Category: Explore

Weekend Roundup


Since there’s so much going on this weekend, I thought I’d put them all together for a weekend roundup.


All Month Long:

Spooky Science everyday at Discovery Science Center

Thomas and Friends everyday at Discover Science Center

Boomont Park  every Friday, Saturday & Sunday at Belmont Park

Spooktacular Saturday’s every Saturday at OC Great Park

Pumpkin Patch  everyday at Tanaka Farms

Irvine Park Railroad Pumpkin Patch everyday at Irvine Regional Park

Technique Cooking Classes every Sunday at Williams-Sonoma

Jr. Chef Classes every Saturday at Williams-Sonoma

Drop in and Draw at Chuck Jones Center for Creativity

Kidvasion, freebie deals for kids all over San Deigo

Zoomars Pumpkinpalooza everyday in San Juan Capistrano


Friday, October 3, 2014:

Black and White Film Festival at Chapman Unversity

Tustin Tiller Days at Columbus Tustin Park


Saturday, October 4, 2014:

Battle of the Paddle at Salt Creek Beach

Wolves: Myths and Legands at Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary

Acorn Day at O’Neill Regional Park

Young Explorers at Columbia Memorial Space Center

Tustin Tiller Days and Parade at Columbus Tustin Park and Old Town Tustin

Julian Apple-Days Fesitval in Julian

Beginning Archery Class at Mile Square Park

Saturday Morning Cartoons and Quick Draw at Center for Living Peace


Sunday, October 5, 2014:

Battle of the Paddle at Salt Creek Beach

Fall Family Festival at San Diego Childrens Museum

Free Day & Italian Family Festival/Columbus Celebration at Bowers Museum

Tustin Tiller Days at Columbus Tustin Park

Julian Apple-Days Fesitval in Julian



Amazing Raptors at Nix Nature Center

Get a close-up look at live hawks, owls, and falcons from the Orange County Bird of Prey Center. Learn to identify raptors in flight.  Dissect an owl pellet.  Find out how owls fly silently and discover other raptor survival secrets! Live raptor presentation by Peggy Chase

Amazing Raptors

Where: Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Little Sycamore Canyon Staging Area/Nix Nature Center

When: Saturday, October 11, 2014

Time:  1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Fee: FREE but donations are gladly accepted

Parking: $3.00

Great for children ages 8 and up, no hiking involved.

For questions call: 949-497-8324 Mon-Fri & 949-923-2235 Sat/Sun.

This event will fill up quickly, reserve your spot by using the Online Registration.


Beginning Archery

For some FREE family fun (or a great date) take up some free Archery classes at Mile Square Regional Park. Park Rangers and Volunteers offer free classes to participants 12 years old and up. The Class is Free and equipment is provided. Upcoming classes for September will be offered on September 6th and the 20th from 9:00 am – 10: 00 am.


The archery range at Mile Square Regional Park is open to the public. The 6.71-acre redesigned range features 24 in-line shooting stations beneath a continuous metal shade canopy with 24 targets, bow racks, tables for servicing bows, perimeter fencing, north orientation and a 20-foot safety berm. The new range is the largest in Orange County.


The new archery range was designed in consideration of public input and archery dynamics. Much of the dirt used to construct the safety berm came from the nearby Haster Basin Project, in which OC Public Works relocated a portion of a flood-control outlet to add space for an open field and improve upon the existing park with increased recreation opportunities.

  • Hours are 7 a.m. to sunset, daily.
  • Parking is $5 per  vehicle

Mile Square Regional Park
16801 Euclid St.
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
(714)973-6600 or (714)973-3197

For more information about the archery range, call the park at (714) 973-6600. Read the range rules here.

 Click Here To Register



First Thursdays Art Walk in Laguna Beach


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Laguna Beach is filled with art and First Thursdays Art Walk is a fantastic way to experience all it has to offer.

This educational monthly art event, held on the first Thursday of every month from 6 – 9pm, celebrates the diverse cultural art scene of Laguna Beach and is free to the public. First Thursdays Art Walk is funded by member galleries, local art institutions, lodging establishments, and the City of Laguna Beach.

First Thursdays Art Walk’s mission is to promote Laguna Beach as a leading year-round destination and community of fine art galleries.

Since 1998, First Thursdays Art Walk member galleries and sponsors have benefited from a co-operative effort in providing trolley service during First Thursdays Art Walk; by advertising in local and national media; and through creating a unique cultural experience for all First Thursdays Art Walk participants.

