Fun Giant Slides at Santiago Park Nature Preserve in Santa Ana

Parks With Slides in Orange County(Update: Unfortunately, the giant slides have been removed from the park.) it’s always fun to find fun hidden gems in Orange County. these giant slides can be found tucked into the hillside of Santiago Park Nature Preserve in Santa Ana. they are super long and probably some of the last old-school playground slides left in Orange County. Santiago Park Nature Preserve is a fairly large park located in the northeast corner of Santa Ana near the Discovery Cube, you can even walk there from The Cube. so if you are ever in the area, stop buy and check out these fun slides.

Santiago Park Nature Preserve is right across the street from my son’s orthodontist, so we are able to stop by every month or so and play. the slides are pretty awesome. the park is also large, with hiking and bike trails, a few playgrounds, a couple of run-down areas, and the Santiago Creek Wildlife and Watershed Center. there is also a large watershed that divides the reserve. most of the time, it is dried up, but when it rains, the water gets flowing pretty good, so be careful. a bridge near the lawn bowling center can help you get across to both sides of the reserve.

we visited the park during winter break, and had  pretty fun time exploring. the boys love checking out nature part of the park, so this time we didn’t go to the main playground. we decided to climb around on the old trees and check out what is left of the old playground that has been there for ages.

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then we headed over to the giant slides. you will find the giant slides next to the Santiago Creek Wildlife and Watershed Center on the east side of the park. i just loved the beautiful natural landscape and large shade trees growing all over the reserve.

the best way to visit the giant slides is to either park near the center, where the slides are located, or you can take the hike over to them on the hiking trails and over the bridge. it is easiest to just drive into the Santiago Creek Wildlife and Watershed Center off of Memory Lane and park though.

Trails at Santiago Parkhere is the Santiago Creek Wildlife and Watershed Center.Santiago Creek Nature Centerand here are the giant slides!  there are two of them…and oh so much fun.Giant Slides in Santa Ana
there is a staircase between the two slides, and once you reach the top, it’s time to SLIDE!!!!

Epic Slides in Orange County
some people like to bring pieces of cardboard to slide down on. i think it makes you slide a little faster. but we always have fun without. the boys went again and again, and even the hubby enjoyed them a few times.

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the giant slides at Santiago Park Nature Preserve are super fun, and i recommend stopping by when you are in the area. they are something that we look forward to visiting when we are in the area. so fun!!!!!

Fun at Adventure Playground in Irvine

Adventure Playground in Irvine Photos

the boys and i are so excited that a new interactive park has opened in Orange County. Adventure Playground at University Park in Irvine is going to be the new favorite park of kids in the OC. we couldn’t wait to check it out, so we went over on opening weekend to get a glimpse of the new play space.

Adventure Playground in IrvineAdventure Playground at University Park in Irvine has been around since the 70’s, but in recent years has been closed to the community. it used to be a place where kids could build, play in the dirt and mud, and use their imaginations to play in nature. and although the new park is not the same as the original, the goal is still the same – to let kids play, roam, imagine and explore. it’s only one of three parks in the United States of this kind…what a treat to have it located in the OC.

i wasn’t sure what to expect, but when i first arrived at the park with the boys, my first thought was AWESOME…and that it was a lot different than i expected. there were some fun play structures….but there is also a lot of empty space and areas with mud, water and sidewalks. the entire park is landscaped with native plants and natural rock and wood structures for kids to climb and explore. and it’s completely enclosed besides the entrance, so you don’t have to worry about the kids getting lost while they play.

Irvine Adventure Playground Orange County Mom Blogmy boys immediately went to playing, totally in awe of everything they could do. to most adults it may look like there isn’t much to do, but there is! kids can build, dig, run, jump, hide, slide and best of all…get dirty. there are sand boxes, areas of mud and there are also water pumps. you probably want to bring a change of clothes for the kids just in case they choose to play in the mud, and definitely wear your grubbies when you go.

Adventure Playground Irvine StreamThe Mud at Adventure Playground in Irvine

and beware! even adults are going to want to join in the fun. Adventure Playground is a great park for parents to interact and play with their kiddies.

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check out some of the photos i took on our visit…

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we had a blast playing at the new park, and the boys can’t wait to go back. i see this being a favorite place to visit in the summer and all year round for that matter. you have got to check it out with your kids.

Irvine Adventure Playground Telescope

Adventure Playground in located inside University Park in Irvine near the Library. there is a small parking lot located outside of the Adventure Playground entrance. it’s open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, and it’s FREE!  there are always two staffed workers onsite if you need help or if there is a problem. if you would like more information on the new Adventure Playground in Irvine, head over to Fun Orange County Parks!

