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A Day in Orange County

By: Cityseeker
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Bowers Museum of Cultural Art

Founded in 1932, this is likely the best all-around museum in Orange County. The complex has particularly come into its own since its re-opening in 1992 with expanded and improved exhibition spaces. Created with funds donated by Charles Bowers, the complex was built in the style of the California Missions, and is adorned with murals honoring that motif. Originally intended by Mr. Bowers to focus on local history, the museum has since enlarged its focus to incorporate artifacts from the cultures of Southeast Asia, Oceania, Mexico and Native America.

Santa Ana, CA, United States
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Discovery Cube Orange County

Imaginations turn, twist and fly through 120 exciting hands-on exhibits at Discovery Cube Orange County. The park, which was formerly called the Discovery Science Center, is located in Santa Ana and has been inspiring kids of all ages for years. Experience science in the museum's themed areas, which include Quake Zone, Techno Arts, Discovery Stadium, Perception, Dynamic Earth, Air & Space, Kids Station and Dino Quest. Kids and adults alike are given a chance to lie on a bed of needles, run with dinosaurs, and dive to the depths of the ocean, all in one building! The establishment also hosts educational programs throughout the year.

Santa Ana, CA, United States
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Angel Stadium of Anaheim

The Angel Stadium of Anaheim is the home of the Angels, a Major League Baseball team in the American League. The stadium is a modern ballpark used to host professional baseball and football games, as well as major concerts and college sports games. One of the unique features of the establishment is the terraced bullpens in the outfield. In addition to the usual eateries, the stadium includes three full-service restaurants - The KnotHole Club, The Diamond Club and the Homeplate Club. The parking lot can be accessed via three entrances and opens two and a half hours prior to any event held here.

Anaheim, CA, United States
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Irvine Park Railroad

Irvine Park Railroad is located in beautiful Irvine Regional Park. The one-third scale train takes visitors on a scenic, 12-minute ride through the 477-acre park. Other park attractions include pony rides, the Orange County Zoo, walking trails, horseback riding, snack bars and more. You can rent paddle boats, bikes, and horseshoe and volleyball sets. Annual Irvine Park Railroad events include the Pumpkin Patch, Christmas Train, Easter Eggstravaganza, California History Education Program and Anniversary Celebration. School field trips are available. You can also reserve space for private parties.

Orange, CA, United States
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Noble Ale Works

Noble Ale Works is a microbrewery located right next to Angels Stadium. The tasting room is bedecked with Anaheim Angels paraphernalia, from banners to signed jerseys. Aside from this and their TV (to watch Angels games, of course), the decor is spartan, all the better to not distract from the main attraction, the beer. At the tasting room, you can sample 12 beers on tap, most of them their special seasonal beers, although of course regular year-round beers are available too. Beers on tap rotate often, so multiple trips can result in completely different experiences every time. Aside from regular open hours, the tasting room is also open before, during and after any Angels or Ducks home games.

Anaheim, CA, United States
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Orange County Museum of Art

If you are driving south along the coast for the day from L.A., this gallery is ideally situated near the popular Fashion Island shopping center, not even a mile from the Pacific Coast Highway. The subject of much controversy among Orange County's art crowd over the past few years, the museum expanded to almost double its original size when the Newport Harbor Art Museum (same location) and the Laguna Art Museum consolidated to form this larger complex, scandalizing the art-loving Laguna Beach community. The permanent collection focuses on late 20th-century and California art, but the museum enjoys exhibitions that have included works from artists such as Rico Lebrun and Pablo Picasso. The Plein Air Café serves lunch, and a meal will earn you free admission to the museum.

Newport Beach, CA, United States
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Pretend City Children's Museum

Pretend City Children's Museum offers you exactly what the name implies, a small "pretend" version of a city! The museum is set up to have everything a normal city would have, with displays like the Library, the City Hall and The Farm. As children go through this interesting museum the kids can interact with the displays and learn through play. Watch as your two year old has fun in the Orange Plaza while your eight year old pretends to be a firefighter at the Fire Station. Your children won't want to leave!

Irvine, CA, United States
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Disneyland Park

Disney's magic kingdom, the Disneyland Park in Anaheim is the original theme park; a labor of love designed by Walt Disney himself, the only one of the franchise to have been built directly under his auspicious care. Since its grand opening in 1955, this theme park has come to be renown as the place where dreams come true; where ogres, dragons and wizards roam, dazzling visions of the future are realized, and all are invited to experience a realm born of an imagination that knows no bounds. Expanded over the years, this whimsical wonderland now includes eight playfully themed lands like Critter Country and Mickey's Toontown. Here, fairytale princesses and Mickey Mouse greet visitors of every age, welcoming them into a world where magical lands are brought to life and there are thrilling experiences galore.

Anaheim, CA, United States
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The Bruery

The Bruery operates from the heart of Placentia, offering locally made craft beer that plays with the conventions of Belgian brewing. Started by brothers Patrick and Michael Rue, Bruery is the end result of a passion for home brewing and a love of experimentation. Several exotic ingredients form the basis for these innovative brews, fresh picked lavender and Thai basil making appearances in otherwise conventional ales. To further this quality, Bruery ensures that its brews are never filtered or pasteurize, retaining every ounce of their original character. The Bruery's unique flavors and passionate ethos make it a worthwhile stop during tasting hours.

Placentia, CA, United States
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Crystal Cove State Park

Crystal Cove State Park spans 3.2 miles (5.15 kilometers) of beach and over 2000 acres (809.37 hectares) of wilderness. Offering the best of nature, visitors to the park can relax on the beach and hike or horseback ride on the many trails that criss-cross the wilderness. Explore tide pools and hidden coves as well as canyon flora and fauna. Visitors can also take guided nature tours. The crystal clear waters have been designated as an underwater park and are great for scuba diving, skin diving, and underwater photography.

Laguna Beach, CA, United States
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Heisler Park

A short walk from the bustling downtown Laguna Beach, this park is an amazing hidden oasis. The grassy bluff and the sandy beach with giant rocks and hidden caves makes this park a favorite spot for photographers, brides and grooms, sunset watchers, picnickers (barbecue grills are provided, first come first serve), and even sea birds. There are also a variety of art stands selling local artwork. Keep your eye out for the one-of-a-kind sculpture benches. Heisler Park is considered one of the best parks in Orange County.

Laguna Beach, CA, United States
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Knott's Berry Farm

Knott's Berry Farm, home to the Peanuts characters, has been a long-time favorite for families visiting the Orange County area. You'll find culturally-themed areas including Fiesta Village, Indian Trails and Independence Hall, where visitors get a look at the influence of these cultures on California life. There are also themed rides such as the Xcelerator and Montezooma's Revenge. Other areas such as The Boardwalk feature rides like Supreme Scream which, measuring in at an astounding 312 feet (95.098 meters), is the tallest structure in the county. Overall, if you're looking for something to please the kids (and maybe give yourself a rest), Knott's is a truly excellent choice. Operational hours vary from day to day, please check website for more details.

Buena Park, CA, United States
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