Orange County is very family oriented and there are plenty of things to explore with the kids, some educational, others simply entertaining and most a combination of the two. Here’s a list of places you can go for fun activities for kids of all ages.
Visit the ZooNo matter how young or old, zoos are some of the must educational and fun activities for kids. The Orange County Zoo features Southwest-native plants and animals while the Santa Ana Zoo features animals from Central and South America and boasts being home to 50 monkeys at all times. At the Reptile Zoo, kids are provided an interactive and hands-on reptilian experience.
Go Whale Watching
Offered all year in various Orange County locations, whale watching is a fun, kid friendly activity and a way for kids to experience the majestic beauty that is whale migration. Grey Whales can be seen from December to April, and Blue Whales migration takes place from May to mid-November. Many other marine species can be spotted during whale watching tours as well. Tours are offered in Newport Beach at Davey's Locker and Newport Landing, and in Dana Point at Dana Wharf and Captain Dave's.
Visit the MuseumsMuseums are a great way to introduce kids to science, art and history, often in an interactive and larger than life setting. Great options for kids include the Discovery Science Center or the Bowers Kidseum in the Santa Ana museum district. Take the kids to explore the history of Orange County at Mission San Juan Capistrano. There are also art museums in Laguna Beach and San Clemente. Newport Beach is home to a Nautical Museum and the Newport Sports Museum.
Explore the Nature ReservesWhile land development and modern urban dwelling have threatened to obliterate the natural beauty of the land, preservationists have worked to keep some of the natural habitats protected. These nature reserves provide educational opportunities where kids can connect with nature in ways many kids in our modern age rarely experience. Go here and here to find listings of nature reserves near you.
Professional Sporting Events
Orange County is an active place to live with lots of professional sporting events to check out. Perhaps the most obvious choice for a great American past-time in the OC is taking the kids to a baseball game at Angel's Stadium. Anaheim is also the official home of the Ducks hockey team. There are professional roller derbies (OC Roller Girls), the annual US Open of Surfing and action sports at the OC Fairgrounds.
Parades & Festivals
Spring and Summer are peak parade, festival and fair season in Orange County. In addition to the beloved Orange County Fair, there is an annual Youth Expo, a festival of Whales in Dana Point, a Strawberry Festival in Garden Grove and Independence Day festivals and parades. There are so many festivals happening all year, so check your local event listings for kid friendly events in your area. And don't be afraid to try something different. Kids love new experiences and festivals, fairs and parades can be great fun at any age.