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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.
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.
Newport Landing Whale Watching provides whale watching and dolphin cruises daily. You can view many varieties of whales as they seasonally migrate through the area, including Finback Whales, Grey Whales, Minke Whales, Humpback Whales, and even the giant Blue Whale which can grow to over 90 feet in length. Year round you might even spot dolphins and seals. The primary whale watching ship is 65 feet in length with a large upstairs sundeck, wrap around outside seating, snack bar with food and beverages, indoor seating with large windows. Captains and crew have a background in marine biology and are incredible knowledgeable providing details on marine creatures, environment, and eco-systems. With a 96% success rate of viewing whales and/or dolphin almost every trip has viewing opportunities for these mammals. Perfect as either a fun date or an educational day with the family.
The panoramic view of the wilderness and the Pacific from Hortense Miller Garden is second to none. Yet, the view is not quite what makes it a treasure of Laguna Beach. It is the character of the garden and the house that reflects Hortense Miller's love of nature. The garden spreads across 2.5 acres on the upper slope of Boat Canyon, and has over 1500 plant species that grow with limited usage of fertilizers and chemical controls. In the middle of the garden, a simple but elegant house that is wrapped with floor-to-ceiling glass, quietly enjoys the company of its best decorator: nature. Reservations for the tour should be made at least two weeks in advance. Donations are appreciated.
This is a non-profit botanical garden situated on 26 gorgeous acres of the California State University Fullerton. Botanical collections are sectioned into zones: the temperate zone, the tropical zone and the arid zone. There is a rare fruit grove featuring subtropical fruits like cherimoyas, kiwis, papayas, guavas and rare citrus varieties. The Children's Garden is the site for educational programs and hands-on fun. Also on the grounds is the Heritage House, an Eastlake Victorian cottage built in 1894 by Dr. George C. Clark, an early Fullerton physician, as his home and office. There is a lot of nature and a little bit of history here, making for a wonderful outing. Although admission is free, a voluntary donation is suggested.
The Bolsa Chica Conservancy was established in 1990 in order to preserve the Bolsa Chica Wetlands. It includes the Bolsa Chica Interpretive Center and is run completely by volunteers. The conservancy has several exhibits, including live reptiles and sea aquariums. Visitors can walk through the wetlands on a 1.5 mile loop trail. No dogs, bikes or horses are allowed. This is both an educational and fun outing!
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.
Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching offers a variety of fun activities on the water for the whole family. You can try one of their exciting fishing trips that are perfect for both the novice and the experienced angler. Their friendly and knowledgeable crew will be happy to ensure that you have a great time on the water. They also offer year-round Ocean Adventure Cruises. Come see the Gray Whale Migration November through April and the majestic Blue Whale May through October! Their state-of-the-art vessels include the 95' Dana Pride and the brand new 65' Catamaran the Ocean Adventures. Their two-hour cruises depart daily and are the best value in town. Take advantage of their 2-for-1 Tuesdays on both fishing and Ocean Adventure Cruises.