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.
The area is 900 acres (364 hectares) of estuary, marsh, and coastal sage scrub habit, and it is home to several endangered bird species. Seventy species of fish use the bay and during winter migration thousands of shorebirds and ducks either visit or spend the winter here. Kayak, canoe, walking and electric boat tours are offered and a state of the art Interpretive Center is located at 2301 University Dr., Newport Beach.
The Environmental Nature Center is a must-visit for every nature lovers touring Newport Beach. It’s a beautiful attraction lined with native plants and trees where several bird species dwell. A getaway for birding enthusiasts as well as those who love hiking, the center is a perfect break from city noises. It is dedicated to teaching children as well as adults about sustainable development and waste management, in addition to other subjects that aid in maintaining a healthy ecosystem.
Located in the historic Anaheim Colony, the district includes three principal areas, the Packard Building, Farmers Park and the original Packing House. The Packard Building houses the popular Umami Burger and Anaheim Brewery while the Packing House hosts a myriad of restaurants. The food selection is mind-boggling, from Quiche Lorraine at Pandor to Banh Mi at Saw Leaf. Farmers Park is where the market opens on weekends and oftentimes, you will see live music as well. Overall, the Anaheim Packing District is one of the most entertaining spots in a town that is mostly known for Mickey Mouse.
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, sunset watchers, picnickers, and even sea birds. There are also a variety of art stands selling local artwork.
Located in Irvine, this family owned and operated organic farm is spread out over 30 acres (12 hectares). Producing over 60 kinds of fruits and vegetables, Tanka Farms is known for offering delicious produce at their farm stand and for their one-of-a-kind tours and activities. Offered year-round, the tours and activities aim to educate children on where their food comes from and how it is grown. Changing with the seasons, tours in the winter and fall focus on pumpkins and Christmas trees. In the spring and summer, watermelons and their famed strawberry tours take place.
In the heart of historic Santa Ana, along West 2nd Street between Birch Park and Main Street, this little part of town is often considered a hidden gem of an upscale flea market. All along the mini walkway, traffic is closed in order for people to wander in and out of the galleries, bars and restaurants. Some of which include Lola Gaspar, C4 Deli, Grand Central Art Center, The Estate on Second and the O.C. Center for Contemporary Art. A walk here is definitely a superb way to spend the day away from the beaches and theme parks.
The 36.5-acre Heritage Park is a place for everyone to have a good time. Sports enthusiasts can happily lose themselves among any of the twelve tennis courts, three pools, three basketball courts, three lighted soccer fields, two racquetball courts, and the volleyball court. The lively ducks welcome nature-lovers to join them in a peaceful time by the pond. Families and friends with children, be sure not to miss the two children's playgrounds and the verdant picnic area with 22 barbecues and 29 tables. If you're a fan of culture, pleasantly explore the library and the park's amphitheater. Heritage Park also hosts popular annual events, such as the Studio Arts Festival in June, and Target Symphony in the Cities in August.
Located in Santa Ana, the Heritage Museum of Orange County is 12 acre (4 hectares) complex that features a museum, historic buildings, manicured gardens and citrus grove. Promoting and preserving the history and culture of Orange County, the museum offers unique, educational hands-on programs for both students and visitors. Public tours, fundraisers and themed events such as tea parties and more are offered throughout the year. This beautiful site is also rented out for weddings.
In the heart of Orange County, this nature preserve of more than 50,000 acres of permanently protected land is a testament to the beauty of Southern California's natural, native landscape. The varied terrain, from mountains, to rolling hills, to sandy beaches, and the dedication to indigenous species, such as the San Diego Coast Horned Lizard, is a feast for all the senses. In 2006, 75% of the Land Reserve was designated as a National Natural Landmark because of its rich history, still visible today in the land's rock formations and fossils. Because of this dedication to preservation, the Land Reserve is only accessible to the public through guided tours, but the list of activities offered is extensive, ranging from hikes, to equestrian tours, kayak trips, and more. Advance reservations are required for all activities, some of which require a fee. Check the website for the long list of upcoming activities.
Orange County's Great Park is a popular venue for concerts, plays and other events. It's also known for its giant orange tethered balloon, which visitors can ride for a fee. Soaring 400 feet in the air, on a clear day you can see 40 miles out. Other park attractions include a beautiful carousel, a playground, and a visitor center where you can rent sports equipment for free. Great Park is also home to the Orange County FC.