Event Review: Pretend City Noon Year’s Event

What It is:

A celebration of New Year’s at 4 different times throughout the day as the clock strikes midnight in other countries. Confetti and noise makers make this a party to ring in the new year!

What We Did:

I have a membership (C and my husband don’t) so we went to the member’s only time which was the first one of the day. The countdown was happening at 11 AM and they opened at 10. We got there a little bit after 10 and there weren’t too many people there yet, but numbers sure increased around 11! The toddler area was completely taken down so there would be more room for the confetti drop and there was a screen up for the countdown.

Cleared out area.

After checking in and paying, we were given some noise makers for the countdown and told about all the activities set up. There was a face painting station where you could draw on yourself (or your child.) It looked really fun and the kids really got into it! We were also told about the 2 different arts and crafts areas. One area was making 2018 crowns. From everyone else’s creations, it looked like there were markers, crayons, stickers, and glittery stickers. C would not have worn his so we went to the other area which was noise makers! They had pre-made noise makers (paper plates glued closed with something rattle-y inside.) Each kid could color and decorate with stickers as they pleased. C actually colored on his own for the first time!

A masterpiece!

That was about it for C’s attention span so he ran around for the next 30ish minutes. We played in the Trader’s Joes area where C tried to put back all of the other kids’ groceries. Then we looked at the chicks in the farm area. He actually got on the stage where other kids were playing with instruments. An older boy gave him an instrument and C was thrilled. It was really cute. And of course, C’s favorite – sitting in the various cars.

Peek-a-boo!

At about 10:45, we were called over to the countdown area. The staff was really good during this little show. They had kids teach them the countdown, talked about Bangladesh (which was the countdown we were doing), and did various other interesting things. During this time they were also handing out more noise makers.

Happy Noon Year!

Then it was time for the countdown and confetti! There were 2 different confetti shooters, one on each side of the plaza we were in. We weren’t in the area that it actually fell on, but it worked for us because C was a little unsure. They shot them off at least 3 times and the kids loved it!

We made our own confetti drop.

There was so much confetti that kids were playing and dancing in it even after it had all fallen. We let C walk around in it and did our own little confetti drop with him. He was unimpressed. But the other kids were having a blast and it was really cute to watch.

Good:

  • So many activities to do.
  • Arts and crafts!
  • Fantastic staff.
  • Lots of teaching content for kids that are a little bit older.

Not So Good:

  • It can get a bit crowded.
  • Depending on the age (and temperament) of the older kids there it can be hard for a really small one to have fun.

Cost:

$12.50 for anyone over 1.

Our Verdict:

We had a good time. C loves Pretend City anyway. Now that he is old enough to start enjoying the events we will be there a lot! He didn’t really understand lots of the content yet, but that just means that he will keep learning every year.

Event Review: Aquarium of the Pacific Aquarium Holidays

What It is:

Special decorations for the holidays around the aquarium. Both Christmas and Chanukah (even Kwanzaa) decorations are out. Plus gingerbread house displays, characters in holiday outfits, and a Santa diver.

**I know this isn’t in Orange County, but I thought it was really fun for kids so I figured I would write about it!

What We Did:

We went the 23rd, so we knew it was either going to be super packed or pretty empty. It really could have gone either way but we lucked out and it was pretty good. It wasn’t empty, but nothing was crazy packed. I think that other weekends were more hectic though.

Side note: we missed the Penguin Walk so I don’t really know what that was. I wanted to make it there in time for this, but it just didn’t work out.

Outside the aquarium they had a small snow area set up. You needed aquarium entry to be able to play there so they suggested that you go in and get your hand stamped to be able to access it. It looked like they kept the number of kids in it pretty low and there wasn’t really a line when we went by it both times, but we decided not to go in since we knew it would make C cold.

Santa in front of a large tank.

Once inside we noticed that Santa was doing pictures. We waited in line for less than 5 minutes and got a picture with Santa. They let us take our own pictures and did take professional pictures too. This worked out really well since in the same area there was supposed to be “snow fall.” So we kind of hung around until the time that was supposed to happen.

That went surprisingly well.

While we were waiting, the otter character came out to take pictures with everyone. We took our pictures and then they started the “snow” so everyone after us in line has pictures with the otter while the snow is falling on them. C was happy either way and we were in a great spot to let him see all the “snow.” (Which was a guy with the soap bubble machine spraying it off the second floor.)

He really wanted to touch it.

They were also doing holiday crafts and a holiday film (The Grinch That Stole Christmas) but we knew C wouldn’t be in to that stuff so we walked around for a bit and then grabbed lunch. Santa was on a break before his next activity and so he was walking around the little restaurant saying hi to the kids which was really nice.

