101 Things to do with Kids in Orange County

Fun Things to Do With Kids in Orange County List{Updated June 2019}

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, 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.

Don’t forget to follow the  Sandy Toes and Popsicles Facebook Page for daily updates of events happening in Orange County – such as library and park events, free local events and more.

NOW go have some fun!!!!!!!

Orange County Park Fun
1. Fun Orange County Parks The #1 resource in Orange County for finding great parks all over the OC. Michelle’s fantastic website has the scoop on almost every park, what amenities they offer, and useful tips. Check it out!
2. Concerts in the Park (click link to find dates & cities) Free
3. Summer Movies in the Park in Orange County (click link to find dates & cities) Free
4. 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).
5. 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)
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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, so its a great wave-free area for kids to enjoy the ocean. There is metered parking but if you can find a parking spot on the street it’s free.
9. Irvine Park Railroad & Wheel Fun Rentals
10. 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.
11. Oso Creek Caring Fairies (Mission Viejo) The fairy trails have been taken down, however, 15 fairies remain living in the courtyard of Potocki Center for the Arts.  Free

Reading Fun
12. Local Library Programs
13. Free Summer Reading Programs for Kids
14. Barnes & Noble Events for Kids
15. Pottery Barn Book Club (Costa Mesa & Mission Viejo) Every Tuesday and other select days for special book events. Receive a surprise after every 5 times you attend. Free

Museums
16. Discovery Science Center (Santa Ana)
17. Pretend City (Irvine) Fun for babies, toddlers and children, I suggest 9yrs and under.
18. La Habra Children’s Museum (La Habra)
19. Bowers Museum (Santa Ana)

Pop Up Museums
20. Pop Up Disney!
21. Cheat Day Land

Discounted Movies
22. Summer Outdoor Movies in Orange County
23. Summer Movie Programs for Kids
24. Discount Picture Show at Main Place Mall (Santa Ana) $6.25 before 6pm
25. Woodbridge 5 AMC Cinema (Irvine) $4.95 movies all day.
26. Brea Plaza 5 (Brea) $5.45 before 5pm
27. Cinema City (Anaheim Hills) $6 before noon, on Mondays & Tuesdays, and on Sundays before 6pm.
28. Drive-In Movies

Amusement Parks
30. Knott’s Berry Farm (Buena Park)
31. Disneyland (Anaheim)
32. Legoland (Carlsbad)
33. Adventure City (Anaheim on south Beach Boulevard) Carnival rides, rock climbing wall, arcade, petting zoo, children’s theater and food.

Fairs
34. OC Fair (Costa Mesa) July 12th – August 11th, 2019

Zoos & Farms & Animals
35. 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. Open 9am – 5pm.
36. 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.
37. Santa Ana Zoo
38. OC Zoo (Orange) Admission in $2. Located inside Irvine Regional Park.
39. 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.
40. Tanaka Farms (Irvine) Farm tours, veggie picking and farm stand
41. The Ecology Center (San Juan Capistrano)  Kids classes, strawberry picking, nature center.
42. Wags Animal Shelter (Westminster) Offers Dog cookie classes once a month. Check out their Facebook pages for event dates.

Trampoline Houses
Giant trampolines from wall to wall. Activities include dodgeball, basketball and foam pits.
43. CircusTrix OC
44. Sky Zone Trampoline House (Anaheim Hills & Westminster)
45. Big Air Trampoline House (Laguna Hills & Buena Park)
46. Get Air Surf City Trampoline Park (Huntington Beach)
47. Big Air (Buena Park)
48. Rockin’ Jump (Santa Ana) also has rock climbing

Indoor Rock Climbing
49. 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.
50. Rock City Climbing (Anaheim)
51. 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. (Don’t forget your socks!)
52. Bounce U (Orange)
53. Scooter’s Jungle (Placentia)
54. Pump it Up (Anaheim)
55. Pump it Up (Irvine)
56. Pump it Up (Lake Forest)
57. Pump it Up (Huntington Beach)
58. Froggs Bounce House (Fountain Valley)

Fun Centers
59. Thrill It Fun Center (Orange)
60. Round 1 Entertainment (Santa Ana)

