Orange County Great Park

Orange County, (Orange County, California – of course), has a park I've never told you much about.  If you live in Southern California, or have an opportunity to visit, you will probably want to check it out.

It's called the Orange County Great Park and it's located in the city of Irvine.  It's relatively new and it isn't quite sure what to do with itself yet.  (The El Toro Marine Corps Air Station used to be at the park's location.)

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People playing chess at the Orange County Great Park.

There are a few tables at the park where you can play chess.  Personally, I don't think I'd ever think to go to a park if I had a sudden urge to play a board game but maybe some people do?  It isn't that I don't like chess, it just isn't a game I think of as "park recreation."  In any case, the chess boards (warped, no less) look very appealing sitting out on the tables.

(There are outdoor chess tables at Laguna Main Beach also.  Outdoor chess tables might be a new trend in Southern California?)

The Great Park has a food court area which is very convenient if you need a beer some nourishment.  

Once in awhile there are concerts or other events held at the park.

Last weekend, I also showed you a photo of the beautiful carousel at the Great Park, making the park kid and family friendly.

A few months ago the Great Park also began hosting a Farmer's Market on Sundays.  I haven't made it to the farmer's market yet, but I plan to visit soon.

The park is definitely most famous for being home to "The Big Orange Balloon" as we (OC natives) are prone to call it.

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Orange County's "Big Orange Balloon."

In the above photo, my friends are pretending to hold the Great Park's balloon.  In reality, they're nowhere even close to it.  

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A close-up photo of the Orange County Great Park hot air balloon.

It's a hot air balloon capable of holding up to 30 people.  It's also a free "ride" at the park.  When you go up in the balloon, it remains tethered to the ground.  (It can go up as high as 400 feet.)

The balloon is lit up at night and can be seen floating in the sky from miles away.  Around Halloween the balloon is decorated as a giant jack o'lantern.

By the way, there's a sign by the balloon stating you aren't allowed to jump from it.  I find the sign very amusing.  (When you ride the balloon, you're in a cage so you can't jump out and fall the 400 feet even if you are really, really, drunk!)

The park is a little random right now – evidence of its growing pains.

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My friend, Nike, and I riding the giant bike (actually a bike rack that goes absolutely nowhere) at the Orange County Great Park.

I think the park is going to grow into something really good, given a little time.

It's already off to such a good start.

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The sunsets at the Orange County Great Park are spectacular.

© Twenty Four At Heart 

9 Responses to “Orange County Great Park”

  1. Di

    I just love it when someone’s imagination offers us big bicycles like that! Awesome park!

  2. value homes

    I have visited the orange county,s zoo located inside beautiful Irvine Park in the city of Orange.We had a great time there…!!!!

  3. Linda P

    What a great way to recycle an old Marine Base! P.S. How did you get up on that bike? LOL! Love the picture.

  4. Amanda

    I’m with Linda. How DID you get on that thing? Love the sunset shot at the end and also the picture of the chess game!

  5. WebSavvyMom

    –>I love the chess game picture and the sunset one as well.
    Have you heard anything about the American Ninja Warrior competition? We’ve been watching it on demand but I think it’s shot in Venice Beach. The shown has grown in popularity that NBC has picked it up now. It’s all based on the Japanese version of Ninja Warrior. (Kind of fun to watch to be honest.)
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/22/arts/television/nbc-gives-american-ninja-warrior-prime-time-spot.html

  6. gina

    i live in Irvine and have never been to this park!! i think i will go on Sunday to check out the farmers market 🙂 Thanks

  7. Deidre

    Does the park have places for kids to ride their skateboards and stuff? I think that really helps getting people to use the park.

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