OC Great Park Outing & Balloon Ride

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Last Thursday I found myself with an open morning with my girls so I went on over to Daytripping Mom for ideas on something fun to do.  Her first post that day was on the OC Great Park, and since riding the OC Great Park Balloon has been on my list to do for quite some time now I thought it would be the perfect outing.

My girls loved it.  And, it was all free! Gotta love a fun free OC outing for kids!

Something to note!  The Great Park is open just Thursday – Sunday. For hours and times the park is open click HERE.

We got there right around 10am on a Thursday.  You can park close (it’s convenient) and the parking lot was nearly empty.  First thing you will want to do is go into this visitor center building (pictured below) and get your balloon pager and hand stamp for the carousel.  Again, both rides are FREE.

It only took about 5 minutes until we were paged, which meant it was time for us to go on the balloon.  My girls were very excited and very intrigued.

It is a standing only ride and I was able to take Morgan in her stroller on the balloon.  The guy helped me lift it on.


It goes up VERY slowly = not scary. I was expecting that loud fire sound of a hot air balloon, but it was totally quiet because they told me it is HELIUM!  So cool – and I learned it is one of the largest and first of it’s kind in the US. Plus, it is environmentally safe, non-polluting and virtually silent.  Who knew?!

Neither girl was scared and in fact, I thought I might be, but I wasn’t!  It was SO cool!

We could see the ocean, Catalina, and the guy standing next to me said he could even see the Hollywood sign. I looked and looked but couldn’t make it out myself – but the guy was certainly excited about it!

Here was the view from up top to the ocean…

After the balloon ride the girls ran around on the huge grassy area for awhile and then we headed over to Kids Rock, which is a grouping of climbing rocks, tunnels, slides and structures.   Above there are also sphere-shaped shade structures and even misters.  I can imagine it gets pretty hot out there, so this would be key.

And then there was the carousel.

Again, it is FREE!  You can imagine how many times the girls wanted to keep riding. I had to put a stop to it after two rides.  Mommy was getting dizzy, but baby didn’t leave without putting up a good fight. So, just a warning, you might have to fib to the kids and tell them there is a two ride maximum!

All in all, the outing cost me a bag of chips I picked up at the gas station on the way into the park.

So, I can honestly say, this outing is ALL THAT AND A BAG OF CHIPS!

Click HERE to visit the OC Great Park visitor information page.  I have their Sunday Farmers’ Market on my list next! For more posts about this GREAT park, visit Fun Orange County Parks!

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