Los Rios Park in San Juan Capistrano: Saddle Up for Fun

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Los Rios Park in San Juan Capistrano is a playground addition to the very historic Los Rios neighborhood. If you’ve ever taken the train to the San Juan Capistrano Amtrak Station, you’ll be able to find this playground. It sits directly behind Zoomars Petting Zoo. The moms at Just Spotted did a great write-up of their trip to Zoomars back before the playground opened. Jennifer at Tiny Oranges even took the train and had a blast.

Location: Exit Interstate 5 at Ortega Highway. Head towards the San Juan Capistrano Mission and turn left onto Del Obispo. After you cross Camino Capistrano and the railroad tracks, make an immediate right onto Paseo Adelanto. You’ll see the parking lot come up on your right past Zoomars. It’s marked by a large boulder with “Los Rios Park” written on it. MAP to Los Rios Park in San Juan Capistrano
Highlights:
  • The location is incredibly rich in history. The Los Rios District is the “oldest neighborhood in California” according to this website featuring info about the homes and historic buildings.  If you enter the park from the train station, you’ll see lovely black and white historic photographs set into the garden wall.
  • The playground structure is dark wood with iron accents. You’ll really feel like you’re in the Old West. My kids immediately starting pretending they were at the ranch and trading post.
  • I absolutely love the REAL children’s saddles atop the telephone pole horses. I have my fingers crossed that no one decides to vandalize them.  It’s such a clever and authentic addition.
  • We also loved “The Grand Canyon” – our nickname for huge climbing boulders.
  • The picnic area will soon be covered with a lush trellis of grape vines to shade the picnic tables.  Many of the tables were built to be accessible.
  • Kids will get a thrill hearing the train rumbling and whistling through the depot.
  • Pair your trip with Ruby’s and Zoomar’s to make a day out of it.
Be Aware:
  • The water feature – a pump with a ramp – runs in the summer. (No guarantees, though. Water features have a way of working for a while, then being turned off. Or only running during certain hours . . .)
Checklist:

 

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  • Parking in a small dedicated lot.
  • Bark play surface
  • Very nice, new restrooms
  • Two sets of drinking fountains – one near the restrooms and one closer to the playground
  • Not a lot of shade now – but the little sycamores will grow into great shade trees
  • Lots of picnic tables nearby the playground and closer to Paseo Adelanto
  • Easy to see the kids from all viewpoints and plenty of benches to rest

 

 

Comments

  1. Nicola Cossio says

    Me and my lovely group of Mummy friends have organised a play date for this Friday based on ideas from your website – we plan to check out this park after we have arrived on the train from Irvine – so we are not only trying a park you have suggested, but we’re going the whole hog and doing a train ride too! My son, Samson, is 20 months old and is currently obsessed with trains, so Friday is going to feel like all his birthdays came at once!! Thanks again for being SO helpful to a none local (from England) person – your website is my bible!

  2. Johanna says

    Love this park! I wanted to add an update to this review, the water pump feature is now operational. My son and a bunch of other kids were having a blast with it today. A big plus–since it is a pump (not just a faucet) they get a good workout from it!

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