Santa dive!

But then he had to get ready for his dive. That’s right, there was a Santa dive! He talked to everyone while he was doing his SCUBA inside one of the large tanks. There were also 2 elves and a “reindeer” helping him out. What we saw of the show was really cute. C lost interest so we walked around a bit more, but it was actually a really engaging show for older kids and adults. I was pretty impressed.

Good:

  • Fun little activities that don’t take a ton of time.
  • Big open spaces so crowds don’t feel like a huge issue.

Not So Good:

  • Parking. I hate that you have to pay to park there, but keep an eye on the price and make sure to validate at the aquarium only if you spent enough time there to make that price worth it!

Cost:

Adults: $29.95 and kids (3-11): $17.95.

Our Verdict:

C loves the aquarium so this was fun to him. I liked that it wasn’t crazy packed. The Santa diver show was well done. I think this was totally worth the drive. We will absolutely go again next year!

Event Review: Winterfest OC

What It is:

Winterfest aims to bring winter to Orange County. They have all sorts of winter activities including ice skating, tubing, snow, and nightly tree lighting and fireworks.

*Many of my pictures did not really turn out or had a large amount of kids in them, so I don’t have much!

What We Did:

I have to start off by saying that I was really excited for this. I have been wanting to go for years because it sounded fun and I love wintery stuff. I finally convinced my husband we should go this year.

We bought tickets online before the run of Winterfest started because they were a bit cheaper this way. We ended up picking the day after Christmas because it started December 21 and that just didn’t leave a ton of time before the holidays came about. After looking at their schedule, we planned to get there around 4:30ish so that we could be there for the parade, tree lighting, “snow fall,”and fireworks show at 5:30.

Since we already had our tickets we waited in line for check in. Despite the fact that they had about 8 people to check tickets, there was no way to get to the ones in the back since they were blocked by the people getting checked in at the front. Apparently it was taking so long since if you bought upgraded tickets you got a wristband. We had general tickets and there was no one that could just scan our tickets and let us in. A minor thing, but I think this could be done better.

After checking in there were a bunch of photographers with green screens set up. We took a picture, but my husband was wearing a green jacket and C was wearing a green onesie so they were both see through in the picture. It was amusing and I would have bought it if it didn’t cost $30! In case you go, don’t wear green if you want this picture!

Right after you walk in.

Once inside we wanted to get the lay of the land. We found where the tree lighting and “snow fall” area were so we knew where to go for that. On one side they had some rides and carnival games. Very similar to things you’d see at a fair. We stopped by the tubing hill was and talked about if we wanted to wait in line for one of us to do it. (Answer was no.) The tubing looked fun and people looked like the enjoyed it.

Tubing in a building!

We had some time before the parade so we went to check out the snow play area. They bring in fresh snow everyday since it melts so fast. We passed the petting zoo which had a HUGE line. I wanted to take C in, but it was so not worth the wait since there was no time limit once you were in there. There were some bounce houses and ropes course things for older kids and a stage where an unenthusiastic Rusty Rivets thing was happening. Whether he was unenthusiastic because of the small audience or if the small audience was because of the quality, I will never know.

Where all the snow is.

Then came the snow area. It is all under a tent. There are probably 3 different little snow sections and a snow hill for kids. It was advertised and labeled on the map that there was a specific toddler snow play area. We didn’t see anything labeled in the tent as to which area was which and there were no employees watching the play areas (they were only at the snow hill) so we had no idea. And neither did any kids. Older kids were in all of them. Having intense snowball fights. There was one section that adults with littler ones seemed to gravitate towards, so we went there. In order to get in you have to step up the 1 1/2 foot step into the snow area. It was a little rough, especially while holding a kid. C walked around a little bit, but moved on quickly. Getting out was even harder than getting in and we ended up having to get one of us out to take C so the other person could get out. It was super slippery and a big step.

Walking in the snow.

Around that time we headed back for the parade and all that. We got a nice spot right around the tree and discussed food options since we had about 10 minutes before everything was supposed to stop. At this point we knew we weren’t going to stay too long so even though there were really good food options, we decided against it. 5:30 (the parade start time) came and went. And nothing. No announcement, no parade. Around 5:45 they made an announcement that things would start soon. Now as you can imagine kids were MELTING down. They’d all been sitting there for at least 20 minutes and many longer than that. It was not good. 5:50 is when things finally started. There wasn’t a parade like they make it seem. It was more an announcer and a few people dressed up walking into the tree lighting area. Disappointed.

