Historic Mission San Juan Capistrano is a California icon. Perhaps most famous for visits from its annual guests of honor, the swallows, the Mission means many things to many people. For Californians, it is a powerful symbol of the state's complicated colonial history. For Catholics, it is a profound religious site, indicative of the Church's own complex heritage. History buffs spend hours reveling in the facility's many exhibits and displays, connecting viscerally with the sights, sounds and feelings of generations long past. For visitors of any background, it is an undeniably gorgeous place to spend an afternoon-replete with striking architectural elements and lovingly cared-for gardens.
The Ocean Institute is located in beautiful Dana Point Harbor and offers ocean science and maritime history programs perfect for kids and adults alike. See hundreds of marine animals in aquariums, watch animal feedings, experience ocean-themed exhibits, and have fun with hands-on activities. For an extra charge, take a tall ship or a whale watching cruise. The Dana Point Marine Protected Area is steps away from the Institute.
This large, 95,000 square foot (8,825 square meter) eco-friendly facility is known as the Soka Performing Arts Center. Located on the Soka University of America campus in Aliso Viejo, this state-of-the-art center features a concert hall and theater both fully equipped with incredible acoustics designed by the same man who did the Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles and the Suntory Hall in Tokyo. See amazing student performances as well as professional groups year round at this stunning venue.
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.
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.
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.
Wine aficionados touring Tustin, simply cannot skip the Pozzuoli Vineyard & Winery. Operated by a family, Pozzuoli's vineyards occupy the slopes of Paso Robles where varieties like Sangiovese, Primitivo, Tannat, Merlot and more are cultivated. These grapes are harvested there, and later aged at the winery at Red Hill Avenue which has a small but endearing tasting room. Tasting is priced at USD15, and it includes complimentary buffet of breads, cheese and chocolates. Patrons can also buy wines here.
Marconi Automotive Museum, a part of the Marconi Foundation for Kids, houses a vast array of cars that will delight not only children but also automobile connoisseurs. Visitors can view Foxfire Firetrucks, unusual Ferraris and Jaguars. Do not miss Frank Williams' FX Ferrari and the Top Fuel Dragster designed by Kenny Bernstein. This venue can be hired for weddings, business functions and fundraisers.
Honoring the Buddha's teachings in the Pure-Land and Zen sect, this temple located in Irvine is a member of the American Lotus Buddhist Association. This religious and educational center strives to impart a better understanding of Buddhism to all its visitors. The temple is used for various ceremonies and events throughout the year as well as regular services and classes. Be sure to visit the website for more information.
Ektaa Center is a social and cultural space for Indians. It invites people from all cultures to present Indian art and traditions. People from the community gather here to witness the diverse forms of dance, music and theater showcased here. You can also enroll for their dance classes like Kathak or Bharatnyatyam. The center also offers its space for private events and art related activities happening in the city.