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Atlantis Play Center in Garden Grove with the Green Sea Dragon Slide

Atlantis Play Center in Garden Grove with the Green Sea Dragon Slide

Photos of Atlantis Play Center in Garden Grove say more about this park than I could ever relay in words. It’s funky, fun, and HUGE!

The number one comment I hear from visitors is that Atlantis Play Center feels safe because the kids are contained and outsiders can’t come in without paying admission.

In fact, the City website states “Adults are not allowed without kids, and kids are not allowed without adults.”

Shuree recommended this park to me back in 2009. I’ll put Shuree’s insider info in italics: This is one of the best parks ever because of its size, ample shade, and famous sea dragon slide. It’s been there since I was a kid and it only costs $2 to get in. Adults must be accompanied by children, and children must be accompanied by an adult – so you don’t get any creepy people lingering around.

Atlantis Play Center in Garden Grove park setting with a peach colored concrete viking ship and white sail with a yellow star

How to Get to Atlantis Play Center in Garden Grove: The Atlantis Play Center is in Garden Grove Park. It’s an expansive public park with playspace of its own. Follow Atlantis Way past the public park until it dead ends in the parking lot. The back wall of Atlantis Play Center is actually the sound wall for the 22 Garden Grove Freeway – so the 22 provides the most direct access. Exit the 22 at either Brookhurst or Magnolia and take Westminster Avenue to the park. From the 405, I would take Brookhurst, turn left onto Westminster Avenue, and right onto Atlantis. [Address: 13630 Atlantis Way, Garden Grove] MAP to Atlantis Play Center in Garden Grove

famous green danny the sea dragon slide at Atlantis Play Center with the end of the slide that looks like dragon teeth and a head biting into the blue play surface and the tail stretching up into the trees. Large orange sea star in the foreground. All large enough for children to climb.

Recommended by: TinyOranges.com in November 2008
Recommended by: Shuree in August 2009

The Play Center just opened in May/Summer 2021 for weekends after an extended closure in 2020/2021. It’s just now opening on weekdays starting August 24th, 2021. If you visit and something doesn’t match up with this blog post, please let me know and I will make sure to correct it!

small raised wooden stage in a shady park setting with a blue shark for climbing and a blue bench

Highlights:

  • I love how kids can roam and explore this park. There’s something whimsical and unexpected around every corner. The old shade trees make it just a lovely spot to hang out.
  • Ocean theme engages kids immediately. Fun rhyming signs accompany each animal.
  • Live animals roaming around grounds (we saw chicken and bunnies).
  • Funky play equipment – something for every age.
  • Solitude, privacy, safety are all pluses.
  • Great for birthday parties and small playgroups – shell pavilion with King Triton is an amazing space for an Ariel birthday party
  • Clam shell drinking fountains built into rock
  • Splash Pad is included in the entry fee
  • They even have a snack bar in the summer that serves Otter Pops for 25 cents and other inexpensive food items. (Snack bar is closed for 2021, but you can bring in your own food.)
  • It’s run by the city of Garden Grove. It’s clean, nice, and full of nice families with young kids.
  • Baby swings and bench swings
sandy area at Atlantis Play Center in Garden Grove with what looks like 3 bent poles sprouting from the ground with 3 baby swings hanging from the tips of the blue, yellow, and red poles
This part of the park now backs right up to the splash pad which also has playful animal sculptures!

Be Aware:

  • Equipment is dated and paint is chipping in some spots – what it lacks in bright/shiny it makes up for in charm.
  • CASH ONLY – Entrance fee of $2 (sign on window notes that they don’t take bills larger than a $10) – kids 2 and under are free.
  • Also a sign reading “no waxed paper” – guess it makes the slides go faster?
  • Closed on Mondays and limited hours of operation compared to a traditional park. Once I went there and it was closed.
  • Sometimes there are large groups of day camp elementary aged kids during the summer.
  • Sometimes kids come down the slide too fast and bump into the child in front of them. I usually stand near the bottom when its my kids’ turn to come down.
Big blue whale play structure with white staircase to reach the top and a slide that comes out the whale's mouth.

Checklist:

  • Dedicated free parking lot
  • Sand and recycled rubber play surface
  • Restrooms near the entrance (decorated with Mermen and Mermaids murals)
  • Very large trees provide shade and there is shade cover over picnic areas
  • You could easily lose sight of your child here because of its great size – so it’s definitely more active supervision. At least it’s fenced!
  • Very large picnic area
  • Splash Pad in the summer
  • Atlantis Play Center Hours: Closed Mondays. Tuesday – Friday: 10am – 2pm. Saturday: 10am – 4pm. Sunday: 12pm – 4pm. Hours of operation are fluid. Please check the official hours. These are the hours listed on the official website, starting August 24, 2021.
  • Closed on 4th of July, Thanksgiving, and for exclusive events
  • Birthday party packages and exclusive rental available
  • Check the official Atlantis Play Center website for hours and closures. That page also has a link to their informative Facebook page.
  • Visit this KCET article to learn more about the Benjamin Dominguez’s creations and legacy.
  • Read this OC Weekly article about Reliving the Joy of Atlantis Park with more photos of the location including the splash pad.
front of the whale slide with the whale's mouth open and teeth visible

Parks nearby Atlantis Play Center in Garden Grove:

Originally published in November 2008.

Mary

Monday 30th of June 2014

I remember my mom taking all eight of my brothers and sisters dropping us off and staying all day back in the 50's and 60's and never had any kind of trouble. I took my daughter and now my grandchildren there. We have had many birthday parties there, Of course it was only .25 then. I can't beleave how many people grew up in garden grove and santa ana have never been there. It is a must take children of all ages they will have a great time

Michele Whiteaker

Monday 30th of June 2014

That is such a cool story, Mary! That's one of the reasons why parks are so precious to me. Where else can 3 generations of a family make play memories together?

Jaimee

Wednesday 26th of June 2013

You should revisit this park since they opened up the splash pad! Definitely something your readers should know about.

Michele

Sunday 30th of June 2013

I have the splash pad updated on my water park list, but not on this post. Thanks for reminding me. It's on my summer list of places to update. Just a bit hard because I never have kids in my photos - and I'm afraid this place is always packed!

bonnie

Wednesday 12th of June 2013

june 15th have a fun time at the 50th anniversary at atlantis park, newly tidied up, and a beautiful new mural by robin marcario

hot dogs and fun!

Diana

Tuesday 30th of August 2011

I remember so many fun filled days at Atlantis. We could spend all day there and still find so much left to do!!!! It's just wild, that my children went, none of the grandkids, so far one of the great-grandchildren. It's so amazing to see family (Great Grandchildren) playing on the same toys and walking/climbing/running where I did so many years ago. I remember back in the day, we were dropped off in the morning and picked up, when the park closed. Parents knew we were safe and if I remember right, it was only a quarter maybe 2 to get in and stay all day. We packed our lunches (which always included the big piece of waxed paper, for a super fast ride down "Nellie's" back. Nellie being the huge slide in the park. We didn't have to have an adult to get in, but life was sooo much safer back then and the adults that were there, looked out for all the kids. What SUPER GREAT MEMORIES!!! THANKS ATLANTIS PARK !!!!!

Dori

Friday 30th of July 2010

I just remembered this park, My mom used to take me there when I was a kid. I loved the dragon slide. I am so happy to hear it is still around.