bears, mountain lions, bald eagles, foxes, ocelot, beavers, great horned owl, porcupine, coyote, turkey vulture and more. The zoo also features a barnyard with domestic goats and sheep.
Orange County Farms for Kids to Visit
- Tanaka Farms - (Irvine) Tanaka Farm provides customers with things to do all year round! They offer a variety of U-Pick Activities including pick-your-own wagon rides with the opportunity to pick your own food while learning about the farm’s history, and the crops grown there.
- The Ecology Center - (San Juan Capistrano) Kids classes, strawberry picking, nature center.
Orange County Animal Activities
- Prehistoric Pets - The Reptile Zoo - (Fountain Valley) The Reptile Zoo houses over 100 exotic species of reptiles, amphibians, and arachnids from around the world. 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.
- Playtime with Goats at Goods and Goats Market - (San Juan Capistrano) Fun for kids! You can pet and cuddle the goats. Play with antique Tonka Trucks in our sand box. Watch the hens and roosters. Don't forget that Tuff and Indie the pups are ready for fun as well. Purchase a painting or craft kit and get your art on.
Rock Climbing in Orange County
- Rock City Climbing - (Anaheim) Indoor rock climbing for all ages.
- 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.
- Rockreation - (Costa Mesa) Indoor rock climbing for all ages.
Ropes Courses in Orange County
- OC Ropes Course - (Yorba Linda) One of the largest courses west of Colorado. Offers a series of supervised individual and group challenges that promote adventure, success and improved problem solving. It consists of 2 zip lines extending up to 277 feet each in length, and over 32 different challenges reaching a height of over 60 feet!
Indoor Bounce House Places in Orange County
These Orange County Bouce House places offer inflatable bounce houses, gigantic slides, and obstacles great for kids of all ages. Check websites for open play times and special family fun pizza nights. Enjoy indoor air-conditioning on hot summer days. (Don't forget your socks!)
Orange County Fairs & Festivals
These Orange County Fairs and festivals are great for family fun:
- OC Fair - (Costa Mesa) July 14th - August 23, 2023
- Sawdust Art Festival - (Laguna Beach) June 30 - September 3, 2023
Fun Centers & Arcades in Orange County
Looking for a fun arcade or game center? These are the best arcades and fun centers in Orange County. They make great places to take teens and tweens.
- Camelot Golfland - (Anaheim) Arcade, laser tag, game center, go carts, golfing and more.
- Nickel Nickel - (Huntington Beach) Yay for quarter arcades! Large collection of pinball machines.
- Dave & Busters - (Irvine)
- Dave & Busters - (Orange)
- Thrill It Fun Center - (Orange)
- Round 1 Entertainment - (Santa Ana)
- Off the Wall Social - (Huntington Beach)
Water Parks in Orange County
Here is a list of water parks located in Orange County:
- Soak City - (Buena Park) Orange County's largest amusement water park located adjacent to Knott's Berry Farm.
- Wild Rivers - (Irvine)
- Bucaneer Cover at Boomers! - (Fountain Valley)
- Raging Waters - (Diamond Bar)
- Splash! - (La Mirada)
Splash Pads in Orange County
Most of 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.
- Larwin Spray Pool - (Buena Park) Free
- Lemon Park Spray Pool - (Fullerton) Free
- Atlantis Play Center Splash Pad - (Garden Grove) Admission to park is $2.
- Heritage Park Splash Pad - (Irvine) Free
- Irvine Spectrum Center fountains - (Irvine) Pop-up fountains in the shopping center near the carousel. Free
- Terramor Aquatic Park - (Ladera Ranch) Must be with a resident to enter.
- Crown Valley Park Spray Pad - (Laguna Niguel) Free
- Pioneer Park and Splash - (Tustin) Free
- Central Park Splash Pad - (Racncho Santa Margarita)
- Stanton Central Park Splash Pad - (Stanton) Free
- Harry M. Dotson Park Wet Saloon - (Stanton) Free
- District of Tustin fountains - (Tustin) Pop-up fountains in the shopping center.
- Frontier Park - (Tustin) Free
- Singler Park Splash Pad - (Westminster) Free
Public Pools in Orange County
- Aliso Viejo Aquatic Center - (Aliso Viejo) Public Pool, Splash pad and lap pools. Admission is $4-7 for non-members.
