If you have young kids in Orange County, the automatic response from your child to the inevitable question of “Where do you guys want to go today?” will nearly always be “Disneyland!”
Unfortunately, that isn’t the most financially viable or convenient location to bring a young one (a one-day Park Hopper Ticket will cost you $150+ per child). Heck, even a ticket to Knott’s Berry Farm is priced at $72.
So what’s a fun-loving parent to do?
The good news is there are plenty of cheaper or even free options throughout the county. If you’re visiting Orange County and want your visit to be filled with memories in addition to Mickey and Minnie, we’ve got ideas for you.
Here are five fun and cheap activities with the kids in Orange County (that aren’t Disneyland).
1) ZOOMARS Petting Zoo
Located in the historic Los Rios Village of San Juan Capistrano, the small family owned zoo has it all. Its petting zoo has everything from sheep and goats to guinea pigs and donkeys. However, there are also a number of other activities available to do as well. Whether it be pony rides, gem mining or miniature train rides, ZOOMARS offers much more than just a few animals to pet.
Admission is $10 for adults and $8 for children while activity prices vary from $3-5.
The zoo is open daily from 9 am – 5 pm.
2) Little Corona Del Mar Beach
A nice alternative to the more popular beaches in Newport Beach, Little Corona Del Mar Beach is a perfect spot for families and young children. On a clear day you can even see Catalina Island which is about 25 miles away.
The beach is always free, and as much as Orange County is filled with pricey options, residents from all backgrounds love our beautiful beaches that don’t ask for more than your time and presence.
Kids can look for tiny sea creatures such as hermit crabs and mussels in the tide pools while parents don’t have to worry about a large wave or undercurrent as the beach is well protected from swells and surf.
Free parking is available along the main street and throughout the neighborhood side streets.
3) Camelot Golfland
You’d be hard pressed to find a young child who didn’t enjoy a round of miniature golf and Camelot Golfland will be no different.
The golf courses have been remodeled and Bumper Boats have been added as well. You can even enjoy a 6 minute go kart ride around a track directly next to the golf courses. Inside, there is an immense selection of arcade games and lazer tag.
A round of golf for kids ages 4-11 costs $7.99.
Camelot Golfland also offers a number of different family deals and packages online.
4) Get Air Surf City
Admit it. There are some days where no matter what you do or say, the kids still have enough energy to run a marathon and then some more.
Get Air Surf City is here to the rescue! The indoor trampoline park provides an opportunity for the kids to not only have some fun but also enjoy a sleepy ride home. Get Air does not charge parents if you are just watching your children and has an area specifically for kids under 46″.
On Monday nights, a family of four gets one hour of jump time for $30.
5) Irvine Adventure Playground
After being closed for the past 7 years, the recently re-opened park includes a tree house, sensory garden, climbing poles, slides, fort zone, art wall and more. Since the playground is fully enclosed, you don’t have to worry about letting the kids run free.
The Irvine Adventure Playground, located at University Community Park, is staffed at all times by at least two Irvine Parks and Recreation employees and is open daily from 10am – 5pm.
It’s recommended that you bring an extra pair of clothes for the kids as the park is designed to allow children to get a bit messy!