The tree and the host of the ceremony.

The host guy pulled a few kids in to help get the tree lit. It probably took about 5 minutes. He then said to make sure to say hi to all the characters and I thought it would be fun to get pictures with them after, but I have no idea where they disappeared to. They seem to have left VERY quickly. There was a short fireworks show loosely set to music that was over the building the tubing was in. That was kind of fun to watch. It wasn’t anything spectacular but it was good. The fake snow fall was limited to a few areas but it seemed to fly around nicely. If you want to be near the snow fall though, pick a spot close the the edges of the ice skating rink. Then it was over. We waited 40 minutes for that. More disappointment.

The start of Festival of Lights.

Then came the best part. We bought a hot cocoa. It was $3 and a nice size for the price. It tasted really good. I got to drink it on our walk through the Festival of Lights. I love Christmas lights and decorations so I was kind of looking forward to it. It was okay. There were quite a few lights that were out so the decorations weren’t complete, but it was cute.

Festival of Lights

On the way out we stopped at the World’s Largest Ornament. You can walk through it and take pictures. It was a quick stop and we got our picture taken by a nice family. We did have to wait a few minutes to get in because there was a large group blocking each entrance taking pictures, but that isn’t surprising.

Inside the ornament.

And that was it. We spent about 2 hours there and most of it was waiting to the parade/tree lighting/fireworks/”snow fall.” Other than the tubing, we did everything that we could do without buying more experience tickets. I felt bad that I dragged us to this. There are so many other holiday activities out there that we could have gone to!

Good:

  • The hot chocolate was good and a really good size.

Not So Good:

  • There wasn’t the parade that they show online.
  • The tree lighting and firework show didn’t start anywhere near on time.
  • The supposed toddler snow area was not patrolled so there was no actual toddler area.
  • You get nearly nothing with just the cost of admission.
    • They advertise that a lot of things are included, but those things aren’t really anything at all.

Cost:

General admission for kids: $12-17 (depending on if you buy online or there) and for adults: $17-$22 (depending on if you buy online or there.)

Ice skating, rides, games, and many of the attractions all cost extra.

Parking is an additional $8.

Our Verdict:

So obviously I was not impressed. This was not what I wanted it to be and I felt that we paid for way more than we got. Because we bought early we paid $15 for each adult. Including parking we spent $38 (hot cocoa not included!) for less than 2 hours. Sure we got some cute pictures by the giant ornament and it was a way to get out of the house, but we thought it was a massive disappointment. We will probably never go again unless I hear that it has changed quite a bit and only when C is old enough to be able to do ANYTHING. If you have older kids that can play carnival games and rides, then this would be a lot more fun.

 

Event Review: Irvine Park Railroad Christmas Train

What It is:

A ride on the Irvine Park Railroad to see Santa Claus. There are also a bunch of decorations, games, activities, and a bounce house.

What We Did:

Our train tickets were from 7-8 PM so we figured we would get there a little early and walk around the village and activities they had set up. The parking lot has no lights so it is REALLY dark. Make sure you have some sort of light you can use!

Welcome!

There were a bunch of photo areas set up in the village and none had any lines. People were really nice abut helping to take family pictures too! Lots of lights and fun things to look at which I really liked. There was even an area with Christmas trees set up that you could take pictures around.

Tons of lights!

When we were there none of the games or activities had any lines. They looked pretty fun, but there was nothing for C to do so we just enjoyed the lights and let him run around for a bit. They had cookie decorating, an ice fishing game, little car rides, a bounce house, and a few other carnival type games.

Around 6:45 we figured we should out where to line up for our 7 PM train. That is when we found out that people were already lining up. We were not even close to the front of the line. No big deal. I’d rather not spend all night waiting in line. They checked tickets and I really liked that they required your entire party to be there when you checked in since you were getting in line for the train. We didn’t make the first train which wasn’t an issue with us. Until one of the employees loading the train found a lost kid. They couldn’t let the first train go until the little girl was reunited with her family (totally understandable!) But it look 15 minutes because her family didn’t know she was missing. We were in line for probably about 30-40 minutes, after checking in which means you can’t get out of line, before we got on the train. So bring snacks and/or something to amuse the kids in case this happens to you!

The set up for Santa.

The train stops halfway through the normal route to see Santa. They have a huge area set up where Santa is and everything is decorated amazingly. What we didn’t know is that people run off the train to get in line for Santa. It honestly didn’t take that long in line though so I don’t know why people ran. Maybe other times were longer wait times. They also have a small snack booth set up. The great part about Santa pictures is that they take some, but they also allow you to take some with your camera and will take group ones with your camera too!

