As the sluggist economy continues families are looking for ways to be active and have fun this summer without having to pay a lot of money. It is always nice to find things to do that cost very little, or even better, are free. With the coming of summer residents of Orange County, as well as visitors, will find there are many free activities available.
1. Laguna Beach is one of the most popular seaside cities in the O.C. Beside the many beaches, which are all free, there is a lot more activities for families to enjoy.
(a) The Pacific Marine Mammal Center, 20612 Pacific Canyon Rd, is an organization dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of marine mammals found stranded along the Orange County coastline. The center which is open from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. daily has a highlight – feeding time – this occurs 3 – 4 times per day and is of special interest to the kids. As the center is non-profit, and free to everyone, donations appreciated.
(b) The Docents of the Hortense Miller Garden leads 2-hour tours of the coastal garden on Tuesday – Saturday from 9:45 a.m. – noon. Reservations for the tours of garden is required and can be made at 949-497-0716, ext.3. If you would like to help maintain the gardens, volunteers are always welcome.
(c) The Laguna Art Museum collects and exhibits California art only, all periods and styles, from the nineteenth century to the present. The exhibits feature art that is created by California artists, or that reflect the life and history of the state. The Museum is open daily 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. except Thursday when the hours are 11 a.m – 9 p.m; and Wednesdays when they are closed. Admission is free until May 31, afterwards it is $7 general admission; $5 students, seniors and military; and free to children 12 and under.
2. Newport Beach, one of the premier tourist areas in Orange County, will again offer their free summer concerts. This series of concerts will be held on Sundays from 6 – 7:30 p.m. on the “Civic Green” at 100 Civic Center, Newport Beach. Be sure to bring a blanket, folding beach chair, sun glasses and maybe a jacket, as once the sun sets it tends to cool down.
3. Another summer activity is visiting the one-of-a-kind butterfly house at the Environmental Nature Center, 1601 16th Street, Newport Beach. During the season they have many varities of butterflies among which are,the, Monarch, Queen, Buckeye, and the California Dogface. The Center is open from May to September, 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. daily. A word of caution, check the weather before going, if it is cold or overcast the butterflies are not very active. Interested in learning more about the butterflies click here.
4. Explore Ocean (link http://explorocean.org/) gives free entry to all the exhibits and activities, all year, to military members and their families. For those who are not, there is a small entry fee of $15. Explorer Ocean is located in the “Balboa Fun Zone” 600 East Bay Ave, Newport Beach, and are open Mon – Thur 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.; Fri & Sat 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sun 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
5. The Pacific Symphony is having it’s second, free live outdoor concert, at the Segerstrom Center on June 8 at 5 p.m. This is a celebration of the 100th anniversary of Stravinsky’s seminal, “The rite of Spring”, and will be broadcasted onto the outside wall of Segerstrom Hall, as the concert takes place inside. Outside, there will also be a community festival, with activity booths, art performances, and food sellers. Do not forget your chairs, blankets and sun classes and plan on arriving early as this is a popular free event.
Also at Segerstrom Center, there will be outdoor movies shown at the ‘Arts Plaza’, every Monday from July 8 – Aug 5, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Among the upcoming shows will be The Wedding Singer, The Lion King, and The Phantom of the Opera.
6. In the Irvine Orange County Great Park movies will be shown on the big screen every Friday and Saturday at sunset, from May 31 – June 29. The “movies on the lawn” feature, Classic Movies on Friday on the back lot behind hangar 244, near the Great park balloon; and Family blockbuster movies on Saturdays on the terraced lawn.
7. This year Orange County Parks will be offering free summer concert series. These 12 ‘concerts under the stars’ will feature music ranging from Country to Soul to Swing, and will be held at various parks in the County on Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 6:30 – 8 p.m.
(a) Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley, 16801 Euclid St; Phone (714) 973-6600
(b) Mason Regional Park, 18712 University Dr, Irvine; Phone (949) 923-2220
(c) Irvine Regional Park, 1 Irvine Regional Park Rd, Orange; Phone ( 714) 633-8074
(d) Craig National Park, 3300 N. State College Blvd, Fullerton; Phone (714) 973-3180
To see other places where free concerts will be taking place this summer contact your local community center, go to www.calif.aaa.com/westways the May 2013 edition which has lists from Santa Barbara to San Diego, or visit the parks website.