Indoor Play Zones (Don’t forget your socks!)
61. Jump’n Jammin (Mission Viejo)
62. BubblePOP! (Irvine)
63. Billy Beez (Anaheim)
64. We Play Loud (Lake Forest & Huntington Beach)
65. Kidz Spot (La Habra)
66. Seascape Kids Fun (Anaheim Hills)
67. Luv 2 Play (Irvine & Lake Forest)
68. Bubble Playground (Buena Park)
69. Pumper Jumpers (Fullerton)

Water Parks & Water Slides
70. Soak City (Buena Park) Orange County’s largest amusement water park located adjacent to Knott’s Berry Farm.
71. Bucaneer Cover at Boomers! (Fountain Valley)
72. Raging Waters (Diamond Bar)
73. Splash! (La Mirada)

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.
74. Pioneer Park and Splash (Tustin) Free
75. Heritage Park Splash Pad (Irvine) Free
76. Singler Park Splash Pad (Westminster) Free
77. Stanton Central Park Splash Pad (Stanton)
78. District of Tustin (Tustin) Pop-up fountains
79. Crown Valley Park Spray pad (Laguna Niguel) *Closed for renovations*
80. Lemon Park Spray Pool (Fullerton) Free
81. Harry M. Dotson Park Wet Saloon (Stanton) Free
82. Atlantis Play Center Splash Pad (Garden Grove) Admission to park is $2.
83. Terramor Aquatic Park (Ladera Ranch) Must be with a resident to enter.
84. Larwin Spray Pool (Buena Park) Free
85. Frontier Park (Tustin)
86. Aliso Viejo Aquatic Center (Aliso Viejo) Public Pool, Splash pad and lap pools. Admission is $4-7 for non-members.
87. San Clemente Aquatics Center and Vista Hermosa Sports Park (San Clemente)

Beach Area Fun
88. The Best Tidepools in Orange County free
89. Corona Del Mar Tide Pools free
90. Balboa Ferry
91. Pirate Coast Paddle (Newport Back Bay) Paddleboarding fun
92. Victoria Beach Castle (Laguna Beach)
93. Crystal Cove & Ruby’s Shake Shack
94. Pacific Marine Mammal Center: See rescued ocean animals and education. (Laguna Beach) free
95. Aquarium of the Pacific (Long Beach)
96. Ocean Quest by Discovery Cube (Newport Beach) Located at Balboa Fun Zone
97. Newport Dunes Inflatable Water Playground (Newport Beach)
98. Newport Dunes Movies on the Beach (Newport Beach) free
99. Ocean Institute (Dana Point)

Nature Centers
100. 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.
101. 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.
102. Bolsa Chica Interpretive Center (Huntington Beach) Learn about marine life, birds and reptiles native to our wetlands.
103. Fullerton Arboredum (Fullerton near Cal State Fullerton) 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.
104. 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.
105. Shipley’s Nature Center (Huntington Beach) Great interpretive center with hands on exhibits for kids, plus garden area.

Miniature Golfing & Amusement
106. Boomers! (Irvine and Fountain Valley) Miniature golf, go-carts, arcades, rides, and food. Irvine has laser tag. All activities have individual pricing.
107. Camelot Golfland (Anaheim off of the 91 freeway) Miniature golf, laser tag, arcade and food. All activities have individual pricing.
108. GlowZone (Huntington Beach) Everything glows at Glowzone. Choose from miniature golf, bowling, arcade, later maze, ninja course and more.

Fun Dining & Dinner Theaters
109. 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.
110. Pirates Dinner Adventures (Buena Park)  Dinner and show featuring pirates and stunts. A full dinner is served.
111. Chuck E. Cheeses (nationwide) Pizza and arcade.
112. John’s Incredible Pizza (Buena Park & Westminster) Pizza, arcade, rides, bowling and laser tag.

