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 Orange Empire Railway Museum Train to Santa’s Workshop

Last year our family discovered a magical Christmas adventure! We loved it so much that it will now be a family tradition every year. We took the Train to Santa’s Workshop at the Orange Empire Railway Museum in Perris and what a special evening it was. Beginning at the end of November, you can take one of Orange Empire Railway Museum’s vintage trains and embark on a magical train ride to visit with Santa Claus himself at his North Pole workshop. The evening includes not only a visit with Santa himself, but lots of fun activities including a model train display, cocoa and cookies and chatting with Santa’s elves and Mrs. Claus. The Orange Empire Railway Museum is about a 40 minute drive from Orange County without traffic. I feel the trek is worth it, and if you plan ahead, you can grab a bite to eat before you head to the train station to begin your journey.

Since we’ve only been once, I can only provide you with my one time experience, but I continue to hear great things about the Train to Santa’s Workshop. We took the 7:00pm train because I wanted it to be dark and more of a Polar Express experience. It was not crowded at all, but I heard that the 5:30 train was filled to capacity, so I would expect that would change the experience a bit.

I also made the entire family wear matching pajamas. Since I had never been, I read on their website that they recommended wearing pajamas. However, most only children wear wearing them. BUT…I wouldn’t worry about that. WEAR YOUR PAJAMAS. It totally made the night, and everyone kept coming up to us saying we looked so festive and that they wished they would have worn theirs too. So I highly recommend. I asked my kids…including my teenager if they would wear their pajamas again this year, and they all said absolutely. It was so much fun.

The cool thing about this train ride, is that it takes place in a vintage train. A fully working train! You are sitting inside…not outside getting cold. It takes you on a 20 minute ride to visit Santa where you can watch out the windows, or talk to the conductor.

One of Santa’s elves came through and talked to the kids and gave everyone a candy cane. It was great. Other elves led the passengers in Christmas songs, holiday trivia games and storytelling.

As the train arrived at Santa’s Workshop, you could see Santa waving at the kids as the train arrived. The kids were so excited! We didn’t know what to expect, but we were very impressed! The entire workshop was dressed up for Christmas, and we couldn’t wait to board off the train to check it out.

We got to get our photos with Santa. You need to bring your own camera. Santa also gives each kids a stuffed toy.

Then we explored the workshop and took lots of photos with the kids.

After you visit Santa, kids can do Christmas crafts or chat with Mrs. Claus and the elves. There are also lots of photo opps.

There are also train tables to enjoy (check out my older boys playing with the younger ones…LOVE IT), and also Thomas the Train ride ons for the littlest kids. Everyone loves trains.

When everyone had finished visiting Santa and enjoying his workshop, we boarded the train to go back to the train station. Santa waved goodbye to everyone.

We then took the train back to the Pinacate Station. We were sad to leave…but more fun was coming up.

At the Pinacate Station boarding area, there is a huge model train display to enjoy and also vendors selling Christmas crafts and presents. If you decide to take the 7:00pm train, you may want to visit this area before you head over to see Santa. It closed pretty quickly when we got back, and we probably would have enjoyed visiting a bit longer.

If you wrote a letter to Santa, make sure to put it in Santa’s mailbox!

You can even get a cup of cocoa and a cookie to enjoy while you look at the trains. This is all included in your admission ticket.

It was the perfect way to end the night and keep ourselves warm and cuddly.

The Train to Santa’s Workshop at the Orange Empire Railway Museum was great. There was a magical feeling in the air throughout the entire night. And my family had the best time. It truly left us with a festive Christmas spirit and fun memories we will never forget. Can’t wait to go again this year!

Make sure to get your tickets soon. Not sure if they will sell out, but you don’t want to miss your chance.

Family Dinner Fun at Mainplace Mall

if you have kids, then you probably have experienced the struggle that comes with taking them to a restaurant. i had finally gotten to the point in life with my boys, that going to restaurants with them was fun again. but now that Dani has come along, things are back to crazy! taking a two year old to restaurants isn’t fun at all. so we decided to try a family dinner night at Mainplace Mall since we heard it had been renovated to be more family friendly.

if you haven’t been to Mainplace Mall in a while, then you will be surprised when you go. they have done some great things in the mall, all towards making your family, food and shopping experience better.

there are a bunch of great family restaurants, and outside, Mainplace has created lounge areas with lawn games, plants, lights and music, to make waiting for your table enjoyable. and although there wasn’t a wait for dining at all, the kids had so much fun playing and running around. no fighting, great weather, nice music and a fun atmosphere started our dinner experience right.

on this evening we decided to try out Applebee’s, because we’ve never been to an Applebee’s before. it is a very family-friendly restaurant, with great kids meal options, a relaxed atmosphere, video/game pads for the kids to play and more.

having a family with kids ranging in age from teen to baby, it’s not always easy to find a restaurant to please everyone in the family. but we were able to find food that all the kids enjoyed, and including the parents. some of the things i liked about Applebee’s were the meal deals. they have a bunch of different deals where you could get an appetizer, side and entree for around $12-16, they also had couple deals where you could get two meals and an appetizer for around $20. the kids meals all come with drinks, and there was a little bit of everything on the menu.

