Mickey, Snoopy, thrill rides, berry pies, pirates, knights on horseback – Anaheim is absolutely the place to head for family fun. It’s easy to get to, the accommodations suite every budget and group and it is always sunny. In fact, Anaheim is a family vacation dream come true.
But it’s not all about the kids. Anaheim has plenty of fun geared toward parents, and non-parents. Check it out:
For sports fans
rom April through October, the 45,050-seat Angel Stadium of Anaheim is home to Major League Baseball’s Angels. Facing off at the 19,200-seat Honda Center, the Anaheim Ducks of the National Hockey League take flight from October through April. The NBA Development League expanded to Anaheim for the 2006-2007 season with the Anaheim Arsenal based at the Arena at the AnaheimConvention Center. The newest player on the sports scene is the Anaheim Bolts of the Professional Arena Soccer League. The USA Men’s National Volleyball Team is based at the world-class American Sports Centers, the largest indoor tournament and practice court facility in the United States.
Tiger, yes Tiger Woods, perfected his swing while growing up in Orange County. Today, the area boasts more than 40 championship courses and is recognized as “California’s Golf Coast.” Visitors are welcome to putt for par at one of the serene coastal links or taking a swing in the rolling foothills of inland OC.
The closest course to The Anaheim Resort™, Anaheim Dad Miller Golf Course is also home to the new Tiger Woods Learning Center. Orange County’s only Jack Nicklaus-designed course, Aliso Viejo Golf Club features rolling fairways with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. Dana Point’s Monarch Beach Golf Links, is an oceanfront course with sweeping views of the South Orange County coastline. Recognized by Golf Digest as one of the best “Places to Play” with a four-star rating, Tustin Ranch Golf Club offers a classic, Ted Robinson-designed course and a top-notch PGA golf school. Black Gold Golf Club is a beautiful course in the hills of inland OC defined by its natural surroundings.
Want to get in on the competition yourself? Take on the thrill of real high-flying, air combat adventure with A-1 Biplane, Air Combat & Warbird Adventures or Air Combat USA. Slightly less daring, groups can compete at Flightdeck Air Combat Center, an authentic jet fighter cockpit simulator. Speed racers head to K1 Speed, the largest indoor kart racing facility on the West Coast, for high-speed, wheel-to-wheel, competition. Orange County also hosts the OC Marathon in Irvine in January; the Pacific Shoreline Marathon in Huntington Beach in February; and the Disneyland Half marathon in Anaheim in September.
After the game, soothe those muscles at one of the area’s many luxurious spas. In hotels or standing alone, they all offer a diverse menu of services, including signature treatments unique to OC, like the California Dream’n Facial or yoga on the beach.
Culture vultures feast
Celebrated for its striking architecture and flawless acoustics, the Segerstrom Center for the Artspresents the world’s greatest ballet companies, national tours of leading Broadway shows, and concerts by chamber ensembles, soloists, classical vocalists, jazz musicians and cabaret artists.
Fans of the theatre can choose from several acclaimed theatrical productions and world-class theatres. Designed by famous architect Philip Johnson, the Crystal Cathedral features more than 10,000 panes of glass and presents the annual Glory of Christmas and Glory of Easter pageants, while South Coast Repertory is renowned for its commitment to supporting and producing both established theatrical productions and works by up-and-coming American playwrights.
Visual arts, and artists find a home at art districts throughout the area. Costa Mesa is filled with public art displays and emerging artists and art-lovers converge in Santa Ana’s colourful Artists Village, featuring museums, historic neighbourhoods, sidewalk cafés, poetry readings and an energizing, creative scene. Laguna Beach is a well-established artists’ colony dating back to the early 1900s. The city also hosts several annual art festivals during July and August, including Festival of Arts; Pageant of the Masters, where models are transformed into life-size works of art; and the Sawdust Art Festival. Visual arts facilities include Bowers Museum and The MUZEO, both hosting an ever-changing program of exhibitions, events and activities.
You can learn about the past at the Mission San Juan Capistrano, where early California history comes to life at one of the state’s original 21 missions; and the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace, a high-tech venue offering more than 40 years of contemporary history.
10 for free
Five free and almost-free things to do in Anaheim/OC:
- IrvineMuseum: dedicated to California Impressionism and Plein-Air paintings
- FullertonArboretum: landscaped with more than 4,000 unique plant species
- AngelStadium Tour: goes behind the scenes to normally restricted areas
- YorbaRegional Park: paddle-boat, cycle or ride a horse
- GreatPark Balloon Rides: get an eagle-eye view of Orange County
- BalboaIsland Ferry: quick scenic trip across Newport Harbor
- Oak Canyon Nature Center: one of the region’s last remaining areas of oak woodland and coastal sage scrub
- Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve: protected coastal wetland in Huntington Beach
- Farmers'Markets: many offer handcrafted art, live music and entertainment in addition to fresh local produce
- NewportSportsMuseum and Newport Harbour Nautical Museum/Exporocean
- WestJet starts non-stop service to Orange Country from Vancouver May 2 and Calgary June 13.
- Battle of the Dancefeatures Latin, Flamenco, Celtic, Bollywood and pop dance styles in a dinner theatre setting.
- Disney openings: Star Tours – The Adventures Continue with new droids, Starspeeders and destinations in 3-D; The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, Disney’s first-ever Little Mermaid attraction; Mickey’s Soundsational Parade.
- Legolandopenings: popular Fun Town Fire Academy is relaunched; Splash Zoo is a new area for toddlers; an all-new STAR WARS™ Miniland area.
- Knott’s Berry Farm Theme Park opens WindSeeker, the latest addition to its thrill ride collection.
- SeaWorld San Diego openings: Blue Horizons features birds, dolphins, pilot whales and aerialists.
For more information, visit AnaheimOC.org