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Santiago Park: Playing Near the Discovery Science Center

Santiago Park: Playing Near the Discovery Science Center

Serendipity led us to Santiago Park across Main Street from the Discovery Science Center. My daughter spotted it when we turned into the parking lot. I’ve been to the center countless times, yet never noticed the playground nearby. Not open everyday, check out the Santiago Park Nature Preserve and Santiago Creek Trail.

Location: From Interstate 5, take the Main Street exit. Drive past the Discovery Science Center and turn right on Memory Lane. Turn right on Lawson Way into the parking lot. The playground is a walk back toward Main Street. There’s a path on the Memory Lane side of the parking lot, leading through a tree grove and over a bridge directly to the playground. [Address: 2535 E. Memory Lane, Santa Ana] MAP to Santiago Park in Santa Ana


  • Fairly new structures and recycled rubber play surface
  • Nearby stores and restaurants at the corner of Main Street & Memory Lane: Mother’s Market & Kitchen, The Habit Burger Grill, Chipotle, Corner Bakery, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
  • See if you can spy little critters in the log pile!

  • Equipment for big kids and little kids
  • The big-kid structure has log climbers and slides
  • Smaller kid structure has balancing components and smaller slides
  • Perfect outdoor picnic spot for field trips when visiting the Discovery Cube
  • There’s a nice trail for strolls or bike rides along the creek with your group

  • It’s a bird sanctuary and part of a nature preserve
  • Picnic tables near the playground
  • Lawn bowling and nature center nearby
  • 2 bench swings, 2 baby swings

Be Aware:

  • No stalls in restrooms
  • One person I talked to said it might not be too safe to walk on the trail under the street and there’s suspicious characters every once in a while. I felt very safe there in the middle of the day. (You’ll notice one commenter warned to accompany your children to the restroom). On our latest trip, it was a cloudy day on the weekend with no families. We saw 4 or 5 single men using the restroom in the span of 20 minutes. Just be aware.
  • Many people know this park for its giant metal slides tucked away in a back corner of the park, but they are closed as of the time I’m posting this in May 2017.


  • Parking in lot off Memory Lane or walk in from the Science Center
  • We walked to the park from the Science Center. There’s a path that goes below Main Street, but we were warned against going that route. However, Main Street is busy – so be careful crossing.
  • Recycled rubber play surface
  • Restrooms very near playground, but no stalls on doors
  • Some shade from eucalyptus
  • The park has a cabin available for rental (Santiago Cabin reservations)
  • Lawn bowling at the Santiago Park Lawn Bowling Clubhouse
  • Official City of Santa Ana website

Originally posted in June 2009.

Michele Whiteaker

Thursday 11th of May 2017

As I updated this post in 2017, a family visited this park and left the following comment on my page on FB:

"Just and FYI...My daughter and I took my grandson to this park today after seeing your post. It isn't a good place for children. Although the new playground equipment is wonderful this is a well know hang out for men lurking alone in the park. They meet other men and go in bathroom together for hookups, which is right next to this playground. We saw numerous men alone and drug use in the parking area as well. Just an FYI to mom's out there...probably not a place to go with your children and please do not let them go to the bathroom without you going with them. This park has been know as a male hookup place for many years."


Wednesday 9th of March 2011

The Santa Ana Police mounted unit had been working the park at night since October of 2010. They had arrested and cited dozens of people for being in the park after dusk.


Thursday 10th of March 2011

Thanks for that extra info, John.


Sunday 8th of November 2009

I lived in the other side of that park, there is a very nice and tranquile neigborhood and I used to exercise in this trail by my self morning or evening and nathing happen ( I am talkin about 6years ago). I really forgot about the park now I have a baby and thinking to take him to play.

Michele-Play Parks

Sunday 28th of June 2009

Very good point, Samantha.

In researching park safety, I've found that to be consistent law enforcement advice for ANY park.

Be aware, trust your gut feelings -- and then it's easy to get out there and have some fun.


Friday 26th of June 2009

Hi there Michele!

you are right about the suspicious characters. My husband is a police officer in Santa Ana. There is a lot of "goings on" especially in the mens restrooms. Mothers always accompany your sons to the bathrooms at this park.

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