Although children need vitamins and nutrients to develop healthy lifestyles, they need the fantasy and conversation they miss when school is out. Orange County specializes in children, offering some of the best locations for summer play dates. Its top spots promise everything from playgrounds to sun-soaked beaches.
Atlantis Play Center
13630 Atlantis Way
Garden Grove, CA 92844
Price: $1 for persons aged 3 years and older/free children 2 and younger
Atlantis has taken on the form of a playground. It now features concrete animals, slides and swings for toddlers to enjoy. Play Center visitors are encouraged to picnic under trees and at designated locations in the park. With a policy that does not allow children in the center without adults and no adults without children, Atlantis is a treat for everyone. Pack a picnic and make a day of this exciting playdate option.
San Clemente State Beach
225 Avenida Califia
San Clemente, CA 92672
Click here for day use fees
Children are invited to run wild in the playground at San Clemente while parents enjoy the scenery or picnic on the sidelines. With swings, slides and a trail fit for the whole family, there is always something to do at the beach. San Clemente has been recognized as one of the most popular beaches in Orange County since 1987. Reserve a campsite for the day so the kids have a shady spot to nap for a low-maintenance playdate everyone will love.
Pretend City Children’s Museum
Irvine, CA 92618
Click here for tickets
Creativity is applauded at Pretend City Children’s Museum. Specially designed for kids younger than 10 years old, Pretend City offers indoor play areas that allow parents to interact with children on play dates. In fact, the museum places emphasis on parental interaction with its Play Days program that takes place every second Friday of the month. Moms and dads choosing to participate in the program must bring their two-for-one pass printable from the company website. All children participating in Play Days receive a prize.
13806 La Mirada Blvd.
La Mirada, CA 90638
Price: $17.95 general admission/$12.95 juniors
The ultimate water park, perfect for hot summer days, Buccaneer Bay offers activities for the whole family to enjoy. From water slides to fountains, children of all ages will have a blast while being soaked to the core. Toddlers may romp in the fountains that pour out just enough water for them to enjoy. Buccaneer Bay offers free parking and a designated area for picnics outside of the facility. Outside food is not allowed on park premises.
24481 Yosemite Road
Laguna Nigel, CA 92677
Simple has a name, and it’s Yosemite Park. Offering a playground with slides, swings and monkey bars, Yosemite is the perfect place for parents looking to let their child enjoy nature while playing. It features 5.4 acres of pine trees and green grass for a breath of fresh air right in Laguna Nigel. The park also has a kid-friendly trail and nice, clean picnic areas perfect for any playdate.
Sarie Robertson is a California native living in Los Angeles County. She is a freelance writer and graduate from Loyola Marymount University who has contributed to various media outlets. Her work can be found atExaminer.com.