Need some help planning an Orange County day out with your children?
Searching for the most fun things to do with your kids in the OC?
Wondering which Orange County attractions children will find fascinating?
Don’t worry – we got you!
The 13 best things to do in Orange County with kids
Orange County is the perfect destination for a fun-filled family getaway – there’s something special for everyone!
From interactive museums to adrenaline-fueled escape room adventures and gorgeous beaches…
There’s so much to explore and discover here in OC – but where do you start?
Let us share some of our favorite kid and family-friendly activities to make your day extra memorable!
1. Disneyland Resort
The image is taken from Disneyland Resort’s website.
Visiting the Disneyland Resort in Orange County is an experience the family will never forget.
With so many exciting things to do and experience, it’s the perfect destination for people of all ages – from kids to teenagers and even adults.
From watching Mickey and his friends play around to catching sight of your favorite Star Wars characters and going on some of the most thrilling rides in the world – there’s something for everyone.
Pro tip: If you’re looking for the FastPass to bypass long lines at some of their most popular attractions, stop. That’s because they’ve replaced the FastPass with the paid Genie+ service, which helps you plan your visit better, AND avoid long lines like the FastPass used to.
Does Disneyland offer free admission on someone’s birthday? Unfortunately not, but they do offer a free, personalized Disneyland birthday button with various perks, from being chosen by cast members to join in a show to being offered a special treat with the birthday dinner.
2. Intrepid Escape Rooms
They’re all smiles, having explored The Terminal. Curious why they’re so happy?
Ready for an adventure that could take you and your kids deep inside New York City’s subway system…or to an archaeologist’s house in Malaysia, all without stepping a foot outside Orange County?
That’s what awaits you at Intrepid Escape Rooms.
If you haven’t heard of or done escape room adventures before, here’s what happens:
You and your group will be taken inside a themed game space, where you’ll have to accomplish a mission (like investigating a person’s disappearance).
From cracking ciphers to resolving riddles and spotting obscure clues – you’ll have to do it all to get to the bottom of things.
And remember – you have 60 minutes to get to the final clue and achieve your goal.
Do you have what it takes to get through all the puzzles, locks, codes, and clues and say “mission accomplished” before you run out of time?
Sounds interesting, but is there an age limit?
All our immersive experiences are family-friendly.
We do recommend players be at least 8 years old, due to the nature of the experience.
However, younger players will enjoy the themed rooms and special effects and may also be able to help you solve many of the puzzles.
What adventures do you have at present?
We have 2 on-site escape adventures for you to choose from:
- The Terminal, in which you explore an abandoned NYC subway, and…
- The Stolen Relic, in which you’ll investigate the theft of a powerful relic and the vanishing of an eccentric archeologist in Malaysia.
Please visit our escape room adventures page to learn more.
3. The Marconi Automotive Museum
The image is taken from Disneyland Resort’s website.
Your kiddo will absolutely adore the Marconi Automotive Museum if they are passionate about Hot Wheels or Disney’s “Cars” films!
Here, they’ll be able to explore full-sized replicas of classic race cars and hot rods.
Plus, they can learn all about the history of racing vehicles.
And there is always a range of exciting events taking place at the museum throughout the year for your child to enjoy.
It’s sure to be a fun and educational experience!
Pro tip: Admission is free for kids of ages 13 and under.
4. Tanaka Farms
The image is taken from Tanaka Farms’ website.
Want to teach your kids about farm life and sustainable farming? Then you should take them to Tanaka Farms in Irvine.
You can take part in a complete tour of their farm aboard a wagon, attend farm-to-table cooking classes, and visit their barnyard animals – most of whom are rescues.
One of their most popular activities is fruit-picking – where you visit their fields and pick out seasonal crops, ranging from strawberries in the spring to melons in summer and pumpkins in the fall.
5. Huntington Beach
Imagine your children frolicking about amidst all that sand and sun!
Sand, sun, and the spray from the ocean make Huntington Beach a shoo-in for any list of things to do with children in Orange County.
A visit is especially important if you’ve been meaning to teach your children how to hit the waves.
Numerous surf schools offer classes for both kids and adults.
You can sign up for group classes or private lessons, depending on what you’re comfortable with.
And you don’t have to worry about dragging your board with you either – rentals are available throughout the beach!
Other popular activities include educational activities about oceans, kayaking, private yacht tours, and barbeques (especially at night).
Overall, whether you add Huntington Beach to your itinerary really depends on this:
Will you be able to keep up with your kids as they frolic about on the sand, build sand castles, try to run into the water, and sneak up on you should you happen to doze off?
6. Mission San Juan Capistrano
The image is taken from Disneyland Resort’s website.
We know – you’re asking yourself if the place where “the bells toll” is really one that kids will enjoy visiting.
Here’s the deal: This is a great place for kids to learn about the history of Orange County and also imbibe a feeling of spirituality.