Shuttle Map


Parent and Me Time at the Shipley Nature Center




When:   Wednesdays

Where:  Shipley Info Center

Time:     11:00 AM

Cost:      $3.00 Per Parent

Shipley Nature center has an Interpretive Center with a children’s corner, nature trails, water wise gardens as well as weekly children’s actives on Saturday’s, composting classes and native plant sales.


Shipley Nature Center includes 4,000 feet of well-maintained trails that meander through several habitats, including oak woodlands, Torrey pines, meadows, and Blackbird Pond, a natural freshwater wetland with mature willows and sycamores.  Within the Nature Center is a 1,500 sq. ft. Interpretive Building with exhibits on local wildlife and ecology.

Upcoming Events

There is no charge for admission; however, donations are encouraged to assist in keeping the gates open and the habitat safe.


Monday – Friday 9:00am to 1:00pm
Saturday 9:00am to 1:00pm
Saturday* 9:00am to 4:00pm
Sunday Closed
Closed on Sundays and all major holidays:
New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day,Thanksgiving Day, & Christmas Day
* August and September




Get in free to any National Park today!

Join the fun on August 25th!


Photo courtesy of Paul Downey

It’s national parks birthday, visit a national park on August 25, 2014 for FREE!  The National Park Service turns 98 years old. They are waiving entrance fees and inviting everyone to join in the festivities taking place coast-to-coast.

The big day, August 25, is a free-entrance day, so head to any of the country’s401 national parks and take in the scenery, learn a little history, or simply enjoy the great outdoors.

Parks across the country are offering loads of fun activities. Take the kids on a caving adventure, bike ride, kayak tour, hike, or island safari. Catch a campfire talk, make a painting, or witness a living history demonstration. Search the events calendar to find out what’s happening at a park near you! You can help the kids earn a free Junior Ranger badge at almost any park—just ask at the visitor center.

Share your adventure when you come back! Share your photos or videos with our friends at the National Park Foundation at


Your invited to a “Star Party” tonight

That’s right, OC parks invites you to observe the night sky by joining in with amateur astronomers to take a guided tour of the summer constellations.

A meteor streaks across the sky against

(credit: Jorge Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images)

Look through telescopes to see Mars, Saturn, nebulas, galaxies, star clusters and double stars. Learn myths and facts about the cosmos.

  • The event is FREE, parking is $5.00
  • August 23, 2014 from 8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
  • Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park, 33401 Ortega Hwy.( P. O. Box 395), San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675/(949) 923-2210 or (949) 923-2207
  • The event is subject to clear skies, Call the Park at 949-923-2210 for weather/sky updates or additional information on this event

Farmers Market at Irvine Regional Park

For some fresh, locally grown, organic produce head over to Irvine Regional Park’s Farmers Market on Tuesday’s from 9 am – 1 pm.


 Vendors feature locally grown organic vegetables and fruits, which include some of the sweetest Pluots I’ve ever tasted. They also sell freshly baked artisan bread, specialty nuts, Mediterranean and Hispanic food (with some really delicious looking tamale options) eggs and flowers. It is operated by the Orange County Farm Bureau.  Every farmer who sells at the certified market is inspected by the county agricultural commissioner to make sure they actually grow the commodity being sold.

The Irvine Regional Park farmers market provides enough choice without being too big. Parking is right next to the market and a lovely little playground sits right behind it. Entrance to Irvine Regional Park is FREE if you let them know your attending the Farmers Market.


Irvine Regional Park also includes the Irvine Park Railroad train ride, pony rides, the OC Zoo, ponds, picnic tables, playgrounds and walking paths.

  • Location: Irvine Regional Park
  • Address: 1 Irvine Park Rd, Orange, CA 92862
  • Times: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Admission: Parking at Irvine Regional Park costs $3 on weekdays, but will be free Tuesday mornings for those who tell the entry booth attendant they are going to the market.
  • Venue: Irvine Regional Park

  Here ‘s a complete list of all the farmers markets in Orange County sponsored by Orange County Farmers Bureau


Irvine Regional Park –1 Irvine Park Road, Orange, CA 9AM – 1 PM (rain or shine)


Tustin – Corner of El Camino Real and 3rd Street, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. (rain or shine)


 Costa Mesa –Orange County Fairgrounds, 88 Fair Drive, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. (rain or shine)

Westminster- Westminster Mall parking lot, Bolsa Ave & Goldenwest St., 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. (rain or shine)


Laguna Hills –Laguna Hills Mall Parking Lot, the 5 Freeway and El Toro Road, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. (rain or shine)

