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For kid-friendly attractions in Anaheim, Disney theme parks typically top the list. But there’s a lot more to Anaheim, and the surrounding area, than hanging with Mickey and friends. After your Park Hopper tickets expire, these kid-friendly attractions in Anaheim and Orange County are worth checking out.
Located only a couple of miles away from the theme parks, the Anaheim GardenWalk is an alternative to Downtown Disney that features shops, restaurants, and entertainment for the entire family. Activities include bowling, a flight simulator, claw machines, a magic shop, an escape room, an arcade and tunnels, swings, and slides at Billy Beez. For a fun family dining experience, try Fire + Ice Interactive Bar + Grill, Meeples Family Board Game Café, or The Cheesecake Factory. For accommodation nearby, check out the newly opened JW Marriott Anaheim.
For a smaller version of a theme park, Adventure City in Anaheim is a fun place to take the younger kids. Rides include “mini” roller coasters, a carousel, hot air balloons, cars, airplanes, a train, and more. There’s also an arcade, a rock wall, and a petting zoo. Children under one year old are free.
Great Wolf Lodge
For kid-friendly attractions in Anaheim that double as accommodations, it’s hard to beat the Great Wolf Lodge. With an indoor water park, themed suites, MagiQuest, and family-friendly dining. The expansive water park includes tube rides, an interactive water treehouse, lots of slides, a lagoon, a river run, a water raceway, and so much more. Out of the water, kids can go bowling, pay miniature golf, do a Build-a-Bear workshop, navigate a laser maze, and play at the arcade. The fun doesn’t stop when it’s time for bed. Choose a Wolf Den or Kid Cabin themed suite.
Anaheim Packing House
The Anaheim Packing House is a beautifully decorated two-story food hall with artisan-inspired eateries located in a historic building that was once a packing house for citrus. The artisanal food court has vendors that sell things such as Japanese crepes, grilled cheese sandwiches, fried chicken, gelato on a stick, boba teas. Part of the Anaheim Packing District includes Farmers Park where you’ll find two restaurants, gardening classes, yoga, live entertainment and a weekly Farmer’s Market. At nearby Center Street Promenade, you’ll also find Japanese pastries, acai bowls, Taiwanese milk tea, and aesthetically pleasing chimney cakes with soft serve.
Balboa Fun Zone
For some family fun on the coast, head to Newport Beach. The Balboa Fun Zone, located on the Balboa Peninsula, has a wide array of water activities, including whale watching, jet skis, parasailing, SUP rentals, and more. Kids love taking the car ferry across the water from Balboa Island to the Balboa Fun Zone. On land, there is a Ferris wheel and arcade, as well as shops and restaurants serving things like pizza and ice cream. The most popular treat is the chocolate-covered frozen bananas dipped in peanuts.
Irvine Regional Park
Located about 30 minutes from Anaheim is Irvine Regional Park—a fun place to spend the day with your kids outdoors. There are plenty of activities to choose from, including the Orange County Zoo, the Irvine Park Railroad with a mini-train that visitors can ride on, paddle boats, playground, horseback riding, bike rentals, and more. There are also lots of hiking trails in the area. The park includes plenty of facilities for a family picnic, including picnic tables and BBQs, and two snack bars.
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