Nice Santa area!

Then the train ride back to the starting area! The tunnel they go through is lined with lights and looks really cool. The older kids on the train really loved it. It was really well done!

Good:

  • Very nice set up. They know how to keep things moving!
  • The decorations. There are so many lights and it looks really good!
  • Lots of activities before or after the train ride. (Or even if you don’t have train tickets!)

 

Not So Good:

  • Long lines which can mean long wait times.
  • Lines were way more competitive than I thought!
  • Not a ton for those that can’t play carnival games.

 

Cost:

$15 per person over age 2 for the train. Activity tickets cost $5 each. And parking costs $3 on weekdays and $5 on weekends, but after 5 PM is free.

Our Verdict:

This was fun. I knew that we wouldn’t be able to do much with C so we mostly paid for the train ride. And that is exactly what we did. I think that this is a fun family activity and we were surrounded by people that did this every year. It seems like something great to do with kids that are a little older. It is pretty hard to get tickets to the time you want so you have to be ready to buy and fairly open with your schedule! If we can get tickets again, we will go!

Event Review: Snoopy House

What It is:

Snoopy House is a tradition in Costa Mesa. It used to be held at a residential house (starting in 1966) and they set up holiday decorations featuring the Peanuts characters. Once they were unable to keep it at their home, the city stepped in and started hosting it at city hall.

**I have pictures from both this year (2017) and last year (2016.) I try not to include pictures of other people’s kids so I included some (okay, a lot) pictures of last year since it was a lot less crowded and you can see some of the decorations.

What We Did:

We went totally spur of the moment and found a great parking spot so we were feeling pretty good! I have gone to the Snoopy House for many years so it is a tradition for me and I’m glad that we can take C.

They had a snow area set up with real snow and it was super packed. Kids were getting a little wild and crazily throwing snowballs. A friend of mine went a different night and her 1 year old got pelted in the face. So we let C touch the snow and then got out of there pretty quickly. It was so crazy that I wasn’t able to get any pictures in that area..

“Snow!”

They also have a “snow” fall that happens every so often. We were there for it twice this year and C though it was really fun. They have it come down in 2 different spots and once it starts everyone kind of runs to that area. We tried to time it, but it didn’t follow any pattern that we noticed.

It is really just soap bubbles

They have a small train ride that is free as well. The line is normally pretty short and goes fairly quickly. I really wanted C to try it but I didn’t trust him alone on it since there aren’t really seat belts and it is kids only. I think next year will be perfect! There was some live entertainment going on around this time which was a local band playing Christmas carols. I’m sure the quality of entertainment varies as the different acts switch out. Local groups also sell various items as a fundraiser. A local high school was selling hot cocoa the night we went, but this varies as well.

Some of the lights and displays The outhouse behind me is a decoration and you can go inside!

The main attraction is all the decorations. There are some really cool decorations set up around the area. There are a bunch of different scenes set up featuring the Peanuts characters. Some of theme move and some of them are store fronts. There is even one that is a small building that you can go inside and write letters to Santa in.

Some of the decoration set up from 2016.

This year I noticed that they had a Snoopy dog house set up that was super popular to take pictures in front of. We tried to wait in line for it, but it wasn’t going to happen. Kids were going inside of it and hanging out in it. It was really cute. There was also Lucy’s psychiatric booth to take pictures in. C loved this. I don’t know why, but works for me!

“Can I help you?”

Santa comes every night at 7 and does free pictures in a cute little set up. We missed him last year and this year there was already a line starting before 7 so we figured it wasn’t worth it. If you want pictures, I suggest having someone hold a place in line while the kids have fun!

Area where Santa pictures happen.

Good:

  • It is a free event. Even photos with Santa!
  • It is generally pretty laid back.
  • The snow, “snow fall”, and train rides are really fun for the kids.

Not So Good:

  • Parking is fairly limited right at city hall. You can park in the area though and spots turn over pretty quickly.
  • There isn’t a ton to do so it is a pretty quick event.
  • It can get crowded!
  • They line the ground with hay so if you have a hay allergy (like my husband) make sure to take an allergy pill before you go!

Cost:

Free

Our Verdict:

Since this is really local to us, we will keep going. It is a tradition for me and since it is free I don’t have to worry if we leave pretty quickly. I think it is amazing that this all used to be at someone’s house. I actually found an old picture I took from 2004 when it was still at the family’s house! Plus you can see a little more of the type of decoration that is up!