Adventure Playground in Irvine, CA

Orange County Museum of Art | Free Second Sundays

orange-county-museum-of-art-free-second-sundaysdid you know the Orange County has it’s own art museum? the Orange County Museum of Art is located in Newport Beach near Fashion Island, and has been there since 1962. it is known for it exhibits of contemporary art that have been created by Orange County locals presently and from the past. it’s collection includes painting, sculpture, photography, drawing, printmaking, video, digital, and installation art produced during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

the Orange County Museum of Art has a special program call Free Family Days. this is the perfect time to bring your kids to the museum to experience an art museum. i feel it is important for children to be culturally diversified and get to experience the arts, whether it be art, music or theater. on OCMA Free Family Days, the museum holds special interactive family gallery tours, hands-on art activities, art showcases from local children, story time and live performances. it really is a great family activity for your Sunday.orange-county-museum-of-art-exhibityou may think that is it not a good idea to bring kids to  museum full of art and things they can’t touch, but i think that by bringing children at a young age and teaching them the appropriate behaviors for different experiences is really important. i have been taking my kids to art museums and art galleries since they were babies. they know not to touch and just look. they enjoy looking at the different pieces and finding meaning behind them.orange-county-museum-of-art-freeorange-county-museum-of-art-tourthey are really interested in who created the pieces an what they have been created from. what are they painted with? are they multi-media, colored pencil, ink, or clay? it’s really fun to read them the descriptions of the pieces…especially because i too am learning about the artwork. orange-county-museum-of-artFree Second Sundays are a great time to bring the kids to the art museum because there will be its of volunteers to teach them, show them around the museum and help them with hands-on art projects. since there will be lots of other children’s talking a bit loud will be forgivable, as all the kids are learning the proper behaviors for an art museum. one thing i do to help my boys know that they need to act grown up and not run around is having them dress up in nice clothes. they are used to this because they dress up for church…and actually love dressing up. they know that when they are wearing their nice clothes, they aren’t supposed to run around, climb on things or roll around on the ground. orange-county-museum-of-art-kids-dayorange-county-museum-of-art-family-dayi was really impressed with the hands-on -art activities. the OCMA workers really work with the kids and talk to them about the purpose of the art they are creating, and which artists’ technique they are incorporating.
ocma-kids-art-lessonswhen we went, the boys got to make multi-media clay hearts.ocma-kids-artthey have never used real artist clay before, so it was a really neat experience.orange-county-museum-of-art-kids-art-lessonsorange-county-museum-of-art-kids-craftsthe finished product were really cool…and they found that they really liked working with clay and patterns.

ocma-free-second-sundays-kids-crafts and did i mention that the entire day was FREE! all the activities, museum tours, performances and admission is free in the second Sunday of the month at the Orange County Museum of Art. such a great deal for a family activity in the OC.ocma-free-second-sundays

visiting the Orange County Museum of Art was a great experience for the whole family. i hope by making these trips, my children will develop an appreciation for the art and culture, learn to love fine art and maybe even find that they want to create their own art to display one day

wanna go? here’s the info….

Orange County Museum of Art
850 San Clemente Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949) 759-1122

hours
monday – tuesday CLOSED  •  wednesday – sunday 11am – 5pm  •  thursday 11am – 8pm

admission
Adults $12  •  Students & Seniors $10  •  Children Under 12 Free  •  Museum Members Free
Check the Calendar to See When Free Family Days are Held

click here for the OCMA website

Miniature Train Rides at Goathill Junction Railroad in Costa Mesa

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do you have a kiddie who loves trains? i do….my 2 year loves them. so it is always fun to see the joy on his face when we go ride the miniature trains at Goathill Junction Railroad at Fairview Park in Costa Mesa.

if you haven’t been to the Goathill Junction Railroad to ride the miniature train rides, i highly recommend checking them out. it makes a fun family outing and a great way to take a time out to enjoy the beautiful outdoors of the OC. you can also bring picnic lunch to eat on the grassy area or on the picnic tables while you watch the trains go by.

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you can bring your kiddies to ride the trains on public ride days which are held on the 3rd Saturday and Sunday of every month….weather permitting. and did i mention that it is FREE to ride!

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a typical train ride takes about 12 minutes and takes you along two loops of the park. you can enjoy bridges and park views as you make your way to the back end of the Costa Mesa Golf Course and back to the train station.

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volunteers donate their time to engineer the model trains and to keep the railroad safe for us share the joy in “riding the rails.”  Orange County Model Engineers take great pride in the design and engineering of the facility.

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on public ride days, each model train is made up of 4 to 6 bench cars that can seat 5 to 6 adults and children. you can’t hold children on your lap, they have to have their own seat, so make sure you have an adult for each small child to help make sure they stay seated.

riding the miniature trains is a popular attraction. people from all over Orange County come and ride them!

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we just love taking the kiddies to ride the trains. i would say this activity is most fun for kiddies 1-1/2 to 8 years old…however, my 9 year old secretly loves it. and i think it is pretty fun too.

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wanna visit Goathill Junction to ride the miniature trains? here is the info….

public ride days 
public train rides are conducted on the
3rd Saturday & Sunday of each month from 10:00 am until 3:30 pm

Goathill Junction Railroad
Fairview Park
2500 Placentia Avenue, Costa Mesa, CA

click here for directions
rides on the miniature trains are FREE!
{donations are welcome and help keep the trains running.}

Pacific Marine Mammal Center

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did you know there is a seal and sea lion rescue center in Orange County? the Pacific Marine Mammal Center is located in Laguna Beach. it’s purpose is to rescue and rehabilitate seals and sea lions when they are found hurt. the center also helps release these beautiful animal back into the wild and does critical research about them.

you can take a tour of their facility and meet their current patients!  here is the info:

hours
open to the public every day from 10-4 pm
free admission, donations are encouraged.

where
Pacific Marine Mammal Center
20612 Laguna Canyon Road
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(located next to the dog park in Laguna Beach)

(949) 494-3050