A Fun and Free Evening at The Great Park

Last Thursday evening my friend Caryn and I were trying to figure out what to do with our boys. We usually head over to Disneyland almost every week for our playdates and we wanted to try something different. I knew that The Orange County  Great Park became the new home to the Fashion Island Carousel last year and I really wanted to check it out. We headed to Irvine for our fun adventure.

We drove up to The Great Park’s visitor center and easily found a parking spot. The park was pretty much empty and it felt like we had the area surrounding the visitor’s center all to ourselves. We headed to the visitor’s center to check in  and we were off to ride the carousel to our heart’s content. I’m not kidding when I say that we had the carousel all to ourselves and we rode it at least 5 times.

My friend Caryn was brave enough and rode the Great Park’s ballon ride. The balloon holds up to 30 people and soars 400 feet in the air. Rides on the Balloon ride are free and all that is needed to take flight is a waiver release. Caryn rode up with her little girl in an sling and said the views were absolutely incredible. I think next time I will have to see for myself.

The boys had a blast riding the carousel and playing in the Kids Rock Section. Kids Rock is a fun play area that educates the kiddos about conservation ecology and the water cycle. This fun area had plenty of lighting and the boys could have played for hours. There are “caves” to explore, “reptiles” to observe and good old fashioned slides to slide down on.

Next time we head over to the Great Park I will make sure to bring dinner or lunch. There are plenty of picnic tables to enjoy a meal on and enjoy a wonderful evening or day. The best part is that we didn’t spend a penny. Our very fun evening was completely free of charge.

If you are looking for something to do with your family on a weekend night, pick up a pizza and head over to the Orange County Great Park for a great time.

Great Park Balloon Free!
Thursday–Friday: 10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m.–10:00 p.m.
Saturday–Sunday: 9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m.–10:00 p.m. All flights are free.

Great Park Carousel Free!
Thursday–Friday: 10:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m.
Saturday–Sunday: 9:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m.

Check-in is required at the Visitors Center. Riders under 42″ must be accompanied by an adult. Rides are approximately two minutes long. Rides are Free.

Kids Rock
Thursday–Friday: 10:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m.
Saturday–Sunday: 9:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m.

For additional info head here.


  1. drina says:

    We took a trip to The Great Park last month and had a blast. My two year old daughter loved the balloon ride and is always asking when we will go back. Next time we go,which will be soon, we will take a lunch and spend more time there.

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