From 2004

Christmas Events!

Looking for some Christmas fun? Here are some of the many activities happening around Orange County!

*Please note this is by no means an exhaustive list. It is just some of the larger events that I could find. More events will be added as events pop up so keep checking back!

Anaheim

Buena Park

Corona del Mar

Costa Mesa

  • December 21 – January 7
    • WinterFest OC – Costa Mesa
      • Hours vary depending on the day so make sure you check the website!
      • Prices vary depending on if you buy online or in person as well as what activities you want to do.
        • They start at $10 per child (3-12) and $15 per adult if you buy your tickets online.
      • Snow (!), crafts, bounce house, petting zoo, Santa, fireworks, and more.
        • Ice skating for an additional cost.
      • Orange County Fair and Event Center (88 Fair Dr, Costa Mesa, CA 92626)
      • https://winterfestoc.com/
      • See my review HERE
  • December 14 – 23
    • Snoopy House
      • 5:30 – 9 PM
      • Free
      • Holiday decorations, music, free photos with Santa (Santa is only there on certain days), and train rides.
        • Snoopy House is a tradition in Costa Mesa. It used to be held at a residential house and they set up holiday decorations featuring the Peanuts characters. Once they were unable to keep it at their home, the city stepped in.
      • Costa Mesa City Hall (77 Fair Dr, Costa Mesa, CA 92626)
      • https://www.costamesaca.gov/SnoopyHouse
        • This is the link given but it is not showing anything at the time of posting. You can find info on the city’s website though. I think it is just too early.
        • See my review HERE
  • December 16
    • Torelli Realty Holiday Snow Land
      • 9 AM – 12 PM
      • Free
      • 40 tons of snow will be brought in! Santa will be there and is arriving by firetruck, hay rides, a bounce house, and cookie decorating. Food and drink is available for purchase.
        • There will also be a toy and food drive.
      • Balearic Park (1975 Balearic Dr, Costa Mesa, CA 92626)
      • http://torellirealty.com/upcoming-events-by-torelli-realty/

Dana Point

  • December 2 and 3
    • Boat Rides with Santa
      • 10 AM – 2 PM
      • Free, but a $5 donation to El Camino Real Junior Women’s Club
      • A 20 minute harbor cruise with Santa and his helpers.
      • Dana Wharf (34675 Golden Lantern, Dana Point, CA 92629)
      • https://danawharf.com/christmas-boat-parade/
  • December 8, 9, 15, and 16
    • Boat Parade of Lights
      • Activities run from 4:30 – 7:30 PM and the parade will arrive around the restaurants about 7:30 PM
      • Free
      • Carolers, games, crafts, free photos with Santa, and a boat parade.
      • This spans the entirety of the Dana Point Harbor area. The website provides fantastic maps and parking information so please refer to that.
        • They also have a shuttle that does free service along Dana Point Harbor Drive.
        • Parking at Doheny State Beach is $3 per hour.
      • https://danapointharbor.com/

Garden Grove

  • December 2
    • Winterfest
      • 2 – 5:30 PM
      • $10 per person. Kids 2 and under are free.
        • You must buy your tickets ahead of time in person or via phone before Friday, December 1.
        • Tickets are limited!
      • Crafts, inflatables, games, train rides, raffles, music, real snow, and Santa!
      • Atlantis Play Center (13630 Atlantis Way, Garden Grove, CA 92844)
      • https://www.ci.garden-grove.ca.us/pdf/commserv/2017%20winterfest%20flyer.pdf

Fullerton

Huntington Harbour

  • December 9 – 10
    • Huntington Harbour Boat Parade
      • Parade starts at 5:15 PM
      • Free
      • A parade of decorated boats around Huntington Harbour.
      • Please see event page. They have a map detailing where the parade will be and at what time. It looks like it goes through the majority of Huntington Harbour.
      • http://www.hhboatparade.org/#about