Arcades
113. Dave & Busters (Orange)
114. Dave & Busters (Irvine)
115. Nickel Nickel (Huntington Beach)

Skating & Ice Skating
116. Holiday Skate
117. Fountain Valley Skating Center
118. Irvine Inline
119. Anaheim ICE
120. Aliso Viejo Ice Palace
121. Yorba Linda ICE

Bowling
122. Kids can bowl FREE all summer at many of our Orange County bowling alleys. Find out details and sign up here.
123. Fountain Bowl (Fountain Valley)
124. Lucky Strike (Orange at the Block)
125. Concourse Lanes (Anaheim)
126. 300 Anaheim Lanes (Anaheim)
127. Irvine Lanes (Irvine)
128. Linbrook Lanes ( Anaheim)
129. Anaheim Bowling & Event Center (Anaheim)

Baseball Games
130. Dodgers Baseball (Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles)
131. Anaheim Angels Baseball (Angel Stadium in Anaheim)

Candy Stores
132. Powell’s Sweet Shop (Laguna Niguel)
133. Balboa Candy Store (Newport Beach at the Balboa Fun Zone)
134. B.Candy Store (Corona Del Mar & Huntington Beach)
135. Wonderland Bakery (Newport Beach)
136. The Candy Baron (Laguna Beach)

Historic Fun
137. San Juan Capistrano Mission (San Juan Capistrano)
138. Richard Nixon Library (Yorba Linda)
139. Heritage Museum of Orange County (Santa Ana)

Skate Parks
140. Vans Skate Park (Outlets of Orange) free
141. Etnies Skate Park (Lake Forest)
142. Logan Wells Memorial Skate Park (Anaheim Hills)free
143. Volcom Skate Park (Costa Mesa)
144. Brea Skate Park (Brea) – El Dorado Drive free
145. Brea Skate Park (Brea) – Sievers Avenue free
146. Fullerton Skate Park (Fullerton) – Valencia Drive free
147. Beebe Skate Park – (Mission Viejo) free
148. Garden Grove Skate Park (Garden Grove) – Westminster Avenue free
149. Anaheim West Skate Park (Anaheim) – Crescent Avenue free

Laser Tag
150. Laser Quest – Fullerton
151. Laser Quest – Mission Viejo
152. Laser Tag – Camelot Golfland, Anaeheim
153. Laser Tag – Boomers!, Irvine

Downtown Disney
154. Build-a-bearLEGO Store – Anaheim, Pop Up Disney!, Disney Store

Art Fun
155. Sawdust Art Festival (Laguna Beach) June 28 – September 1, 2019
156. Color Me Mine – Brea Paint your own pottery
157. Color Me Mine – Costa Mesa Paint your own pottery
158. Color Me Mine – Tustin Paint your own pottery
159. Hidden Talents Ceramic Studio Paint your own pottery
160. Fired Up (San Clemente) Paint your own pottery
161. Timree Paint Studio (Newport Beach)
162. The Ceramic Studio (San Juan Capistrano)

Shopping Area Fun
163. Old Towne Orange
164. Fashion Island (Newport Beach) Visit the Koi Pond, Pet store, Casey’s Cupcakes, Fountains, Build-A-Bear
165. Irvine Spectrum (Irvine) Carousel, Train Ride, Big Wheel Ride, Fountain splash pads, Movie Theater, Casey’s Cupcakes and shopping.
166. South Coast Plaza (Costa Mesa) Carousel, LEGO Store, Disney Store, Train, Pottery Barn Kids Book Club on tuesdays.
167. Pacific City (Huntington Beach)

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

PLUS…

101 Places toFind the Best Treats in Orange County

The Amazing Bubblefest Show at Discovery Cube

Making Bubbles at Bubblefestfor my boys and myself, spring break means going to Bubblefest at Discovery Cube. Bubblefest happens every year during spring break, and for the last couple years, it’s been two weeks long. we always have a tradition of going on opening day, it is my personal favorite event that takes place oat The Cube. when you see bubbles, you just have to smile….there is just something about them. and Bubblefest sure does make a lot of smiles.

Bubblefest has two parts to it. first there the Mega Bubblefest Laser Show and then there are the Hands-on Bubble Exhibits. the Mega Bubblefest Laser Show is performed by the talented Deni Yang, a magical bubble show that’s unlike anything we have experienced. this year’s show takes place inside the brand new expansion of Discovery Science Center – in the state of the art auditorium that was especially designed for the Mega Bubblefest Laser Show.

as always, the show was awesome! we enjoyed….The Best Bubble Show in the World

giant mega bubbles….

