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ART, ARCHITECTURE AND WHERE TO PLAY IN ORANGE COUNTY CALIFORNIA

The Ultimate Guide to Orange County’s Culture, Design and Leisure-hub perfect for Middle Eastern families




Orange County California is home to ‘relaxed luxury’ in the United States with its luxury retail outlets, world-famous theme parks, multi-awarded five-star hotels and resorts and highly acclaimed gourmet experiences. Blessed with a stunning coastline and beautiful weather all year-long, people from around the world flock to the OC throughout the year wherein all members of the families can enjoy an array of activities from theme parks, art galleries and museums, fairs and exhibitions, theatre shows and a lot more.
Here are the top ten (10) family-friendly activities in Orange County California to inspire you for your next holiday vacation:
10. ANGEL STADIUM OF ANAHEIM
Baseball greats like Rod Carew and Reggie Jackson once trod this field and wowed fans with their heroics, paving the way for the modern generation of Angels. Until 1995, the NFL Rams shared the stadium but after they moved to St. Louis, the Angels became the sole resident. A massive renovation project gave the entire structure a much-needed face lift, complete with terraced bullpens, family and kid’s zone and multiple restaurants. The Angels celebrate summer with free Friday night concerts in the Music Garden before the games. The stadium has convenient access to the freeway.
9. CRYSTAL CATHEDRAL AT GARDEN GROVE
Designed in the shape of a four-pointed star, Crystal Cathedral is a sight to behold. The impressive structure is comprised of more than 10,000 panes of glass, and coincidentally, the church boasts more than 10,000 members. The congregation enjoys visits by scores of tourists each Sunday and by guest speakers ranging from professional athletes to actors like Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Crystal Cathedral is the backdrop for Rev. Robert Schuller’s popular “Hour of Power” weekly television broadcast. Self-guided tours of the cathedral are available during the week.
8. OCEAN INSTITUTE AT DANA POINT
The Ocean Institute, located in the Dana Point Harbor, is open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays. Visitors can view hundreds of marine animals in aquariums and touch tanks, witness animal feedings and enjoy ocean-themed exhibits. The Pilgrim tall ship is open for tours most Sundays and the research vessel R/V Sea Explorer offers a variety of educational and sightseeing cruises during the year including gray and blue whale watching cruises. If you like to hike, there is a path that meanders along the beach at the base of the bluff and you’ll often see starfish, sea anemones and sea urchins hiding among the rocks.
7. PAGEANT OF THE MASTERS
Pageant of the Masters is part of the Festival of Arts summer program in Laguna Beach which began in the 1930s. Nightly 90-minute shows in an outdoor amphitheater recreate some of the world’s most famous paintings. Art comes to life as real people pose in “living paintings”. Elaborate costuming, set design, technical components, music and narration bring the art to life and visitors marvel at the life-like approximations. In fact, tickets typically sell out well in advance of the show’s premiere. Both classic and contemporary works serve as inspiration, and every show traditionally ends with da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.”
6. CATALINA ISLAND
If you’re literally trying to get away from things, make Catalina your haven. The island lies just 22 miles from shore and is accessible via an hour-long boat ride. Its charming community is relaxed and carefree, and you’ll take the vibe to heart as you frolic in the ocean, play a round of golf, or simply browse local shops and boutiques. In fact, there’s plenty to do, no matter your interest or budget. Stay for a day, or make a weekend of it. With balmy weather and loads of leisure time ahead, there’s nothing quite as appealing!
5. CRYSTAL COVE STATE PARK AT LAGUNA BEACH
Outdoor enthusiasts of all inclinations clamor to this beautiful park, which offers not only a wide variety of landscapes for physical activity but a selection of lookout points for sightseeing as well. Several thousand acres of terrain accommodate visitors on foot, horseback, and bikes, and 3½ miles of coastline proves eminently pleasurable to folks who want to swim, scuba dive, surf, and look for marine life in the tide pools. There are cottages for rent along the beach but competition is fierce and only a little less so for sunset reservations at The Beachcomber Cafe located on the sand. For a casual meal, Ruby’s Shake Shack is at the top of the bluff at the end of a long flight of stairs.
4. KNOTT’S BERRY FARM AT BUENA PARK
Billed as America’s first theme park, this complex features 160 acres of thrill rides, live entertainment, historic exhibits and dining all divided into five themed areas. Among them are Ghost Town – an 1880s Western boom town with cowboys, gun fights, stagecoaches and gold panning – and Boardwalk, a coastal amusement park of the 1920s. With small children, head to Camp Snoopy where over 30 Peanuts themed rides entertain young ones and their parents. Over a dozen stages throughout the park showcase live entertainment with major performers at the 2100-seat Charles M. Schulz Theatre and Wild West stunt shows in Wagon Camp. The Halloween Haunt at Knott’s Berry Farm is legendary for its lines and fear factor; it’s not recommended for small children or those that scare easily.
3. MISSION SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO AT SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO
One of California’s oldest Spanish missions, San Juan Capistrano dates from 1776 and still features a variety of adobe foundations and a few working buildings. Although the once-majestic Great Stone Church is no longer intact, the intimate Serra Chapel with its baroque altar is still in use. The mission’s legendary swallows, said to arrive every year on St. Joseph’s Day, add to the mission’s charm. The site’s museum recollects the history of the mission, and a variety of art and cultural activities are hosted each season including camps for kids, a summer concert series and Battle of the Mariachis.
2. DISNEY CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE® PARK AT ANAHEIM
Disney California Adventure®Park” v:shapes=”Picture_x0020_16″ >Disney California Adventure Park emerged in 2012 with a new look after five years of planning and construction. A new entrance, Buena Vista Street, and the fabulously popular 12-acre Cars Land were unveiled along with a variety of new restaurants including Carthay Circle, an upscale, fresh ingredient-focused dining option with the best kids menu in the parks. Radiator Springs Racers in Cars Land is the hottest ride and visitors should queue up early in the day to avoid the longest lines. Consistent anchors in the park are Paradise Pier, a celebration of the state’s old oceanfront amusement parks which has a sleeper attraction called Toy Story Mania! and the kid-favorite “A Bug’s Land” where wee ones hang out and get wet if you’re not careful.
1. DISNEYLAND® RESORT
® Resort” v:shapes=”Picture_x0020_17″ >It’s the happiest place on earth! This world-renowned theme park features breathtaking rides, enticing games, and thrilling shows. In fact, with eight individually themed “lands,” it offers plenty of fun for the entire family. Explore the futuristic adventure of Tomorrowland, Frontierland’s outdoorsy Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island, or the zany shenanigans at Mickey’s Toontown. Rides, shows, shops, and restaurants are located in each section of the park. Although you could easily spend several days without doing the same thing twice, don’t miss Disneyland Park – even if you’ve only got one day!

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