Irvine

  • November 24 – December 24
  • December 2 – 3
    • Tanaka Farms Holiday Santa Tour and Sanrio Village
      • Tour times throughout the day.
        • You MUST preregister online!
      • $18 per person. Kids 2 and under are free.
      • Take a wagon ride around the farm, sample winter vegetables, stopping at a decorated hilltop where you will see Santa and visit Sanrio Village. Then head back down to the starting point.
        • Each paying guest gets a limited edition Sanrio button.
      • Tanaka Farms (5380 3/4 University Dr, Irvine, CA 92612)
      • http://www.tanakafarms.com/holiday-tour-sanrio-village/
      • See my review HERE
  • December 3
  • December 9 – 10
    • Tanaka Farms Holiday Santa Tour and Sanrio Village
      • Tour times throughout the day.
        • You MUST preregister online!
      • $18 per person. Kids 2 and under are free.
      • Take a wagon ride around the farm, sample winter vegetables, stopping at a decorated hilltop where you will see Santa and visit Sanrio Village. Then head back down to the starting point.
        • Each paying guest gets a limited edition Sanrio button.
      • Tanaka Farms (5380 3/4 University Dr, Irvine, CA 92612)
      • http://www.tanakafarms.com/holiday-tour-sanrio-village/
      • See my review HERE
  • December 12
  • December 16 – 17
    • Tanaka Farms Holiday Santa Tour and Sanrio Village
      • Tour times throughout the day.
        • You MUST preregister online!
      • $18 per person. Kids 2 and under are free.
      • Take a wagon ride around the farm, sample winter vegetables, stopping at a decorated hilltop where you will see Santa and visit Sanrio Village. Then head back down to the starting point.
        • Each paying guest gets a limited edition Sanrio button.
      • Tanaka Farms (5380 3/4 University Dr, Irvine, CA 92612)
      • http://www.tanakafarms.com/holiday-tour-sanrio-village/
      • See my review HERE
  • December 18
  • December 21

La Habra

  • December 2 – 3
    • Breakfast with Santa
      • This sells out pretty quickly and you must pre-register!
      • Seating times each day are 8:30 AM, 9:45 AM, and 11 AM.
      • Adults: $13, Children 2+: $11. $2 discount if you are members.
      • Continental breakfast, coloring craft, a photo with Santa, and museum admission.
      • The Children’s Museum at La Habra (301 S Euclid, La Habra, CA 90631)
      • http://www.lhcm.org/360/Special-Events

Laguna Niguel

  • December 9
    • Holiday Parade
      • 10 AM
      • Free
      • A parade that includes equestrian units, military tributes, bands, and cars!
      • The parade is on Crown Valley Parkway between Nueva Vista and Crown Valley Community Park.
        • The website has great information about parking and shuttles so if you are traveling to the event make sure to check that out!
      • http://lagunaniguelparade.com/default.php

Newport Beach

  • December 13 – 17
    • Newport Beach Boat Parade
      • Parade begins at 6:30 PM
      • Free
      • A parade of decorated boats around Lido Island, Balboa Island, Balboa Peninsula, and Balboa Village.
      • See the event page for the best map of the area.
        • From previous experience, get there really early for parking and a viewing spot. It gets CROWDED.
      • https://www.christmasboatparade.com/

Orange

  • December 1 – 23
    • Irvine Park Railroad
      • This sells out pretty quickly and you must pre-purchase train tickets!

        • At the time of this posting there are still some days and times available.
      • Various times throughout the month.
      • $15 per person. Kids under 2 are free. Plus parking ($3 weekdays and $5 weekends.)
      • Ride the train to see Santa (you can take pictures with your own camera or purchase photos taken by staff), story time with Mrs. Claus, coloring, a maze, and picture stands.
        • For an additional cost there is a bounce house, cookie decorating, carnival games, and food.
      • Irvine Regional Park (1 Irvine Park Rd, Orange, CA 92869)
      • http://www.irvineparkrailroad.com/directions/
      • See my review HERE

San Clemente

San Juan Capistrano

  • December 2-3
    • Snow at the Mission – San Juan Capistrano
  • December 2

Santa Ana

  • November 24 – December 31
    • Science of Gingerbread
      • Discovery Cube’s normal hours.
      • Discovery Cube admission: Adults-$17.95 and kids (3-14)-$12.95
      • Learn how science plays a part in the making of gingerbread, build a candy car, and other activities.
        • Santa will be there certain days, so check the website if that is something you want to do!
      • Discovery Cube (2500 N Main St, Santa Ana, CA 92705)
      • https://oc.discoverycube.org/event/science-of-gingerbread/
  • All December
    • Winter Zoobilation – Santa Ana
      • Entire day
      • Zoo admission. General (13+): $10-12 and children (3-12): $7-9
      • The zoo is transformed into a winter wonderland with snow, decorations, lights, and music.
      • Santa Ana Zoo (1801 E Chestnut Ave, Santa Ana, CA 92701)
      • http://www.santaanazoo.org/
  • December 16 -17
    • Winter Wonderfest – Santa Ana
      • Discovery Cube’s normal hours.
        • I will update this if I see a change, but there is little information currently.
      • Tickets go on sale November 20!! I hear this can sell out.
        • Discovery Cube admission: Adults-$17.95 and kids (3-14)-$12.95
          • I will update this if I see a change, but there is little information currently.
      • Snow play area, tubing down a snow hill, and other fun.
      • Discovery Cube (2500 N Main St, Santa Ana, CA 92705)
      • https://oc.discoverycube.org/event/winter-wonderfest/

Chanukah Events

Looking for some Chanukah fun? Here are some of the many activities happening around Orange County!