- The Plunge at Brea - (Brea)
- San Clemente Aquatics Center and Vista Hermosa Sports Park - (San Clemente)
Best Beaches for Kids in Orange County
- The Best Tidepools in Orange County Free
- Victoria Beach Castle - (Laguna Beach)
- Corona Del Mar Tide Pools - (Corona Del Mar) Free
- Marina Park - (Newport Beach) AKA the Lighthouse Park. Free
- Balboa Ferry - (Newport Beach) In Balboa Beach art the Balboa Fun Zone
- Pirate Coast Paddle - (Newport Beach Backbay) Paddleboarding rentals and classes
- Newport Dunes Inflatable Water Playground - (Newport Beach)
- Crystal Cove & Ruby's Shake Shack - (Newport Beach)
- Newport Dunes Movies on the Beach - (Newport Beach)
Aquariums in Orange County
- Ocean Institute - (Dana Point)
- Pacific Marine Mammal Center - (Laguna Beach) Visit locally rescued Seals and Sea Lions. On the weekends and some weekdays, volunteers are onsite to give education and tell stories to the public. Free
Orange County Nature Centers
- Niguel Botanical Gardens - (Laguna Niguel) Beautiful easy trails for walking, garden mazes and features. Great for the family.
- 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.
- 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. Admission and parking are Free.
- Bolsa Chica Interpretive Center - (Huntington Beach) Learn about marine life, birds and reptiles native to our wetlands.
- Fullerton Arboredum - (Fullerton) Located near CSUF. Enjoy gardens with plants from different regions of the world. Yoga in the garden, nature walks, and family-friendly nature classes are scheduled every few weeks.
- Peter Mary Muth Interpretive Center - (Newport Beach Back Bay) Hands-on exhibits about the Back Bay's wildlife nature. They have fantastic family events, so check out their calendar of events for the special dates. Open Tuesday - Sunday. Admission and parking are Free.
- Shipley's Nature Center - (Huntington Beach) Great interpretive center with hands on exhibits for kids, plus garden area.
Miniature Golfing in Orange County
- Boomers! - (Irvine) Miniature golf, go-carts, arcades, rides, and food. Irvine has laser tag. All activities have individual pricing.
- Camelot Golfland - (Anaheim) Miniature golf, laser tag, arcade and food. All activities have individual pricing.
Dinner Theaters & Fun Dining in Orange County
These are all fun restaurants in Orange County that offer shows and entertainment. great restaurants to host birthday parties:
- Benihana - (Anaheim, Tustin & Newport Beach) Highly skilled and well-trained, your personal chef will entertain you while cooking in traditional Japanese style on a hibachi table.
- 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.
- Pirates Dinner Adventures - (Buena Park) Dinner and show featuring pirates and stunts. A full dinner is served.
- Chuck E. Cheeses - (multiple locations) Pizza and arcade.
- John's Incredible Pizza - (Buena Park & Westminster) Pizza, arcade, rides, bowling and laser tag.
Orange County Ice Skating Rinks
These are all the Ice Skating Rinks in Orange County that offer public ice skating:
- Aliso Viejo Ice Palace - (Aliso Viejo)
- Yorba Linda ICE - (Yorba Linda)
- The Rinks - (Irvine)
- The Rinks - Anaheim)
- The Rinks - (Westminster)
Orange County Skate Centers
These are all the Roller Skating Rinks in Orange County that offer public roller skating:
Orange County Bowling Centers
These are all the blowing alleys in Orange County that offer public bowling:
- Fountain Bowl - (Fountain Valley)
- Lucky Strike at the Outlets of Orange - (Orange)
- Concourse Lanes - (Anaheim)
- 300 Anaheim Lanes - (Anaheim)
- Irvine Lanes - (Irvine)
- Linbrook Lanes - (Anaheim)
- Bowlero Lanes - (Tustin)
Orange County Laser Tag
These are all the places that have laser tag in Orange County:
- Outdoor Laser Tag at Camelot Golfland - (Anaheim)
- Laser Tag - Boomers! - (Irvine)
- Laserland - (Mission Viejo)
- Off the Wall Social – (Huntington Beach)
Baseball Stadiums in Orange County
These are the professional baseball stadiums in Orange County:
- Anaheim Angels Baseball (Angels Stadium in Anaheim)
Old Fashioned Candy Stores in Orange County
Here is a list of all the old-fashioned candy shops in Orange County:
- Balboa Candy Store at Balboa Fun Zone - (Newport Beach)
- B.Candy Store - (Corona Del Mar & Huntington Beach)
- Rocket Fizz - (Irvine) Located in the Irvine Spectrum Center
- Wonderland Bakery - (Newport Beach)
- The Candy Baron - (Laguna Beach)
Fun Historical Places in Orange County
Here is a lists of historical places in Orange County that are fun for families to visit:
- Heritage Hill Historical Park - (Lake Forest) 4.1 acres includes four fully restored and furnished historic buildings from the Mexican Rancho era. Guided tours through the buildings are provided for the public Wednesday through Saturday.
