If you’re visiting Orange County, California you likely already have Disneyland on your itinerary. But the OC is more than Mickey and miles of beautiful beaches. Anaheim, Orange, Irvine and the surrounding areas have a lot more fun family-friendly activities your fam will love, including free activities, indoor and outdoor play spots, splash pads, story times, zoos, museums, and family events.

Did we miss something? Leave a comment below, and we’ll update our guide!

Atlantis Play Center

This hidden gem has a fun under the sea theme and is a great place to spend the day. With rolling (mini) hills and the iconic dragon slide, this is a time-tested play spot your kids will love. There are plenty of spots to climb and run around, and is appropriate for toddlers and older kids alike. Local parents love how clean the park is, and the fact that adults can’t enter unless they are with a child, making it one of the safest parks around.

13630 Atlantis Way
Garden Grove, CA 92844
(714) 892-6015
Atlantis Play Center Website

Orange County Great Park

Irvine’s 200-acre Great Park is an OC landmark known for the legendary Great Park Balloon, a huge orange helium balloon tethered to the ground with a 25-person capacity viewing deck. See Orange County from 400 feet above the ground Thursdays through Sundays, weather permitting. The Great Park Balloon isn’t the only kid-friendly activity Great Park has to offer, though. Let the kids get their hands dirty exploring the grounds at the self-directed Creation Stations, where kids can play, create and explore. Kids will also love the Great Park Carousel, and don’t forget to check out the unique Kids Rock play area, which includes a rock play area, slide, underground tunnels, and picnic tables under the Great Park Balloon.

8000 Great Park Blvd.
Irvine, CA 92618
Orange County Great Park Website

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Feeding animals ❤️ Twins were so excited 😂 when piggies 🐷 and goats ate their veggies 🥕🥦🍎 (especially Ares 🤣🤣) Aston was really good at feeding animals and he was helping his brother 😄 Though Ares was more afraid of feeding but he still tried and loved it. Ares kept asking if goat wants his carrots 🤣🤣 He was also very thoughtful that kept reminding us don’t feed the small goat (told by staffs) ps: Alpaca was so clam . . . Twins 喂小動物吃青菜🥕🥦🍎,Aston 很會喂還會幫忙Ares一起喂,雖然Ares比較膽小但他又號興奮,他也很貼心的一直提醒大家,不可以喂小羊ㄇㄟㄇㄟ (Ares表情動作真的很多🤣🤣🤣 一直問羊ㄇㄟㄇㄟ要不要吃他的紅蘿蔔 PS: 草泥馬(羊駝) 超冷靜,紅蘿蔔🥕放在嘴巴後就停住了😂 . . . #twins #twinsastonares #astonares #twinshomelab #twinsfunathome #toddlers #toddlerslife #toddlerslifestyle #mummyandson #astonareslab #feed #feedinganimals #pettingzoo #halloween #fun #pumpkinpatch #goat #piggy #alpaca #草泥馬 @zoomars

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ZOOMARS Petting Zoo

Near downtown San Juan Capistrano, don’t miss ZOOMARS petting zoo, where kids can enjoy petting and holding guinea pigs, brushing goats, sheep, emu, llamas, alpacas, and pigs. They also offer pony rides and a train ride for younger kids, not to mention a corn pit that will bring out the kid in you, too. Parents love how happy and well taken are of the animals look. Tip: bring some extra cash to get food to feed the animals.

31791 Los Rios St
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
(949) 831-6550

Adventure Playground

Best for preschoolers and young school-aged kids, Adventure Playground is known throughout Orange County. Kids especially love building with the giant legos, painting the walls, splashing in the hose, and climbing the castle. Another favorite is the big jungle gym with bridges, slides, stairs and areas to run and play. There are tons of places to sit and hang out while your kids play. The best part? Admission is free! Tips: Bring sunblock for you and the kids, hats, a towel, and an extra change of clothes for the water area.

