Explore Orange County Great Park, where sports, agriculture, and the arts unite. This public park in Irvine, California, covers 28.8% of El Toro, the former Marine Corps Air Station. Its rich history and diverse attractions make it a must-visit destination for an unforgettable experience.
The transformation from a military airbase to a central park/nature preserve began with Measure W in 2001. The community imagined this tapestry of nature and design by landscape architects led by Ken Smith. Inspired by Newport Center but incorporating elements of the airbase’s layout pays homage to its history. Notably, Agua Chinon Creek was restored after being hidden underground since the 1940s, creating a serene environment.
Experience many activities at Orange County Great Park, catering to diverse interests. Sports enthusiasts can revel in the cutting-edge facilities, including the four-sheet ice rink facility – The Great Park Ice & FivePoint Arena – offering programs for professionals, youth, and adults alike. Championship Soccer Stadium, with 2,500 seats, is home to Orange County, SC, and California United Strikers FC, along with several soccer fields, sand volleyball courts, basketball courts, tennis courts, and softball/baseball fields. Agriculture aficionados can explore Certified Farmers’ Market showcasing fresh produce and artisanal goods or visit Farm+Food Lab for an educational experience on sustainable farming practices and locally sourced food. Connect with nature while understanding your food source!
Arts and Culture
Enter the realm of creativity at Orange County Great Park’s arts and culture venues. Hangar 244, a permanent heritage and aviation exhibition, immerses visitors in the history of the airbase and aviation. The Palm Court Arts Complex provides an energetic space for exhibitions, performances, and artistic endeavors. As you explore the park, stroll along the walkable historical timeline, an interactive display highlighting significant milestones in the area’s past. Engage your senses with art.
The Great Park Balloon: Reaching New Heights
No visit to Orange County Great Park is complete without experiencing the iconic Great Park Balloon. Designed by Aerophile SA, this captivating attraction takes visitors 500 feet (150 m) above ground level for breathtaking panoramic views of both county and park construction progress. The balloon’s gondola accommodates 25–30 people, making it perfect for individuals or groups.
Orange County Great Park is proof of transformational power through community visioning efforts. What was once an airbase has now blossomed into a remarkable public park encompassing sports fields/facilities/agriculture/arts/culture experiences all-in-one place! Whether seeking exhilarating sports experiences/nature & agriculture exploration/artistic expression opportunities – this park has something special waiting for you! Discover wonders at Orange County Great Park, where history/nature/human creativity converge, creating unforgettable memories.
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