The Bosque playground at the Great Park Trails in Irvine is yet another example of the complicated naming FivePoints uses for this area. They actually call this section the Upper Bee and Bosque with a “kids play area” included. I’m sure your kids will come up with more simple terminology to describe the parks and playgrounds open to the public inside the Orange County Great Park.
I wanted to call it Wander Park since the trails meander all through the Bosque. “Bosque” means woodlands in Spanish and it’s meant to be a passive green space with native plants in this area of the development.
Big thanks to Maria for letting me know it finally opened to the public!
I’ve already written about the two other PUBLIC parks/playgrounds within the OC Great Park:
- Kids Rock Playground right next to the Visitor Center and Balloon
- OC Great Park main playground which has been added to Kids Rock behind the Visitor Center in November 2019
A lot of you have sent me info about the PRIVATE parks within the OC Great Park that are open ONLY to residents:
- Parasol Park (private) is right across from the Bosque playground (public)
- Beacon Park (private) is what many of you know as “Treehouse Park”
- Pavilion Park (private)
- The Pools (private) play area
- And more . . .
Location of the Bosque playground at the Great Park Trails in Irvine: This play area is at the Irvine Blvd end of the OC Great Park in Irvine where the housing development begins. Parking is a bit tricky because there is not much parking nearby and they’ve designed it so that the dedicated parking lots are far from the playground — in hopes you make your way on foot or bike to the playground. Important: This play area is NOT near the carousel or the balloon (that’s called Kids Rock Playground).
Before you go, get familiar with this map of Great Park Trails from the City of Irvine where you can easily see the 2 parking lots at the TOP of the map whereas the Bosque Kids Play Area is at the bottom of the map. It will help orient you to where you need to go. There is a wide street connecting Irvine Blvd to Great Park Blvd called (you guessed it) Bosque. There is NO PARKING the entire block on the playground side of the street as you approach the Bosque from Great Park Blvd.
So here’s what I recommend as the easiest way to get parked and start playing:
- Exit Interstate 5 at Sand Canyon and head towards the foothills
- Turn right on Irvine Blvd
- Turn right onto Bosque (It’s not your imagination, you are heading back towards the way you just came. It’s almost like a big U-turn going from Sand Canyon, along Irvine Blvd, then back down Bosque heading towards I-5 again – but this sets you up for parking.)
- When entering Bosque from Irvine Blvd, you’ll see a new housing development on your right and the “Bosque” area on your left (and pass two very small, almost hidden, public parking lots on your left where you can park for hiking or bike rides)
- Park along the right side of the street when you see the playground on your left – before you hit Magnet. If you get to Great Park Blvd, you missed it and you’ve gone too far.
- You will face an unmarked street crossing here at the corner – but there usually isn’t much traffic.
- Cross the street and follow the paved path to the playground – resist the urge to cut through the plantings.
One alternative is to just park in the 2 small parking lots between Benchmark and Cultivate – the ones you passed closer to Irvine Blvd – and hike/bike in to the play area.
Here is my MAP TO BOSQUE PLAYGROUND AT GREAT PARK TRAILS IN IRVINE. I also found that if you type “Bosque” into Google Maps, it will suggest Bosque, Irvine, CA and at least get you to the correct vicinity although the playground is at the corner of Bosque and Magnet.
- Of course, the highlight here is the natural area. Don’t come expecting an amazing playground — it’s more of a relaxing feel to walk the the trails, wander, bike or just experience being outdoors rather than a dedicated one-stop playground.
- There are so many paths (paved sidewalks, decomposed granite pedestrian trails, and paved bike trail) with many routes to navigate around the natural area
- The playground has only a few pieces of equipment for kids, but I think they could spend hours exploring the full expanse of the park and trails.
- 2 BIG 4-person teeter-totters
- 1 tunnel slide that is pretty fast, but the lip is on the ground so there is not a big fall at the end
- 2 disc swings
- 2 spinners
- 1 geometric climber with grips
- 1 in-the-ground rubber trampoline (but the edges are concrete, so I’d use a little caution here)
- There are also mounds built in to the recycled rubber surface for some elevation and fun if you are a little kid running around
- A small picnic area sits in the middle of the main play area
- Another picnic area with grills is near the climber
- But at the start to the boardwalk at the top end of the park there is a dedicated picnic area with multiple tables and grills — with some nice mature trees nearby
- The shade is pretty plentiful from mature trees and shaded picnic tables, although the play equipment is generally out in the open
- You will love that there is not one, but TWO public restrooms near this park. One is just behind the tunnel slide so it’s super close to the play area. The other is at the far side of the playground area near Cadence. Isn’t this the nicest park restroom building you’ve ever seen?
- Just like on the fake grass at Irvine Spectrum, I can see the real grassy area near the climber being a place for families to sit and relax.
- There are benches for sitting in the shade and places to lock your bikes
- No sand on play area
- Parking is a pain if you only want to go to the playground — I suggest coming at this as an adventure and a place to wander rather than a quick trip to a playground. I repeat, this is NOT a quick trip to the playground kind of place. It’s more of a day trip kind of place to pair with a nature walk or bike ride.
- At this point in time I was able to park across the street from the play area along Bosque or Magnet near Parasol Park, but I can see how they might crack down on that rather quickly. Be careful crossing the street since there is no marked crosswalk at this point. There are limited spaces in 2 lots on Bosque between Benchmark and Cultivate which are quite far from the play area.
- I’m guessing most caregivers will be on the move here since the tall grasses and hilly feel will allow kids to go out of view pretty easily – so don’t think this will be a place where you can just sit and not be active.
- There are cameras located at various locations throughout the park (for safety/monitoring)?
- Like I said above, watch the lip on the “trampoline” – it’s concrete and I can see a fall not feeling so great
- Finally, this is the perfect place to teach your kids to STAY ON THE TRAILS. Since everything feels very natural and not everything has grown in yet, I predict a huge urge to go trampling off trail. There was only one other family there this morning when I went to the park and half of them cut through the native plants instead of staying on the paved path. If 20 or 100 or more people do that today (and tomorrow and the next day), then it ceases to be a habitat for local wildlife and a lush area for all of us to enjoy. The trails and dedicated play areas provide enough space for pretend and exploring.
- Parking is free
- Play surface: Recycled rubber
- Restrooms were open on my visit
- Lots of picnic areas and grills
- Lots of stroller-friendly sidewalks for long walks
- Other features: Great Park Balloon, another public playground near the soccer stadium, Kids Rock Playground, Carousel, Farm + Food Lab, Farmer’s Market on Sundays
- Official City of Irvine Great Park Trails page with another page for hours & driving directions
- The Bosque: Great Park Trails Map
What other features for families can you access when you visit Great Park playgrounds?
Remember to check hours on the official Orange County Great Park website.
Great Park Balloon
Great Park Carousel
The Farm + Food Lab, plus Certified Farmer’s Market on Sundays
The other existing playgrounds are the Kids Rock Playground (circa 2010) near the Visitor Center and what I call the upgraded OC Great Park playground which is connected to the Kids Rock Playground and makes for a family hangout near the Visitor Center.
Disclosure: The City of Irvine Community Services has sponsored park posts in the past, but this is NOT a sponsored post. Read my full disclosure policy.