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One of the largest aquariums in the U.S.; highlights include Shark Lagoon, Lorikeet Forest and ethereal sea jellies. Daily 9 a.m.-6 p.m. $24.95-$34.95, under 3 free. 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, 562.590.3100. aquariumofpacific.org

The zone is shrinking. Remaining rides include the Ferris wheel. Su-Th 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; F until 9 p.m., Sa until 10 p.m. Pay per ride. 600 E. Bay Ave., Balboa Peninsula, Newport Beach, 949.675.8915. ocfunzone.com

Bounce off the walls: indoor jumping surfaces include trampoline dodgeball courts; plus rock-climbing wall and mechanical bull. Open daily; call for hours8320 On the Mall, Buena Park, 844.550.5867. 23251 Avenida de la Carlota, Laguna Hills, 949.305.9788. bigairusa.com

Slide, bounce, jump and run at indoor jungle- and bee-themed arena for kids and their families. M-Th 10 a.m.-7 p.m., F-Sa 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Su 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Anaheim GardenWalk, 400 W. Disney Way, Suite 189, Anaheim, 657.207.4841. billybeezus.com

Family entertainment centers: bumper boats, batting cages, go-karts, mini-golf, laser tag. Open daily; call for hours. 16800 Magnolia St., Fountain Valley, 714.842.1111; 3405 Michelson Drive, Irvine, 949.559.8341. boomersparks.com

Architect Philip Johnson’s glass cathedral, other buildings by Richard Neutra and Richard Meier. Tours M-Sa 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Free. 13280 Chapman Ave., Garden Grove, 714.971.2141. christcathedralcalifornia.org

A bustling portside community, offering many amenities to both residents and guests. Dana Point Harbor is divided into the East and West Basin, both of which operate as a separate marina. Combined, they have a total of 2,500 slips for vessels of various sizes. Included in the harbor are 50 guest slips for boats transiting the coastline and yacht clubs, which makes weekend cruises from the harbor ever more popular and exciting. 34571 Street of the Golden Lantern, Dana Point, 949.923.2255. danapointharbor.com

Whale-watching, deep-sea sport-fishing, fishing charters, boat rentals and entertainment cruises. Fishing trips and charters half day, full day, overnight and longer available. Balboa Pavilion, 400 Main St., Newport Beach, 949.673.1434. daveyslocker.com

Hands-on exhibits and live shows in the science center and Julianne Argyros Showcase Theater. Daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. $14.95-$19.95, under 3 free. 2500 N. Main St., Santa Ana, 714.542.2823. discoverycube.org

Mickey Mouse’s first theme park now includes Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge with the new Rise of the Resistance centerpiece. A mountain range of thrill rides include Matterhorn Bobsleds, Space Mountain and Splash Mountain. Call for hours. 1313 Disneyland Drive, Anaheim, 714.781.4565. disneyland.disney.go.com

Park ups the thrill ante with Incredicoaster at new Pixar Pier area and Guardians of the Galaxy—Mission: Breakout! Soarin’ Over California and World of Color water-and-light show still thrills. Call for hours. Admission (includes all rides and attractions): $97-$124. 1313 Disneyland Drive, Anaheim, 714.781.4565. disneyland.disney.go.com

Twenty-acre pedestrian promenade adjacent to Disney parks offers dining, shopping and nightlife, including Splitsville Luxury Lanes, Disney Home, Salt & Straw ice cream and Ballast Point Brewing Co. Non-gated, free admission. 1580 Disneyland Drive, Anaheim, 714.781.4565. disneyland.disney.go.com

Aerial dogfights use very realistic F-16 fighter jet cockpit simulators. No experience necessary. Minimum age 11, height 4 feet 11 inches. Starts at $59. M-F 2-9 p.m., Sa-Su noon-9 p.m.; open 24/7 for private events. Anaheim GardenWalk, 400 W. Disney Way, Suite 196, Anaheim, 714.937.1511. flightdeck1.com