After all, it is located in the oldest neighborhood in the Los Rios Historic District and is a historic landmark.
Children – and adults – will love exploring the gardens, gazing at the bells, and learning about the religious artifacts and art housed by the mission.
And make sure you check their website before making your plans – they often host family events you can participate in!
7. Zoomars at River Street Ranch
The image is taken from Zoomars’ website.
Also located in San Juan Capistrano, Zoomars is a family-owned zoo with several activities that children will find fascinating.
The little ones can get up close and personal with all kinds of farm animals down there.
They can cozy up to adorable guinea pigs, pet and brush goats and sheep, and clamber aboard real ponies for a ride!
Plus, they can also try their luck mining for gold, work the gears of mini excavators and get behind the wheels of actual electric mini tractors!
Fair warning, though: you may find yourself yearning to join your kids!
8. The Fullerton Arboretum Museum
The image is taken from Fullerton Arboretum’s website.
The Fullerton Arboretum is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of Orange County and enjoy the natural world.
There’s so much to see and appreciate with over 100 types of plants and flowers.
Explore the various biomes, including coniferous, deciduous, rainforest, and desert.
You can also check out their potting shed, orchard lawn, pond lawn, heritage house, south lawn, and Children’s Garden.
Take some time to relax and learn about different plant environments and sustainable environmental practices at the arboretum.
9. Knott’s Berry Farm
The image is taken from Knott’s Berry Farm’s website.
Knott’s Berry Farm is renowned as one of the top theme parks in California, with 160 acres of thrilling rides and attractions to enjoy.
From watching gunslingers duel it out amidst a themed Wild West landscape to chugging through Camp Snoopy and exploring SoCal’s beach lifestyle at The Boardwalk, there’s something for everyone at Knott’s.
And once you’re done with the more energetic rides, take a leisurely stroll through the California Marketplace and sit down at Mrs. Knott’s for their famous chicken dinner!
10. The Pretend City Children’s Museum
The image is taken from the ABC7 LA website.
From working at a construction site to pumping gas at a gas station and running a farm – these are skills that we adults take for granted/quite easy.
Now think about this – wouldn’t it be cool if your kids could also pick up the basics of all these and much more, almost first-hand?
Apart from picking up crucial everyday skills, your kids would also learn how to solve real-world problems and get along with others.
And that’s exactly what Pretend City Children’s Museum is all about.
Kids pick up on various aspects of grown-up life – from everyday tasks like posting a letter to more complex ones like handling emergency services – through active role-play.
And you’ll have fun watching your little ones have a blast as they “go about their day” at Pretend City.
11. Discovery Cube Orange County Museum
Looks like just another kids’ game, but this one’s got a serious purpose – teaching how to recycle.
The image is taken from Discovery Cube Orange County’s website.
Times have passed since we were at school.
Mere books – however well-presented – may no longer be enough to get children interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics).
And that’s what Discovery Cube is trying to address, through exciting, interactive, and hands-on exhibits.
From lying down on a bed of nails to illustrate force and pressure to visiting the Planetary Research Station to learn about the wonders of the universe – there are so many amazing science-based exhibits awaiting your little ones at Discovery Cube!
What age range is Discovery Cube Orange County for? Let’s put it this way – they welcome anyone that can walk in, or that can be pushed in, in a stroller!
12. The Children’s Museum at La Habra
The image is taken from the Children’s Museum’s website.
Want to go one step further than STEM, and teach your kids about STEAM (Science, Tech, Engineering, ART, and Math)?
Well, then you should slip The Children’s Museum at La Habra into your Orange County day out itinerary, and take your kids to the STEAM Lab…
Where visitors can do everything from discovering the properties of flight to building whatever structures come to mind at the Kapla block corner.
They also have a nature walk featuring taxidermy mounts of animals from around the world, a science station for the kiddies to dig around for dino fossils, and even a dress-up corner where the little ones can explore the vital role that first responders play in their communities.
13. Adventure City
The image is taken from Adventure City’s website.
Adventure City in Anaheim is a great destination for families with young children.
The theme park has a variety of rides and attractions specifically designed for kids, including a carousel, a train ride, and a small roller coaster.
In addition to the rides, there are also interactive shows and a petting zoo, providing plenty of opportunities for children to learn and have fun.
The park is also conveniently located, making it easy to plan a day trip or combine it with other activities in the Anaheim area.
Overall, Adventure City is a great choice for families looking for a fun and educational outing with their kids.
The best places to visit with kids in Orange County – a final word
With so many options, it can be hard to narrow down what to do with kids in Orange County.
Hopefully, this list has given you some ideas of great places to take your children.
And as you can see, Orange County has numerous attractions for kids with unique interests.
From solving mysteries inside escape adventure rooms to exploring OC history at the historic Mission in San Juan Capistrano and picking up everyday skills at Pretend City Children’s Museum – there are so many activities that the little ones may be interested in.
Where are YOU planning on taking your children? Let us know in a comment below!