Not a football fan? Or, sadly, are you a football fan whose team didn’t make it to the playoffs this year? Although most of the country seems to put the weekend on hold for the epic Super Bowl battle of the grid-iron, you don’t have to. There still plenty of fun opportunities to explore in Orange County that have nothing to do with the big game!
Knott’s Berry Farm
8039 Beach Blvd
Buena Park, CA 90620
Similar to Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm park attendance takes a slight drop on Super Bowl Sunday, giving local residents a small advantage at exploring the park’s thrilling rides without as long of a wait. Unlimited passes to Knotts are now on sale for the 2015 season, and at just 6 payments of $14, they are a real bargain in the theme park world. For an added value, consider upgrading to their all-season dining plan that gets you free food every time you visit the park! Don’t miss Voyage to the Iron Reef, opening this spring.
Shopping at Irvine Spectrum
71 Spectrum Center Drive
Irvine, CA 92618
The epitome of anti-Super Bowl activities, OC residents can hit the shopping scene at Irvine Spectrum, or one of the area’s other excellent shopping centers and malls, for a day spent enjoying some retail therapy. The Spectrum’s outdoor ice skating rink, Spectrum on Ice, is still operational through Valentine’s Weekend making it a perfect option for couples and families not interested in the sports scene. Brunch at the newly opened Del Frisco’s Grille for an upscale dining option, and consider taking in a mid-day movie during the game.
Whale Watching Tour
Dana Wharf Whale Watching
Dana Point, CA 92629
February in Orange County is nearly the peak of whale watching season, making Super Bowl Sunday one of the most ideal weekends to explore the majesty and grandeur of these magnificent creatures. The California Gray Whale, which migrates from Alaska to Baja and back each year use the natural geography of Orange County’s coastline as a marker, ensuring that plenty of whales find themselves in the waters just outside Dana Point. Reservations are highly recommended. Looking to make your first catch? Fishing tours are also a great way to spend Super Bowl Sunday!
Titanic the Artifact Exhibition
Premier Exhibition Center
7711 Beach Boulevard
Buena Park, CA 90620
Over 250 authentic artifacts from the Titanic wreck site, found 2 1/2 miles below the surface of the ocean are on hand at The Titanic Artifact Exhibition, located in Buena Park. With extensive room recreations, actors dressed in period clothing, and an impressive storyline, you’ll be immersed in a recreation of the ill-fated history of the Titanic, long before the history of the Super Bowl was dreamed up. Over 100 years past its sinking, the story and sinking of this ship, coupled with the amazing story of many of its survivors, continues to fascinate visitors today; crowds will likely be low due to the big game drawing visitors away.
Flightdeck Flight Simulation
1650 S. Sinclair St.
Anaheim, CA 92806
The thrill of the big game is nothing compared to the thrill of flying a fighter jet. At Flightdeck, you can hop aboard eight different fighter jet simulators and a Boeing 737-800 simulator as well. Your friends can watch you in your all-star performance in the Officers Club on 10 LCD screens. From air-to-air combat at 600 knots to landings, takeoffs, and even air to ground missiles, you can experience it all at Flightdeck; you’ll play the part in full force by attending mission briefings and wearing flight suits.
1 Irvine Park Road
Orange, CA 92869
Forget about the animal themed teams of the NFL and visit the real animals at the OC Zoo on Super Bowl Sunday. Open from 10am – 3:30pm on most days and on the weekends until 4:30pm, you can miss all the prime-time grid iron action while at the beautiful zoo located inside Irvine Regional Park. Animals on exhibit include black bears (not from Chicago), mountain lions (not from Detroit), bald eagle (not from Philadelphia), and plenty more non-football related animals. Kids will love petting the barnyard animals including domestic goats, jacob sheep, pot-bellied pigs, doves and pheasants. The new audio tour, available by phone, helps give visitors an inside look at the daily happenings of the zoo and its animals.
Hit the Beach
Always a good option in Orange County, but even better on a less-crowded weekend, hit the beach with your crew to get away from the Super Bowl craze, although popular beaches with a variety of bars and restaurants, such as Huntington Beach, are likely to be busy with parking difficult to find. Instead, travel to the less touristy spots without a dining scene to find ample parking and plenty of waves, sunshine, and sunset watching opportunities. Rest assured, with a book in your hand or a board under your body, you won’t be thinking about #Deflategate and all its championship implications.