Huntington Beach –Pier Plaza, Main Street & Pacific Coast Highway (next to the pier), 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. (rain or shine)


Laguna Beach –Lumberyard Parking Lot next to the City Hall, 8 a.m. – Noon (rain or shine)

Irvine –University Center on the corner of Bridge and Campus (across from UCI), 8 a.m. – Noon (rain or shine)

Laguna Niguel- Plaza De La Paz Shopping Center on the Corner of La Paz and Pacific Park, 8 a.m. – Noon (rain or shine)


Get in a Summer Campfire before Summer Ends

Public domain image, royalty free stock photo from

Get your S’mores ready, it’s not to late to take in a Summer night around a campfire. Here’s are two options for FREE Ranger Led campfires tonight.


Learn about Bats

Ranger Led Campfire Program
OC Parks – O’neill Regional Park

Join us Saturday Night at the amphitheater for this special program; Bats of Orange County, presented by Ranger Brad Barker, set to the glow of fire light. This event is open to the public. No access for day use after sunset.

  • Ages: All Ages Welcome
  • Fee: Free
  • 7:00 pm. – 8:30 pm.



Learn about Wildreness Safety and play some games

Campfire Program
OC Parks – Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park

Every Saturday night, join us for a campfire program that may include a slide presentation, wilderness safety, games and activities for children, animal adaptations, skins and skulls, a live animal demonstration and a chance to visit the Nature Center. Topics may vary weekly.

  • Cost: Free
  • Parking: $5 per vehicle
  • All ages welcome
  • 8:00 pm. – 9:00 pm.





Junior Ranger Program at Crystal Cove State Park


Join a Park Ranger for a fun introduction to the ecology of Crystal Cove State Park in weekly Junior Ranger programs. This children’s nature program is a favorite in State Parks and allows visitors ages 7-12 to earn a badge. (Girl Scouts are all about badges).

Meet at the Berns Amphitheater (PCH inland at stoplight School-State Park, follow signs towards the campground). Come for the program, stay for the day. $15 day-use parking fee.


Activity Details

Upcoming Dates: Thursday, August 14, 2014, Tuesday August 19, 2014 and Thursday August 21, 2014
Time: 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Location: Crystal Cove State Park – Berns Amphitheater
Minimum Age: 7
Parking: $15.00


How to Find the Park

The park is located off Pacific Coast Highway between Corona del Mar and Laguna Beach, California with easy access from I-5, 405 and 73. Crystal Cove State Park is located just north of Laguna Beach, California and just south of Corona Del Mar, California. Pacific Coast Highway, Route 1, passes directly by the Park. There is parking both on the ocean side of PCH at Reef Point and Pelican Point as well as inland parking at El Moro Day Use Parking Area by the Ranger Station which can be reached by going inland at School/State Park traffic signal, located next to El Morro School.. A few miles north from Reef Point is the Los Trancos parking area with trolley access to the Historic District.




Redwood Grove Hike at Carbon Canyon Regional Park

Going to see the Redwoods is one of things on my bucket list but until then there’s an alternative right here in Orange County.

Carbon Canyon Regional Park has a ten-acre grove of Coastal Redwood trees. This grove of redwoods were planted in 1975 with many of the trees standing over 100 feet tall. Not bad being that this is far from their normal growing conditions in Northern California.


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In addition to their most popular hike (to see the Orange County Redwoods) Carbon Canyon Regional Park has an interpretive center, picnic areas, restrooms, fishing, playgrounds, walking and hiking trails.

Carbon Canyon Regional Park is adjacent to Chino Hills State Park, which has 14,000 acres of protected park land (which just happens to have some great mountain biking).

There is a smaller grove of Redwoods in Orange County which is located at UC Irvine. This grove is a result of a former professor’s experiment in tree cloning.

To tour the Redwoods at Carbon Canyon  you can join OC Parks trained staff for an easy 1.1 mile hike to the redwoods. Use your 5 senses to engage with nature as you stroll to the Redwoods. You will also have an opportunity to learn about native plants along the way.

The hike begins each Saturday and Sunday morning at 8:30 a.m. from the park’s Nature Center. It runs 8:30am – 10:00am. Don’t forget to visit the Nature Center. Remember to bring water, sunscreen, hat and hiking shoes. All ages (small children may have to be carried). Meet at Nature Center located at east end of park. Cost: Free. Reservations preferred: call (714) 973-3160 or email Parking: $5 per vehicle.

Redwood Grove Hike

Carbon Canyon Regional Park

4442 Carbon Canyon Rd.

Brea CA 92823