after dinner, we headed into the mall to check out some of the improvements. a lot of changes have been made, and stores are being added. just think, the more people who come, the more stores will come, and the better Mainplace Mall will be. i totally see the potential. i was happy to see a lot of my favorite children’s clothing stores.

i was please to find two large family lounges with bathrooms, nursing rooms, changing tables, microwaves, televisions, game boards and couches. if your a parent, then you know how helpful this can be.

finally, we headed down to the first floor of Mainplace to check out the kids place area…

and we also rode the train!

i enjoyed my time Mainplace so much, that i brought back Dani the next week for some mommy and me time. the mall isn’t crowded and there are lots of things to enjoy, there are brand new art murals, and a big food court that have a dining area for families…including kid sized tables. and did you know that there is a movie theater in Mainplace?

yes, Mainplace Mall has changed for the better, and we can’t wait to see what else is instore for this mall. don’t be afraid to check it out, and be sure to go online to find out when they are having special events. there are many fun family friendly events that are being offered free to the public. way to go Mainplace!

The Kids Loved Visiting Bricks & Minifigs in Fullerton

Bricks & Minifigs in Fullertontoday, i surprised the boys and took them to the newest store in Orange County – Bricks & Minifigs in Fullerton. as you probably guessed, Bricks & Minifigs sells LEGOS! but it’s not like “the” Lego Store. it’s an aftermarket LEGO shop specializing in only new and used LEGO® items. they buy and trade all kinds of LEGO products, from tubs of bulk to storage unit sized collections. as long as it’s LEGO® brand, they will take it!

Bricks & Minifigs is actually a change store, but it is the first one located on Southern California. inside, you will find hundreds of individual minifigs, bulk bricks, components and accessories. if you are looking for a rare piece or minifig, or if your kids want to sell their extra Legos, then this is a fun store. my boys loved looking at all the minifies in the display cases. and they took over deciding what they wanted to buy.

all of the minifigs on display have prices according to their popularity, rarity and condition. you can find minifigs for $5 and minifigs for $25+. many of the minifigs were once part of larger Lego sets that are no missing pieces or found for sale on eBay. or maybe someone had two of the same and wanted to trade. there were even animals, accessories, and base plates.

another fun area is the bulk brick section. you will find thousands of pieces of Lego here. and it’s better that the Lego Store’s bulk section, because there are lots of unique and rare pieces….not just bins of the same color of overstock pieces. you can fill up tubs or bags for as little as $10 up to $40. there is everything in there, so be prepared to have kids take a long time to make their selections.

when you sell your Legos to Bricks & Minifigs, they will either give you cash or store credit to buy more Legos. you will get more store credit than cash, and the amount of cash/store credit is based on multiple factors – condition, rarity, availability, how old, etc. you can even sell Lego sets (with or without missing pieces) or anything that is Lego brand. you can buy it all too! this store has a lot of unique things…and it’s going to get better and better as time goes on. right now, the selection is small (actually there is quite a bit)…but as more people buy and sell, the more variety there’ll be.

best of all, this particular Bricks & Minifigs happens to owned by a local Orange County mom. so head on down and check out the store. your kids will be very excited and it makes a fun couple hours out. bring your extra Lego sets or some minifigs to sell. my boys were so excited to spend their allowance money.

a fun and colorful store, with lots to explore.

and while you are in Fullerton, head over to my favorite bulk popsicle store, Deelite Distribution, and get a box of popsicles. it’s literally less than two miles away. we stocked up. SUCH. A. FUN. DAY.

Orange County Summer Bucket List and Free Printable

Orange County Summer Bucket ListOrange County is truly unique. our weather is beautiful, we have great beaches, lots of fun family-friendly amenities to enjoy in our communities, and did i mention the beaches…oh yeah, i did! well, i often get asked what are my favorite activities to enjoy with kids in Orange County, so i decided to put together an Orange County Summer Bucket List of things to do with the kids during the summer, so that you can experience OC like i do. the list includes a bunch of freebie activities, some cheap or moderately priced activities, and just a couple more pricey activities. this way you can budget out your summer accordingly and not break the bank. i have even included this FREE PRINTABLE so you can enjoy this bucket list as much as us!

Orange County Summer Bucket List

 Click Here to Download the Orange County Summer Bucketlist Free Printable

feel free to swap out any activities that don’t look like they will work for your family. here are my TOP PICKS!

Orange County Summer Bucket List

1. Go to the Beach – we have tons of beaches that are great for families. my top picks are Corona Del Mar, Newport Pier and Balboa Beaches. these all have restrooms near the sand, and close parking. i also love Victoria Beach because of the unique castle tower and cement pools, Treasure Island Beach, and Crystal Cove (all in Laguna)…although the walks are a bit of a hassle. Or if you want to go to the tide pools, here is a list of family-friendly tide pools in Orange County.

