Reata Park in San Juan Capistrano

reata park and event center

Reata Park in San Juan Capistrano features native gardens and an arboretum with mighty oaks and shady sycamores. It's nice to have some protected open space in the middle of all the development around Ortega Highway and Antonio Parkway. Directions to Reata Park and Event Center: Take Ortega Highway east from Interstate 405. Reata Park will be on your right just before … [Read more...]

Adventure Play Park at Sendero Field in Rancho Mission Viejo

sendero field adventure play park

Adventure Play Park at Sendero Field in Rancho Mission Viejo is right outside San Juan Capistrano off Ortega Highway. It pains me to see this intersection of Ortega Highway and Antonio Parkway/La Pata change so much from the wild space it used to be. For me, it was a gateway to Caspers Wilderness Park and a place for getting away from it all. The grading and housing now goes on … [Read more...]

Preserve a Local Treasure

Mission SJC

Membership to the Mission San Juan Capistrano Preservation Society is a MUST for Orange County families. Why? I see something different and learn something new on every visit to the Mission. They have special programs for kids. It's local history! It's such a deal - for a family of 4 we get in for $55/year this year. Plus, your dollars go towards preserving this … [Read more...]

Camp Quick, Camp Local


Mr. Play Parks spends long hours at his office and yearns to get outdoors on the weekends. Our day trips aren't really enough for a guy who spent a childhood camping for family vacations.  I'm always up for an adventure, so we decided to test out Caspers Wilderness Park campground for camping local.  If you are new to camping or haven't done it in a looonnnngggg time, I have … [Read more...]

Top 3 Orange County Train Trips for Locals


Thanks to reader, Aimee, who requested a new list from me: "I'd love a list of fun things to do for 3-5 year olds within walking distance of train stations (that are reasonably priced, of course). Destinations could be LA, OC or San Diego."  So for Orange County train trips, I will be looking at: 3-5 year old age range (let's call them preschoolers) walking distance … [Read more...]