Aldrich Park is the natural centerpiece of UC Irvine, but most outsiders don’t even know it exists. University students use it to shortcut to classroom buildings set on a ring road which organizes the campus. On quiet weekends, Aldrich Park is a dream for adventurous OC kids and families. We spent our $8 on parking and took a 2 hour romp discovering what’s outdoors at UCI.
Location: Approach UCI from Campus Drive and park in the structure to your left off Pereira and Bridge Road/Peltason Drive. The structure is opposite the Student Center at the corner of Pereira and Bridge. Here’s a satellite view of the campus and its hidden park. MAP to Aldrich Park at UC Irvine
Outdoors at UCI
- Think of the campus as a big circle–and you shouldn’t get lost.
- Walking through the Student Center brings you to the outer ring road. Cross it to make your way down into the park.
- On our UC Irvine nature adventure we found a statue garden, trees with cool roots, butterflies, snails, songbirds, craggy trees, fountains, grapefruit, outdoor art, and a rose garden.
- Let the kids lead. Let them get ahead of you. Dress them to get dirty. Take . . . Your . . . Time . . .
- My husband made an informal scavenger hunt for the kids to find some landmarks and give a little purpose to our walk. Maybe you’d like to have one, too? [HINT: You’ll have to loop in and out of the park and the next outer ring.] UCI Scavenger Hunt (PDF)
- Parking is at least $10 — so plan to stay a while
- Plan to go when the campus is quiet — during weekends or on holidays
- Plenty of restrooms on campus
What else is around?
- Farmer’s Market on Saturdays at the Irvine Marketplace across the street
- Mason Regional Park is right around the corner from campus complete with playgrounds and a duck pond
- I love the UCI Bookstore in the Student Center (but, I confess, I’m an Anteater)