*Please note this is by no means an exhaustive list. It is just some of the larger events that I could find. More events will be added as events pop up so keep checking back!

Irvine

  • December 12 – 20
    • Hooray for Chanukah
      • Most are at 3:30 PM. However some are later so please check the event page!
      • $12.50 per person. Members and kids under 1 year are free.
      • Activity varies by day so please check the event page!
      • Pretend City (29 Hubble, Irvine, CA 92618)
      • https://www.pretendcity.org/event/hooray-chanukah-2/
  • December 14
    • Community Chanukah Celebration

Laguna Niguel

Newport Beach

Halloween Activities!

Looking for some Halloween fun? Here are some of the many activities happening around Orange County!

*Please note this is by no means an exhaustive list. It is just some of the larger events that I could find.

Aliso Viejo

  • October 30
    • Pre-Halloween Bounce Party
      • 5:30-8:30 PM
      • $15 per person presale. $20 at the door.
      • Wear a costume and hunt for treats while bouncing and sliding around. A goody bag for each child, crafts, and more. Food available for an additional cost.
      • Scooter’s Jungle (25 Journey, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656)
      • https://scootersjungle.com/location/aliso-viejo/open-play-calendar/MQ==/aliso-viejo (Click on the Family FUN Event on the calendar for information and presale ticket info.)
  • October 31

Anaheim

  • Now – October 31
    • Pumpkin City’s Pumpkin Farm
      • Monday-Thursday: 11 AM – 8:30 PM. Friday-Sunday: 10 AM – 10 PM
      • Free entry, but some activities have an additional cost.
      • Pumpkins, rides, games, food, and a petting zoo.
        • This is a satellite location of the Laguna Hills Pumpkin City so not all attractions are available.
      • 2190 E. Lincoln, Anaheim, CA 92806
      • http://pumpkincity.com/

    October 28

Brea

  • Now – October 31
    • Enchanted Country

Corona Del Mar

Dana Point

Fullerton

  • October 21
    • Halloween Time at the Museum
      • 9 AM – 12 PM
      • Free but it is a fundraising event so donations are appreciated.
      • Trick-or-treating spots, games, coloring, and photo opportunities.
      • Fullerton Train Museum (200 E Santa Fe Ave, Fullerton, CA 92832)
      • http://www.fullertontrainmuseum.org/

Huntington Beach

Irvine

  • Now – October 31
    • Johnson Brothers Pumpkin Patch
      • 9 AM – 9 PM
      • Entry is free, but some activities have an additional cost.
      • Pumpkins, rides, bounce houses, and more.
      • Johnson Brothers (15500 Jeffrey Rd and Irvine Center Dr, Irvine, CA 92618)
      • http://www.johnsonbros.net/halloween.html
    • Tanaka Farms Pumpkin Patch
      • 9 AM – 6 PM
      • Entry $3. Under 2 is free.
      • Wagon rides (additional cost), pumpkin patch, petting zoo (additional cost), and corn maze. Weekends have other activities including games and rides for an additional cost.
      • Check their website on the weekends for updates. They have been very crowded and post updates about parking and entry before opening.
      • Tanaka Farms (5380 3/4 University Dr, Irvine, CA 92612)
      • http://www.tanakafarms.com/

Laguna Hills

  • Now – October 31
    • Pumpkin City’s Pumpkin Farm
      • Monday-Thursday: 11 AM – 8:30 PM. Friday-Sunday: 10 AM – 10 PM
      • Free entry, but some activities have an additional cost.
      • Pumpkins, rides, games, food, and a petting zoo.
      • Laguna Hills Mall (24203 Avenida de la Carlota, Laguna Hills, CA 92653)
      • http://pumpkincity.com/

Newport Beach

Orange

  • Now – October 31
    • Irvine Park Railroad
      • As of this posting, they are reopen after the fires.
      • Weekdays 10 AM -5 PM. Weekends 8 AM – 6 PM
      • Entrance fee: weekdays $3, weekends $5
      • Train rides, hay rides, bounce house, games, hay maze, and a haunted house.
        • Some activities have an additional cost.
      • Irvine Park Railroad (1 Irvine Park Rd, Orange, CA 92869)
      • http://www.irvineparkrailroad.com/events/pumpkin-patch/

