10 Fun Things to Do at Irvine Regional Park – Orange County Register
On the edge of the suburbs, at the north end of one of Orange County’s most recognized and busiest roads, Jamboree Road, there are nearly 500 acres of open space where hawks and even a the occasional bald eagle soars overhead, wildlife roams the rolling landscape, and century-old oak trees tower over visitors.
But also, a 1/3 scale train rolls along a large loop of tracks, riders smiling and pointing here and there; couples laugh while trying to pedal on a lake; and children show a bear relaxing in the shade and petting barn animals.
California’s first county park, Irvine Regional Park in Orange, turns 125 this year. Over the decades it has been both a place to get away to nature and entertain a family with a day of activities.
RELATED: Irvine Regional Park, OC’s Gem Turns 125 This Year
Didn’t you realize the gem that sits here in the middle of Orange County, part of the OC Parks system? Here is a list of 10 fun things to do at Irvine Regional Park:
Rental of pedal boats: Self-propelled boats are available to get in the water and cruise among the ducks on the park’s small lake. Rent them at the historic boathouse, which was built in 1914.
Fishing: Every day, visitors fish from the shore of the park’s two ponds created in 1913. A paved path surrounds part of the ponds, making them easily accessible. A backdrop of towering trees and the century-old boathouse make for a picturesque scene. A California fishing license is required to cast your line for that big catch.
Horse and pony rides: Adjacent to the train station just inside the park entrance is a corral offering pony rides for children.
The park also has contract operators offering horse rentals, guided horseback tours, and lessons. There is also horse trailer parking, a watering hole, and a three-mile horse trail for riders with views of the park and surrounding hills.
OC Zoo: The zoo, which has a nominal admission of $2, is a short walk from the park’s boathouse. A black bear, jaguar, and mountain lions are among the zoo’s large animals, and there’s an assortment of birds and smaller animals native to the southwestern United States. The zoo regularly hosts educational activities for children, and a fun holiday activity is watching the animals open their treat presents.
Train rides: The Irvine Park Railroad offers a 10-minute ride on a 1/3 scale train that takes visitors past the lake, a historic boathouse, and through stands of sycamores and century-old oaks. It is known for its holiday-themed events.
Wildlife observation: Some of the most easily spotted animals in the park are squirrels, rabbits, and lizards. However, with a little perseverance, patience, and a bit of luck, coyotes, deer, and bobcats can be seen early or late in the day in the vast natural areas of the park.
Bird watching/photography: A wide variety of birds can easily be seen and photographed in all parts of the park. These include: hummingbirds, bluebirds, herons, egrets, acorn woodpeckers and many more.
RELATED: 30 Amazing Images Of Wildlife Photographed At Irvine Regional Park
The loud and colorful red-crowned parrots are often heard perched in the branches of sycamore trees. Various birds of prey are often heard and often seen hovering or perching in trees. They include: red-shouldered hawks, red-tailed hawks, owls, American kestrels, white-tailed kites, and even an occasional bald eagle.
Hiking trails: There are paved and flat hiking trails that allow visitors to wander through the more developed areas of the park, as well as half a dozen hiking trails that branch out into its hills to admire the surrounding mountains and valleys. . They also connect to a network of trails in nearby Santiago Oaks Regional Park and beyond. Stop by the park’s nature center with its historic exhibit hall and nature movies.
Picnic : In the mid to late 1800s, the area was known as the picnic ground and was a gathering place for parties. The tradition continues to this day with picnic tables and grills scattered around the grounds among the historic oaks and sycamores. Weekends are popular for birthdays and other celebrations. There are a number of playgrounds and ball diamonds.
Bike and mountain bike: The walking and walking paths can also be used for biking, as well as the roads that wind through the park. Whether it’s a child learning to ride a tricycle, someone wanting a more leisurely cruise through the woods, or an experienced rider looking for a challenging ride through the hills on the kilometers of trails in the park, there is something for all ages and all levels. riders.
If you are going to:
When: The park is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the spring and summer, closing earlier at 6 p.m. during the winter months.
Where: 1 Irvine Park Road, Orange; find the park entrance on Jamboree Road just north of Chapman Avenue near Santiago Canyon College
Cost: Parking is $3 per vehicle on weekdays and $5 per vehicle on weekends, plus some holidays; rentals and some activities have their own costs; the OC Zoo is $2 per person 3 years and older