1 Beech Tree Ln
Irvine, CA 92612
(949) 724-6818
Adventure Playground Website

Oso Creek Fairy Trail

Stretching about a mile long, the Fairy Trail is one of the best family-friendly trails in Orange County and truly one of the most unique things to do in the area. Great for all ages, it has art, statues, a park, plenty of shade, and dozens of fairy houses hidden along the trail. Look closely or you will miss them! They are found in tree stumps, fence posts, rocks, and bushes. Tips: To begin at the start of the Fairy Trail, park in the lower lot leading to the Potocki Center for the Arts. There are no restrooms along the trail, but there are restrooms at the playground. The Oso Creek Trail is stroller-friendly, but the Fairy Trail goes off pavement.

24932 Veterans Way
Mission Viejo, CA 92692
(949) 470-3061
Oso Creek Fairy Trail Website

Huntington Beach Mud Park

Legitimately dirty, old-fashioned fun. Build actual forts using real tools. if you use all your nails, you can earn more by helping clean up. Open during the Summer only, Open monday-saturday 10:00am – 4:00pm, play ends at 3:40 for clean-up (closed sundays & july 4th). Adventure Playground is located in Huntington Beach off of Goldenwest, in the same parking lot as the Huntington Beach Central Library. Park and then walk up the hill. click here for a map.

7111 Talbert Avenue
Huntington Beach
(714) 842-7442
Huntington Beach Mud Park Website

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Sender One Climbing

Here’s your chance to be Spiderman! Climb the facade of the building. How about only using the window panes? TREMBLING TOWERS How high can you climb on the trembling towers? Can you climb the towers with no hands? or your eyes closed? DROP SLIDE The ultimate adrenaline rush — no Sender City visit would be complete without a giant human slide! This is a bonus challenge. TODDLER PARK For small ones under 40lbs! Your little ones are going to love building blocks and learning the ABCs on the traverse wall!FUN WALLS These are the kids’ favorite walls – climb the building ladders, ascend funtopia letters, or try to balance on spinning gears. JUMP CATCH Challenge your fear of heights on the jump catch tower. Catch the trapeze bar or punch bag. How far out can you go? This is a bonus challenge.BOX BUILDER Stack as many blocks as possible and stand on top. Lose your balance and you’ll have to start all over again! MINESHAFT Climb in the dark!

1441 S. Village Way
Santa Ana, CA 92705
(714) 881-3456
Sender One Climbing Website

Visit the Tidepools

“Treasure Island Beach – (Wesley & Pacific Coast Hwy – Laguna Beach)
this is one of the hidden gems of Orange County, and a bit of a hike to get to. there is only one small public parking lot off Wesly Dr. (Parking is horrible) or you can park on the street on the north side of PCH up the hill. to get to the beach, follow the sidewalk path that runs along the front of the Montage Resort, past the main hotel’s beach. north of that beach you will find a stairway leading down to the small tide pool flanked beach. the cliffside views of this beach are breathtaking. Crystal Cove State Beach – ( Pacific Coast Highway – between Corona Del Mar and Laguna Beach)
Reef Point, Rocky Bight, Pelican Point, north end of Treasure Cove are the best places to explore here. you can park in the beach’s parking lots for $15 per day. it is REALLY IMPORTANT to check the tide before you go, or else you may find a beach covered with water and no rocks to explore in sight. we were fortunate to have a negative tide this particular day (meaning the tide was out further than normal) so we had more tide pools to explore than most of the days we go. you can check the beach tides online, or by using an app on your phone such as the Surfline.”

Pretend City Children’s Museum

It felt like being in a giant toy store where the kids could play with everything. Their are different areas with different themes, doctor office, post office, a home. Kids are running everywhere and most parents are watching over. We could have spent another hour if we had the time. A lot of activities and good for any age of kids. They have Sands and water area, also painting area, Trader Joe’s mini shopping, Nongsin Raman home, and so on. Have fun here! I came here on the 2nd Friday of the month which is BOGoO day. Vending machine has lunchables and snacks. Parking can be found on different streets. I perfer weekdays or afternoon on weekdays. Overall, great time and our whole family got in on the play. Nonprofit.

29 Hubble
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 428-3900
Pretend City Children’s Museum Website


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1313 Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, CA 92802
Disneyland Website

The Best Upcoming Events for Kids Orange County

If you’re looking for events and activities, don’t miss our local Orange County events calendar, which has everything from story times to seasonal activities like apple picking, pumpkin patches, and Christmas tree farms.