Great Park History
- 1942-1999: Marine Corps Air Training Station El Toro
- 1994: Zoned for international airport, sparking legal and political battle
- 2002: Measure W, to develop an Orange County Central Park and nature preserve
- 2005: Land auctioned off to land developer with a requirement that nearly 1,350 acres of the land be transferred to public ownership and $200 million be donated to the development of the Great Park.
Attractions & Amenities
The Great Park Balloon: Take a ride 400 ft above the park in a helium balloon. Registration is required, but all Balloon fights are free and take place in the mornings and evenings,Thursday through Sunday. Flights are also dependent on weather and wind conditions. Visit the website for more details.
Farmer's Market and Food & Farm Lab: This hands-on farm maintained by the University of California Master Gardeners, features themed planters and educational programs. The Farmer's Market takes place every Sunday -- rain or shine -- from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. All educational programs are free and open to the public. Check the schedule for lecture dates and times.
Palm Court Arts Complex: The Palm Court Arts Complex opened in the Summer of 2011 with the inaugural installation honoring the history of the El Toro Marine Base. Palm Court houses the Great Park Gallery, Artists Studios and is envisioned as a space for the development of an interdisciplinary arts education program.Great Park Carousel: This carousel, was originally located at Fashion Island in Newport Beach, but was repurposed and refurbished as an attraction at the Great Park in 2010. Carousel rides are free to all Great Park visitors. Seating is limited to 36 passengers, and registration is required. Check out this video for more information on the Great Park Carousel and its history.
Kids Rock: This is the first of several planned playgrounds to open at the Great Park, and combines play with ecological and water cycle education.
Watch the Great Park GrowThe Great Park is a long term project, being developed in multiple phases, with the first phase scheduled for completion near the end of 2012. The amenities and attractions above are all part of this first phase. The bigger vision for the Great Park includes:
- A 165-acre sports park featuring various sports facilities and programs
- A series of bridges that zig-zag and connect the widest parts of the Great Park Canyon
- A veteran's memorial to honor the history of MCAS El Toro, housed within the Great Park Air Museum.
- Botanical Gardens to enable visitor interaction with California's native plants and animals
- A wildlife corridor to provide a safe haven for wildlife to roam free on the Eastern border of the park
- A cultural terrace connecting the Great Park Library and Air Museum
Special and Seasonal EventsThere are many events at the Great Park throughout the year, including the weekly Farmer's Market, sports, ecological and arts education programs, and other special events. Seasonal events include "Flights and Sounds," a free Summer concert series, "Growing the Park" in July and the Great Park Pumpkin Harvest Festival. Check the Great Park website for for the most updated information on Great Park events.
The Great Park is located in Irvine, halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles, just north of where the I-5 and I-405 meet.
Park HoursMonday-Wednesday 10:00 a.m. to sunset
Thursday-Friday 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Hours for specific attractions and events may vary. Visit the website for more information.
Contact the Great ParkVisitor Information: (866) 829-3829