Southern California Bubble ShowAmazing Bubblefest Show
snow bubbles….

Snowing Bubbles at Bubblefest
lasers and bubbles….

Amazing Bubblefest Show at Discovery CubeLaser Light and Bubble Show at Discovery Cube
lasers, fog and smoke bubbles…

Bubble OceanThe Best Bubble Show in Southern California

kids inside bubbles…

Deni Yang Bubble Show

and even bouncing bubble balls that danced around the audience!

Fun things to do on Sprink Break in Orange County

people of ALL AGES love the bubble show….even my grandma who wanted to come back with us this year since she loved it so much last year.

Grandparents Love Bubblefest

the Bubblefest Show is simply magical. you won’t believe how many bubbles there are. plus there are bubble tricks, a bubble movie, and bubbles dancing to the music…all of it being performed of course by Deni Yang. the coolest bubble show we’ve have seen.
Deni Yang Show at Bubblefest
after the show we headed to the other part of the Bubblefest experience – the hands-on bubble exhibits. this year, the set-up is different from years past. everything is inside The Cube except for the bubble blowing. this is nice because you don’t have to wait out in the hot sun for the bubble spheres. this is a favorite of many of those at Bubblefest.
Playing In the Water Bubble SpheresKids Having Fun at Bubblefest
the boys also enjoyed racing against each other on the bubble house obstacle course.
Bubblefest Bounce House
some of the other interactive exhibits included making a bubble wall, learning about bubbles from the bubble scientist, making shadows on the bubble light wall and trying some cool laser tricks.
Bubble WallMaking a Bubble Wall at BubblefestBubble ScientistBubblefest Light ExhibitLaser Game at Bubblefest
outside in the Discovery Cube courtyard, the boys had the most fun making their own giant bubbles. they had these great bubble wands with the perfect solution to make enormous bubbles. i was pretty impressed at my boys ability to blow bubble out of the hands. it was so much fun to watch the joy in their faces as they created amazing bubbles.
The Best Bubble Solution at BubblefestFun things to Do During Spring Break in Orange County
and before you leave Bubbliest, be sure to get your photo inside a giant bubble, and if you want to take home some bubble making supplies, there are lots of kits to choose from in the gift shop.
Getting A Photo in a BubbleBubblefest Merchandise
Bubblefest made for a nice and relaxing afternoon with my boys, and inspired some fun new ideas for my boys to think about. my oldest now wants to design laser shows. thank you Discovery Cube Orange County for hosting this fabulous Bubblefest experience…it was AWESOME!!!!!!  and if you would like to see if for yourself, which i highly suggest, hurry. it all ends on April 10th. click here for the details.

Bubblefest Discovery Science Center Spring Break

101 Things to Do with Teens and Tweens in Orange County

Fun Things to Do With Teens in Orange Countyentertaining teens and tweens can be hard! most of the time, they just want to be with their friends or playing on their electronic devices or social media. 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 and teen friendly activities, so to start off, i made this list of 101 Things to Do with Teens and Teens in Orange County.

some of these activities are free or low cost…most cost money, some are pricey. as the kids get older, it becomes harder and harder to entertain them for free. most of the free community events happening in Orange County i will post on my Sandy Toes and Popsicles Facebook Page. below is everything i could think of for you to have fun with those teens and tweens.  NOW lets have some fun!!!!!!!

Parks & Nature Centers
Fun Orange County Play Parks has written an article on Parks for Teens in Orange County, and Go Explore Nature has written a great article about Getting your Tweens Outside. Here is a list of Tween and Teen-friendly parks in Orange County.