O.C.’s largest botanical garden; 4,000 plant species set amid ponds and streams. Four main collections: Mediterranean, woodland, desert and cultivated. 8 a.m-4:30 p.m. Free; $5 suggested donation. 1900 Associated Road, Fullerton, 657.278.3407. fullertonarboretum.org

Indoor kart racing offers challenging track for speed enthusiasts. Call for hours. Arrangements for private parties or corporate events possible. $20. 17221 Von Karman Ave., Irvine, 949.247.8737; 1000 N. Edward Court, Anaheim, 714.632.6999. k1speed.com

More than 165 rides and attractions. Premier coasters includes HangTime, Silver Bullet, GhostRider and Xcelerator. Camp Snoopy for younger children. Call for hours and prices; under 3 free. 8039 Beach Blvd., Buena Park, 714.220.5200. knotts.com

Theme park features some 60 rides, shows and attractions. Call for hours. $85-$91, under 3 free. Sea Life Aquarium, add $18. 1 Legoland Drive, Carlsbad, 760.918.LEGO. legoland.com

Dinner theater show with jousting knights, Spanish stallions, swordsmanship, falconry and a four-course feast. Plus Medieval Torture Museum. $36.95-$63.95. 7662 Beach Blvd., Buena Park, 866.543.9637. medievaltimes.com

Presentations aboard tall ship Pilgrim in Dana Point Harbor; tide-pool sessions; marine-mammal exploration cruises; blue-whale safaris. M-F 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sa-Su 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; behind-the-scenes tour Th-F 3:30 p.m. $5-$10, under 2 free. 24200 Dana Point Harbor Drive, Dana Point, 949.496.2274. ocean-institute.org

Since 1978, Old World has been delighting visitors with its world famous Oktoberfest celebration, award-winning German restaurant and Dachsund races, farmers markets and more. 7561 Center Ave., Huntington Beach, 714.895.8020. oldworld.ws

Home to the annual Orange County Fair, Centennial Farm, Heroes Hall, Imaginology and several other year-round events. 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, 714.708.1500. ocfair.com

Huge in-progress park. Tethered-balloon ride, $5-$10, under 18 free with accompanying adult. Carousel: $3, $10 all day. Farmers market, Su 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 8000 Great Park Blvd., Irvine, 949.724.6247. cityofirvine.org

Rustic zoo; animals of the Southwest. Audio tours available. M-F 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.; Sa-Su 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. $2, under 3 free. Parking $3-$5. Irvine Regional Park, 1 Irvine Park Road, Orange, 714.973.6847. ocparks.com

Swordplay, pyrotechnics, comedy and romance aboard Spanish galleon replica. Call for hours. $36.95-$82.95, under 3 free. 7600 Beach Blvd., Buena Park, 714.690.1497. piratesdinneradventureca.com

Inter-connected, interactive miniature city for children from infant to 8 years old. Tu-Su 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; M until 1 p.m. $12.50. 29 Hubble, Irvine, 949.428.3900. pretendcity.org

Historic ocean liner—bigger than the Titanic!—berthed in Long Beach Harbor. Shops, dining, art deco lounge; Russian Foxtrot Submarine adjacent. Self-guided/guided tours, Daily 10 a.m.-6 p.m. $14.95-$30.95, under 5 free. 1126 Queens Hwy., Long Beach, 562.435.3511. 