- Heritage Museum of Orange County - (Santa Ana)
- San Juan Capistrano Mission - (San Juan Capistrano)
- Richard Nixon Library - (Yorba Linda)
Skateboard Parks in Orange County
Here is a list of public skateboard parks in Orange County:
- Anaheim West Skate Park - (Anaheim) Free
- Palm Lane Skate Park - (Anaheim) Free
- Logan Wells Memorial Skate Park - (Anaheim Hills) Free
- Brea Skate Park - (Brea) Sievers Drive. Free
- Brea Skate Park - (Brea) El Dorado Drive. Free
- Olinda Skate Park - (Brea) Sievers Drive. Free
- Volcom Skate Park - (Costa Mesa) Free
- Fullerton Skate Park - (Fullerton) Free
- Garden Grove Skate Park - (Garden Grove) Free
- Edison Skate Park - (Huntington Beach)
- Harvard Skate Park - (Irvine) Free
- Etnies Skate Park - (Lake Forest) Free
- Beebe Skate Park - (Mission Viejo) Free
- Vans Skate Park - (Orange) Located in the Outlets of Orange shopping center. Free
- Stanton Skate Park - (Stanton) Free
- Tustin Legacy Skate Park - (Tustin)
- Liberty Skate Park - (Westminster)
Orange County Art Fun
Here is a list of places in Orange County that offer art, painting, ceramics and crafts to the public:
- Play & Parties - (Orange) Drop-in Craft classes
- Color Me Mine - (Brea) Paint your own pottery
- Color Me Mine - (Costa Mesa) Paint your own pottery
- Hidden Talents Ceramic Studio - (Huntington Beach) Paint your own pottery
- Timree Paint Studio (Newport Beach)
- Fired Up - (San Clemente) Paint your own pottery
- The Ceramic Studio (San Juan Capistrano)
- Color Me Mine - (Tustin) Paint your own pottery
- Dragonfly Shops and Gardens - (Orange) Drop-in Fairy garden and craft classes
Orange County Shopping Center Fun
These are the best shopping centers in Orange County that offer not only great shopping and for, but entertainment, playgrounds and specialty stores.
- Downtown Disney - (Anaheim) LEGO Store, Star Wars Port, World of Disney Store, fun restaurants.
- Knott's California Market Place - (Buena Park) Berry Market, Candy shop, Build-a-Bear, Peanuts Headquarters, Chicken Dinner Restaurant
- South Coast Plaza - (Costa Mesa) Carousel, LEGO Store, train and Ruby's.
- Pacific City - (Huntington Beach)
- Bella Terra - (Huntington Beach) This shopping center offers music on the Green and family/kids events regularly.
- Irvine Spectrum - (Irvine) Carousel, Train Ride, Big Wheel Ride, Fountain splash pads, movie & IMAX theater, dining and shopping.
- Old Towne Orange - (Orange) Unique restaurants, bakeries, vintage stores, records, toy store.
- Fashion Island - (Newport Beach) Visit the Koi Pond, Pet store, toy store and fountains.
How about entertaining the tweens and teens....
how about these great summer camps!
how about these 10 Family Outings for $30!
the best popsicles in town. where to get ice cream truck popsicles and ice creams in bulk right here in the OC.