1. Irvine Regional Park OC Zoo & Fun Wheel Rentals – Spend an hour in the zoo and then rent a paddle boat or surrey bike. There are nice trails to hike and also horse rentals.
2. Mile Square Park Archery Range (Fountain Valley)
3. Carbon Canyon Nature Trail (Brea)
4. Turtle Rock Nature Center (Irvine)
5. San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary (San Juan Capistrano)
6. Aliso Wood Canyon (Aliso Viejo) free
7. San Onofre State Beach (San Clemente) free
8. Environmental Nature Center (Newport Beach) A 3.5 acre facility with nature trails, a native plant reserve and a nture center with kid-friendly exhibits. It is open 7 days a week. Admission and parking are free.
9. Oak Canyon Nature Center (Anaheim Hills) Hike the nature trails, visit the nature center and have a picnic at the picnic tables. Admission and parking are free.
10. 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.
11. 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. Family events are held on various days, so check their calendar for dates. Open Tuesday – Sunday. Admission and parking are free.
12. Shipley’s Nature Center (Huntington Beach)
13. Orange County Great Park (Irvine) Ride the Big Balloon, stroll through the gardens enjoy events on the weekends.

Museums & Historical Centers
14. Discovery Science Center (Santa Ana)
15. Bowers Museum (Santa Ana)
16. Orange County Museum of Art (Newport Beach)
17. The MUZEO (Santa Ana) Museum and cultural center that engages the community by exploring and celebrating our diverse heritage, culture and arts through creative programming.
18. Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (Santa Ana)
19. San Juan Capistrano Mission (San Juan Capistrano)
20. Richard Nixon Library (Yorba Linda)
21. Beall Center for Art + Technology (Irvine) Icludes exhibitions that explore new relationships between the arts, sciences, engineering, and promote new forms of creation and expression using digital technologies.
22. Heritage Museum of Orange County (Buena Park)
23. Laguna Art Museum (Laguna Beach)
24. Susanna Bixby Bryant Ranch House and Museum (Yorba Linda) visitors can glimpse some of Yorba Linda’s unique heritage – each room depicts a different period or aspect of the area’s history, from Indian times to the first settlement by the Yorba family, and into the modern age. Opened to the public on limited days.
25. Dr. Willeta Howe-Waffle House  (Santa Ana) built in 1889, the House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as a California Historic Point of Interest, and as a landmark building on the City of Santa Ana’s Historic Register. Limited tours available the first Saturday of selected months.
26. International Surfing Museum (Huntington Beach)
27.  Marconi Automotive Museum (Irvine) Museum displaying an impressive 30 million-dollar collection of historical, exotic, and classic cars. Not open to the public on the weekends. $5, Kids are free

Unique Experiences
28. Murder Mystery Scavenger Hunt (Laguna Beach & San Clemente) Interactive scavenger hunt.
29. Exodus Escape Room (Anaheim Hills) Beat the clock to turn the lock! Exodus Escape Room is a real life
adventure game where you are locked in a room. The goal is simple – you have 60 minutes to work together with other players, crack codes and solve ciphers to escape.
30. Howie’s Game Shack (Mission Viejo & Buena Park) The largest online interactive game centers in North America. Featuring over 800 PC and Xbox stations. $8 per hour or $18 for 3 hours.
31. Titanic Artifact Exhibit (Buena Park)
32. Bodies Exhibit (Buena Park)
33. FlightDeck (Anaheim) Experience aerial maneuvers at 600 knots and air-to-air combat in an authentic military flight simulator, and feel what it’s like to take the controls of a commercial airliner in our Boeing 737 flight simulator. Guests who are not flying can relax in our Officers Club and watch all the aerial action on large LCD screens. reservations required.
34. Field Time Target & Training (Stanton) Shooting range with 25 yard shooting lanes. Shoot handguns, rifles and shotguns. computerized target retrieval systems on each lane, complete with adjustable lighting, and training classes.
35. 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.

Go-Karts
36. K1 Speed (Anaheim & Irvine) Indoor go-karting. open 7 days a week.
37. Boomers! (Irvine and Fountain Valley)
38. Camelot Golfland (Anaheim off of the 91 freeway)

Read More…

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.