2. Ride the Balboa Ferry and Visit the Balboa Fun Zone – we love the Balboa Fun Zone. i love to take the kids across to the island on the ferry and go to the little park or walk along the beach. the ferry is very cheap, and if you pack a picnic, it can be a very inexpensive day. back on the boardwalk there are fun things to do like the ferris wheel or arcade, and there is a candy store where you give the kids a couple dollars to get a few pieces of candy.

3. Go to Adventure Playground in Huntington Beach – this is a tradition of ours every year. the Tom Sawyer Rafts are so much fun. i dread the day when my kids are too old to go. Kids are $4 and adults are free. You can get more information about Adventure Playground here.

4. Go to a Concert in the Park – check out this list of over 100 outdoor concerts in the park or beach to find a concert near you.

5. Visit a Splash Pad – there are lots of great splash pads in Orange County. My favorite is the splash pad at Crown Valley Community Park, but you can find some more on my list of 101 Things to Do With Kids in Orange County.

6. Go to Adventure Playground in Irvine – this is an awesome park where kids can play to their hearts content. there are giant legos to build with, play structures, water fun, games, books, dirt, mud, and so much more. if your kids like to get dirty, they can, if they don’t, you can definitely play without getting too messy. you can read more about Adventure Playground here.

7. Experience Ghost Town Alive! – happening Knott’s Berry Farm. at this is the best interactive fun you can get at an amusement park. the Ghost Town characters help you solve mystery, play games, tell stories, and give you tasks all over Calico. you can dress up or just follow along. it’s definitely one of my favorites at Knott’s. you can read about it here.

8. Go to a Movie in the Park or Beach – grab some beach chairs, a blanket, a picnic and some movie snacks and head to one of these OC Movies in the Park for and evening under the stars.

9. Go to Zoomars – this little petting zoo is located in the historic district of San Juan Capistrano. you can feed the guinea pigs and animals fresh veggies, ride a train, play in the corn pit or ride a pony. check it out here.

10. Get a Box of Popsicles at Deelite Distribution – this is the best popsicle wholesaler in Orange County. you can get all the fancy ice cream treat you find at your local ice cream truck, except for better prices so that you can stock your freezer. don’t forget to bring cash.  read about Deelite Distribution here.

11. Go to Irvine Regional Park – Ride the train or go to the OC Zoo. there is a lake where you can rent a paddle boat or trails to rent out bikes and surreys. make sure to check out the Irvine Park Railroad website for some fun deals.

12. Get an Ice Cream Treat from a Local OC Hotspot – there are so many places to get a magical, awesome ice cream treat. here is a list of great OC treat places to help you find one.

13. Go to Discovery Cube OC – we love visiting the Cube all summer long. there are lots of exhibits to explore, and the cooking classes are the best. highly recommend getting an annual pass for the family. and right now there is a dinosaur exhibit. get more information here.

14. Go to Crystal Cove and Get a Shake from the Shake Shack – Crystal Cove is a great beach for the whole family. read about it here, and make sure to top it off with a milkshake from the Ruby’s Shake Shack!

15. Visit the Oso Creek Fairy Trail – this is my new favorite here in the OC. there are over 30 fairy houses to find on the family-friendly trail. read about it here.

16. Go to Knott’s Soak City – Orange County’s biggest water park. located across from Knott’s, there are lots of water slides, a wave pool, kiddie area and lazy river. you can read about it here.

17. Go Swimming – this will be an easy one to cross off the list. summer is all about swimming.

18. Go Bowling for Free – there are two programs that let your kids bowl free or almost free all summer. check them out here and here.

19. Go to Marina Park in Newport – if you have little kids, Marina Park is a great park to let them swim in the ocean or play on the playground. there is a sandy area with a bay to enjoy and the restrooms and parking are close. read about it here.

20. Go Indoor Rock Climbing – Sender One has some great indoor rock climbing courses. try your hand at the big kid/adult course, or take the family and kids to Sender City! read about it here.

21. Sign-up for the Summer Reading Program at the Local Library – did you know that most of the local library have games and prizes included in their summer reading programs? our gave out coupons for free kids meals at one of our favorite restaurants. its a great way to get out of the house and encourage those kids to read!

22. Visit Pacific Marine Mammal Center – you can read about it here.

23. Have a Beach Bonfire – one of my best memories as a child is roasting hotdogs and marshmallows on sticks over a bonfire at Corona Del Mar beach. the ocean breeze blowing cool air as we warmed up against the hot blazing fire. here is a great list of all the places you can have a bonfire in Orange County and some great tips too!

22. Go to the OC Fair – the fair begins in the middle of July and goes through the middle of August. it has all sorts of things to do….everything fair related you can think of. it’s a tradition of so many OC families. you can check it out here. make sure to look for the deals and specials to save some moola.

now that you have checked out my Orange County Summer Bucket List, you can print out your own bucket list. just print the FREE PRINTABLE below. then, put it into an 8 x 10″ frame. have the kids check off the activities as you finish them…see how many you can complete before summer’s end. if you don’t prefer one of the activities, just swap it out. ENJOY!!!!

 Click Here to Download the Orange County Summer Bucketlist Free Printable