Provocative exhibits at Nixon birthplace include replica of Nixon's Oval Office and one about his historic trip to China. Grounds include Nixon's birthplace and rose garden. M-Sa 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Su 11 a.m.-5 p.m. $6-$16, under 5 free. 18001 Yorba Linda Blvd., Yorba Linda, 714.983.9120. nixonlibrary.gov

Indoor climbing facility with instruction at all levels. M noon-10 pm; Tu-Th 6 a.m.-10 p.m.; F noon-10 p.m.; Sa-Su 10 a.m.-6 p.m. $15-$20. 1300 Logan Ave., Costa Mesa, 714.556.7625. rockreation-cm.com

Wildlife preserve with vast enclosures resembling African and Asian plains. $58; children 3-11 $48; kids 2 and under free. Cars $15. Open daily, call for hours. 15500 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido, 760.747.8702. sdzsafaripark.org

Renowned zoo has 4,000 rare and endangered animals in state-of-the-art environments. $58; ages 3-11 $48; 2 and under free. Free parking. Open daily, call for hours. 2920 Zoo Drive, Balboa Park, 619.231.1515. sandiegozoo.org

Modest, idyllic zoo. Attractions include the Crean Family Farm and Zoofari Express Train Ride. Daily, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. $9-$12, under 3 free. 1801 E. Chestnut Ave., Santa Ana, 714.836.4000. santaanazoo.org


Home of Shamu. Marine-themed attractions include new Explorer’s Reef, thrill ride Journey to Atlantis and Blue Horizons show. Open daily. Call for hours. $82-$92, under 3 free. 500 Sea World Drive, San Diego, 800.25.SHAMU. seaworldparks.com

Intimate botanical collection features 10 gardens; Café Jardin for dining. Library research center. Daily 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Research library open M-F 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. $3-$5, under 12 free. Free on first Monday of the month. 2647 E. Coast Hwy., Corona del Mar, 949.673.2261. thesherman.org

Cabaret experience for couples and groups; comedy, acrobatics, magic, singing, dancing and dining. Th-F 8 p.m., Sa 9 p.m., Su 8 p.m. $65.95-$85.95. 7600 Beach Blvd., Buena Park, 844.249.7865. teatromartini.com

Indoor family-fun center features laser tag, rock climbing walls, ropes course and mechanical bull. Open M-Th 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; F-Sa 10 a.m.-11 p.m.; Su 10 a.m.-8 p.m. The Outlets at Orange, 20 City Blvd. West, Orange, 714.937.1600. thrillit.com

Dining and entertainment destination. Costa Mesa 55 Tavern + Bowl, Time nightclub, Starlight Triangle Cinemas plus La Vida Cantina, Cafe Sevilla and Black Knight Gastro Lounge. 1870 Harbor Blvd., Costa Mesa, 949.650.0732. go2triangle.com

Skateboard mecca has Combi pool and open street course; Vans store is adjacent. M-Sa 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Su 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Free. 20 City Blvd. West No. 2, Orange, 714.769.3800. vans.com

One-stop shop on the boardwalk for a memorable day at the beach: Rent surfboards, bodyboards, beach cruisers, Surrey bikes, beach chairs and even a fire pit with a beach butler for s’mores. Surf lessons and kayak tours can also be arranged. 21100 Pacific Coast Hwy., Huntington Beach, 714.536.4863. waterfrontresort.com


Steep shore creates powerful waves. All amenities and fire pits. Pay-and-display parking $1/hour. 31131 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, 949.923.2280 Map I16

Pristine sunning and swimming beach. All amenities. Metered parking. Along Balboa Boulevard at Balboa Pier, Newport Beach, 949.673.3371 Map N14

Good for grunion hunting! All amenities and fire pits. Fee for parking. Along Pacific Coast Highway between Main Street and Warner Avenue, Huntington Beach, 714.846.3460 Map N9

Wide, unblemished. All amenities. Pay-and-display parking $1/hour. 35005 Beach Road, Capo Beach, 949.923.2280 Map F6

Large, sandy beach—with volleyball—below beautiful homes. Lifeguards, all amenities, fire pits. Waveless cove adjacent. Fee for parking. At Ocean Boulevard and Marguerite Avenue, Corona del Mar, 949.644.3151 Map M16

Hiking and mountain biking trails, sandy coves and steep cliffs. Historic district with beach cottages and Beachcomber café. Irvine Coast Marine Life Refuge offshore. Lifeguards, restrooms. Fee for parking. East Coast Highway between Laguna Beach and Corona del Mar, 949.494.3539 Map E4