Adventure Playground Irvine Giant LegosParents Playing at Adventure Playground in IrvineKids Playing at Adventure Playground in Irvine
check out some of the photos i took on our visit…

Adventure Playground in Irvine InformationPlaying at Adventure Playground Irvine Adventure Playground Rope BridgeIrvine Adventure Playground Free Admission Adventure Playground in Irvine, CaliforniaIrvine Adventure Playground Water Pumps Irvine Adventure Playground OC Mom BlogIrvine Adventure Playground FortsAdventure Playground Contruction ToysAdventure Playground Irvine SandboxAdventure Playground Irvine Slides
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

Family Fun at the Drive-In Movie Theater

Where is are the Drive In Movie Theatersa couple weeks ago, we had a fun impromptu family outing to the Van Buren Drive-In Movie Theatre in Riverside just outside of the OC. i have been wanting to take the kids to a drive-in movie for a long time, but either there weren’t good family shows playing or we didn’t have the time, or the weather wasn’t that great. finally, the stars aligned and the opening weekend of Jurassic Park was the perfect time for us to go to the drive-in movies. i was so excited to share an activity i enjoyed as a child with my boys.

as you may or may not know, there are no more drive-in movie theaters in Orange County….sad. however, there are quite a few drive-ins just outside of OC’s boundaries that are just a short drive. we chose to go to the Van Buren Drive-In Theatre because it had the show we wanted to watch and it was the closest to our home.

Riverside Van Buren Drive In

here is a list of Drive-In Movie Theaters the are close to Orange County

Van Buren Drive-In Theatre
3035 Van Buren Boulevard, Riverside, CA

Vineland Drive-In Movie Theater
443 N. Vineland Avenue, City of Industry, CA

Mission Tiki Drive-In Theatre
10798 Ramona Avenue, Montclair, CA

Rubidoux Drive-In Theatre
3770 Opal Street, Riverside, CA

South Bay Drive-In Theaters
2170 Coronado Avenue, San Diego, CA

prices vary with each theater, most having the child’s admission being around $1 and adult admission around $9. a good deal considering most movies are double features.
Van Buren Drive In Movie Theater

you want to arrive to the drive-in movie theater early. i would suggest 1 to 1-1/2 hours early, especially if it is a popular movie. we got there 1 hour early and it was already packed. it was opening night of Jurassic Park, so that could have been some of it, but there were lots of big families with lots of cars piling into the drive-in. we still got a good spot, but it was in the back, and against the fence of another movie, so we could hear it during our movie. Drive In Movie Theater near Orange Countywhile we waited for the sun to go down and the movie to start, we set up our car. we decided to bring my husbands truck and watch the movie from the truck bed. we filled up an air mattress that fit perfect inside of it, and filled the bed with blankets and lots of pillows. most people did the same as us, or turned their mini vans and suv’s around with the trunk opened and sat in the back. many people also brought lawn chairs to sit next to their cars. now days, drive-ins don’t have speaker boxes, you just tune your car radio to a certain channel to listen to the movie.

Riveside Drive In Theaterthe boys wanted to explore the theater, so we walked around while it was still light outside and check it out. the Van Buren Drive-In Movie Theatre is an older theater, like most drive-ins, and has a vintage charm. it is old, but not run down.

Vintage OC Drive In Movie Theater
we also brought a really good picnic dinner to enjoy while we waited. that’s the best part….eating outside while watching a movie. so make sure to bring lots of yummy food and treats. there is a snack bar, so you can still get those movie snacks we all crave. we didn’t go to it since we brought our own food, but it looked very popular.

Drive In Movie Theater Snackbar there is popcorn, candy, drinks and even dinner items you could buy like these Mexican food combination plates.Orange County Drive In Theater
Van Buren Drive In Snack Bar
finally, the sun was almost down and movie about to start.
Drive In Movie Theaterwe piled into the back of the truck and cuddled up together. we were really excited!Fun OC Family Activities

the sun disappeared and the movie started. it was one of the best times we have had as a family in a long time. everyone was happy and loved watching a movie under the stars. little Vann tried his hardest to stay awake during the entire movie, but didn’t quite make it. but it didn’t matter…we were already cuddled up on our air mattress. during the movie it even rained  little…but it was kind of magical and we didn’t mind.

Riverside Outdoor Movie Theatergoing to the drive-in movies was AWESOME, and we had so much fun!!!! even with the fact that we killed our car battery and had to get the battery jumped (make sure to start the car engine a few times during the movie to avoid this…we lived and learned the hard way). i highly recommend taking the family to the drive-in movies at least once this summer. it’s a fun experience that everyone will remember for years to come.