Placentia

  • Now – October 31
    • Pumpkin Patch
      • Monday – Thursday: 2-9PM. Friday: 2-10 PM. Saturday: 10 AM – 10 PM. Sunday: 10 AM – 8 PM
      • Free entry, but activities have an additional cost.
      • Petting zoo, giant inflatables, mini tractor rides, face painting, and more.
      • 300 E. Yorba Linda Blvd, Placentia, CA 92870
      • http://www.the-pumpkin-patch.com/home.html

Rancho Santa Margarita

  • Now – October 31
    • Pumpkin City’s Pumpkin Farm
      • Monday-Thursday: 11 AM – 8:30 PM. Friday-Sunday: 10 AM – 10 PM
      • Free entry, but some activities have an additional cost.
      • Pumpkins, rides, games, food, and a petting zoo.
        • This is a satellite location of the Laguna Hills Pumpkin City so not all attractions are available.
      • Santa Margarita Parkway and El Paseo, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688
      • http://pumpkincity.com/

San Clemente

San Juan Capistrano

  • Now – October 30 (or until they run out of pumpkin! Make sure to check their website for info)
    • Mountain Pines Christmas Tree Farm
      • Monday – Thursday: 1-7PM. Friday: 1-8 PM. Saturday: 10 AM – 8 PM. Sunday: 10 AM – 7 PM
      • Free entry, but some activities have an additional cost.
      • Inflatables, pumpkins, and some days have petting zoo, pony rides, and face painting (weekends.)
      • Mountain Pines Christmas Tree Farm (29932 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675)
      • http://www.mountainpinesoc.com/attractions.html
  • Now – October 31
    • Zoomars Pumpkinpalooza
      • 9 AM – 5 PM
      • Adults $10 and Children $8
      • Pumpkins, hay maze, corn box, petting zoo, train rides (additional charge), and gold panning (additional charge.)
      • Zoomars Petting Zoo (31791 Los Rios St, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675)
      • http://www.zoomars.com/

Santa Ana

  • October 21-22
    • Boo at the Zoo
      • 5:30 – 8 PM
      • Zoo admission. General (13+): $10-12 and children (3-12): $7-9
      • Halloween family festival, trick or treating, decorations, nocturnal animal presentations, and train rides.
      • Santa Ana Zoo (1801 E Chestnut Ave, Santa Ana, CA 92701)
      • http://www.santaanazoo.org/
  • October 28-29
    • Boo at the Zoo
      • 5:30 – 8 PM
      • Zoo admission. General (13+): $10-12 and children (3-12): $7-9
      • Halloween family festival, trick or treating, decorations, nocturnal animal presentations, and train rides.
      • Santa Ana Zoo (1801 E Chestnut Ave, Santa Ana, CA 92701)
      • http://www.santaanazoo.org/

Westminster

  • Now – October 31
    • Frosty’s Forest and Pumpkin Patch
      • Monday – Thursday: 3-9PM. Friday: 12-10 PM. Saturday: 10 AM – 10 PM. Sunday: 10 AM – 9 PM
      • Free entry, but activities have an additional cost.
      • Rides, pumpkins, and festival games.
      • Westminster Mall (1025 Westminster Mall, Westminster, CA 92683) It is around the backside of the mall.
      • http://thepumpkinfactory.com/pumpkin-patch-westminster-mall-home/
  • October 31
    • Halloween Boo Bash
      • 4:30-7:30 PM
      • Free
      • Mall wide trick-or-treating and carnival games (Macy’s Court.)
        • Note that only kids 2-12 can receive candy and participate in games.
        • There are a ton of costume rules on the website-make sure to read them!
      • Westminster Mall (1025 Westminster Mall, Westminster, CA 92683)
      • https://westminstermall.com/events-news/event/halloween-boo-bash

Yorba Linda

  • Now – October 31
    • Frosty’s Forest and Pumpkin Patch
      • Monday – Thursday: 4-9PM. Friday: 3-10 PM. Saturday: 10 AM – 10 PM. Sunday: 10 AM – 9 PM
      • Free entry, but activities have an additional cost.
      • Lots of giant inflatables, pumpkins, and festival games.
      • Frosty’s Forest and Pumpkin Patch (17145 Bastanchury Rd, Yorba Linda, CA 92886)
      • http://www.frostysforest.com/FallFestivalYorbaLinda

4th of July Events

This list is not all of the 4th of July events out there. It is a list of family events that I found enough information about to pass along!

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