Irvine Regional Park is located in Orange, but you’ll pass through Tustin, Irvine, and Orange as you climb Jamboree to reach this massive regional park. I even filed it under all three cities since it’s close to them all and worth a little extra drive. You can get in free with your OC Parks pass or pay $3 at the gate on weekdays ($5 on weekends). Check the county OCParks.com site for information on the park. You’ll find the scoop on the FOUR playgrounds on this site.
Location: Follow Jamboree east to where it dead ends. MAP to Irvine Regional Park in Orange
- This would my pick for a fall/winter/spring birthday party – it has bathrooms and reservable picnic areas with grills – and it’s usually not too busy. (The private Irvine Park Railroad also offers birthday party packages).
- FOUR playgrounds within one park! My favorite play area is visible from the entrance (park in P2 lot). Love the large boulders accenting play area. 4 big kid and 2 baby swings. Zip track and lots of slides.
- Learn to ride bikes near play area at P3 parking lot. Start on the grassy hill and continue in the parking lot. This play area has swings, too. Zip tracks and monkey bars.
- Smallest play area near Group Picnic Area #1 and parking lot P21. This one is closest to the zoo and lake. But no swings here – just fun little ride-on animals.
- The last play area is tucked in a wooded area between parking lot P12 and P17. You’ll have to walk in from either lot. 2 baby swings and 4 big kid swings.
- A final note: the lakes and waterfalls provide unique opportunities for family photos.
- As a reader reminded me, parking can be hard to come by when there are special events! So bring your patience and try to get there early.
- Get a map at the entrance to locate the play areas and reference the numbered parking lots
- Irvine Park Railroad ($5 – more for special events), pony rides ($5), and horse trail rides (Country Trails & Riding School – $45-$90) are privately-owned enterprises charging their own fees
- OC Zoo charges $2 (kids under 2 free) – no bathroom within the zoo – need to use the one in the parking lot P19. Try the Scavenger Hunt brochure available at the ticket booth for school-age readers – finish it and get a prize.
- Park opens at 6 a.m. and closes at 6 p.m. (Fall and Winter Hours) and 9 p.m. (Spring and Summer Hours).
- Multiple lots ($3-$5 per entry into park)
- Bark play surface at most playgrounds, although some have switch to recycled rubber
- Drinking fountains at each play area
- Bathrooms at each playground and near picnic areas
- Plenty of shade with large trees surrounding the playgrounds
- Easy to supervise kids at each playground with tons of room to roam
- King of all picnic parks! Grills and picnic tables everywhere for large or small groups.
- Trash cans nearer to parking lots than play areas.
- Great for wildlife viewing – look for peacocks roaming the park.
- Official OCParks.com page for Irvine Park