Okay let me start first by saying how much I love this place… I know I say it all the time. I am a firm believer that you can love many places- that’s what is so fantastic about Southern California- there are sooo many places to love.
Hmmm where should I begin? First things first- don’t let the name decieve you, the park is located in the city of Orange not Irvine. It’s beautiful and the beauty of this place is that you could stay for only an hour or two or stay for the whole day. My visits depend on my mood. Sometimes I’ve been there for an hour- once I stayed the whole day. My visit usually always starts with a pony ride. This is always the highlight of the trip for my two year old. Pony rides are available from 11 am to 5 pm on weekends and also on holidays. During the summer they are open every day except for Mondays. Pony rides are $4.oo each. As soon as we finish with the pony rides we walk over a couple of yards to the Irvine Park Railroad and the concession stand. I love grabbing an icee while I wait for our train ride. It’s a 10 minute ride that goes past the two lakes and some really nice scenery. If I remember correctly the train rides are $4.00 also.
Once we’ve finished our Icees and had our fill of train rides, we always head over to the OC Zoo. It’s also located inside the park and what makes this little zoo so interesting is that all of the animals that are on exhibit are all native to the area or to the southwestern part of the United States. They have a couple of bears that are always fun to watch and they also have a couple of scary mountain lions that are also very interesting to observe close up. Admission is $3.00 per person- children 2 and under are free.
I usually buy some fast food or bring sandwiches and picnic in one of the many great areas to sit and just enjoy the outdoors. I usually also make sure to bring a loaf of bread to feed the ducks and geese.
I have never tried this but there are also bicycle and aquacycle rentals available by the old boathouse. It looks like a lot of fun but I just haven’t gotten around to it. You can also bring your bikes and there are many trails to explore or just even to walk or hike.
Entrance to the park is $3 per car on weekdays , $5 on weekends and up to $10 on holidays.
Irvine Regional Park is located in Santiago Canyon, six miles east of the City of Orange. To reach the park, take the Newport Freeway (#55) to the Chapman Avenue East offramp. Head east on Chapman for approximately five miles. Turn left on Jamboree for one fourth a mile to the park entrance. Open: Nov. 1 – March 31, 6:00am to 6:00pm Open: April 1 – Oct. 31, 6:00am to 9:00pm Office Hours: Mon. – Fri., 8:00am to 4:00pm Sat. – Sun., 8:00am to 11:00am
A couple of weeks ago on a Saturday the four of us headed down south on the 15 to the San Diego Wild Animal Park. We got there a little past 11 and the crowds were actually not that bad. Okay first things first- Make sure you bring great walking shoes, a great stroller, plenty of sunscreen and of course water!!! We did have to wait a bit for parking and parked a bit away from the entrance. You can either hike up from the parking lot or take the tram up to the entrance. We figured it would be more of a pain to take the tran with the stroller and decided to just hike up. It actually wasn’t too bad since the weather was only in the low 80’s. We went ahead and bought our tickets -( make sure you buy the one with the journey into Africa tour!!!)and decided since the line was too long for the season pass that we would upgrade on our way out. This is definitely the way to go.. If you live in So Cal I would go ahead and get the season pass. It’s only 20 dollars more and you have access to both the Wild Animal Park and the San Diego Zoo. You also get two free tickets to either the Zoo or the Park. Just keep your ticket stubs and present them on the way out.. we waited all of 5 minutes.. It was easy and fast.
First thing we headed off to was the Journey to Africa Safari Tour. I would go there first. The lines tend to get long – sometimes up to an hour and a half but if you head there first you will get it out of the way. It’s about a 20 minute ride that tours the animal enclosures. My two year old got a kick out of it and so did I. Make sure to bring a pair of binoculars for this adventure. After we finished the tour we just checked out the park. One of our favorite parts was the Lorekeet Landing exhibit. You can buy nectar in teeny cups and feed the little birds. They land on your head, arms, shoulders, etc… It was fun but beware, one of those little stinkers bit me for no reason. It kind of hurt a little but not enough to make me stop feeding the birdies. My two year old was squealing in delight. Your kids will love this.
We stopped and watched a couple of the exotic animals. The animals actually look happy. I think it’s because of the enviroment they are in. We called it a day at about 3:30 because my hubby got sunburned badly. I can’t stress enough to bring plenty of the sunscreen. It’s a must. Oh almost forgot the food is not too bad. We ate at the Mombasa Island Cooker and the food was pretty good for theme park standards. Also if you like soft drinks make sure to buy the souvenir cup. I think it’s 9 dollars but you get free refills throughout the day.. We had a great time and can’t wait to visit again soon
San Diego Wild Animal Park
15500 San Pasqual Valley Road, 35 miles north of the San Diego Zoo and east of Escondido
Park hours (The Wild Animal Park is open every day of the year, including all holidays.)
Current hours//Park At Dark
(now–September 3):9 a.m.–8 p.m. (grounds close at 9 p.m.)
Fall hours (September 4–December 6):9 a.m. to 4 p.m.(grounds close at 5 p.m.)
Parking is 8 dollars…
First off let me start by apologizing for not updating this in the past couple of days. I have made a vow to myself and to my faithful readers that I will not let more than two days pass without a new post. There’s a couple of places I want to blog about but I will start off with our fun outing yesterday. We headed off to visit Little Tokyo in downtown Los Angeles. It’s one of only 3 Japantowns left in the United States.
It’s easy to find since it’s only a couple of blocks away from City Hall. We went on a Saturday and while it was busy- there wasn’t wall to wall people and we actually walked around without a stroller. First thing is Parking. There are a couple of parking lots around Little Tokyo but we used the one directly in front of The Japanese American museum on 1st street. It’s a 5 dollar flat rate for the day. The parking lot is perfect because you only have to cross one block and you are there(and trust me you don’t really want to cross any streets in downtown LA unless you really have to)
We were hungry so we headed off to eat first. We ate at Oiwake. It’s a great little place in the Japanese Village Plaza. The prices are very reasonable and they are family friendly. My kids and I both ate from the buffet and my husband ate some sushi. This place is great except you have to hike up a staircase but its well worth it. After we finished we headed off to do some window shopping. There are many shops that specialize in Japanese products- if your kids love Hello Kitty- this is the place to be. My daughter picked up a Hello Kitty purse that would cost about 10 dollars at the mall for 1.99. The merchants are friendly and even gave the kids lollipops. I wish I could say we did more like visit the museums or try out one of the bakeries but we didn’t. You really need a full day and not just a couple of hours. I promise I will return with Little Tokyo Part 2, but for now I hope you might be a little curious about this great place and visit for your self….