Popular swimming beach, interpretive center. All amenities, fire pits. Fee for parking. Dana Point Harbor, along Del Obispo and Pacific Coast Highway, Dana Point, 949.496.6172 Map K17

Wide, sandy beach; amenities include fire pits. Fee for parking. Along Pacific Coast Highway between Beach Boulevard and Main Street, Huntington Beach, 714.536.5281 Map N9

Expansive, sandy beach; amenities include fire pits. Bolsa Chica Wetlands are across the highway. Fee for parking. Along Pacific Coast Highway between Santa Ana River and Main Street, Huntington Beach, 714.536.1454 Map N10

Steep paved path to picturesque cove; tide pools filled with anemones and starfish are great for kids. Ocean Boulevard and Poppy Avenue, Corona del Mar, 949.644.3151 Map M16

Large beach close to shops and restaurants offers great people-watching, basketball, volleyball, chess. All amenities. Metered parking. At Broadway and Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, 714.834.2400 Map F5

Popular golden strand with many fine surfing spots. All amenities, including fire pits. Metered parking. Along Oceanfront at Newport Pier, Newport Beach, 949.673.3371 Map N13

Beach at RV park on the Back Bay has full-time lifeguards, giant inflatable in-water novelties (including teeter-totter and climbing apparatus) and various water vessels for rent. 1131 Back Bay Drive, Newport Beach, 949.729.DUNE Map M14

Known for picnics and panoramas. Lifeguard and, picnic tables. Metered parking. Myrtle Street and Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach, 949.494.6573 Map H15

Secluded beach with harbor views; few to no waves make it perfect for little ones. Bouldering spot for local climbers. Paid parking at Corona del Mar State Beach; free street parking. At Ocean Boulevard and Harbor Channel, Corona del Mar, 949.644.3309 Map F6

Small, sandy surfing beach. Free street parking. Camino Capistrano at Pacific Coast Highway, San Clemente, 949.361.8261 Map J17

Rocky surfing beach. Metered parking. At Myrtle Street and Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach, 949.494.6573 Map H15

Long, pristine stretch below the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel. Beautiful, grassy Bluff Park with basketball court. All amenities. Pay-and-display parking $1/hour. Off Ritz-Carlton Drive, 33333 S. Coast Hwy., Dana Point, 949.923.2280 Map J16

San Clemente City Beach 1,200-foot pier (1920s), wide beach, good surf. All amenities. Metered parking. The train goes right by the beach. 620 Avenida del Mar, San Clemente, 949.361.8219 Map K17

Popular mile-long beach below sandstone bluffs offers all amenities, a nature trail and butterfly trail. Fee for parking. 225 Avenida Califia, San Clemente, 949.492.3156 Map K17

Popular surfing beach has a lifeguard and showers. Metered parking. Main Street and Seal Beach Pier, Seal Beach, 562.430.2613 Map C1

Picturesque cove has tide pools; popular diving destination. Metered parking. At Fairview Street and Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach Map H15

144 wooden steps lead to a dramatic cove with dangerous currents at the base of a cliff. Free street parking. First Avenue and South Coast Highway, South Laguna, 714.834.2400 Map I16

Two-hundred-something concrete steps lead to a small beach at the base of a cliff. Free street parking. Ninth Avenue and South Coast Highway, South Laguna, 714.834.2400 Map I16

Laguna’s prettiest beach has a tower fit for Rapunzel and a man-made, high-tide swimming pool circa 1920. Metered parking. Victoria Street off Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, 714.834.2400 Map H15

The Wedge World-renowned bodysurfing and bodyboarding spot. The break is dangerous; watch unless you’re an expert. Free parking lot. West Jetty View Park, tip of Balboa Peninsula, end of Channel Road, Newport Beach, 949.644.3309 Map N16

Small cove beach; volleyball courts, bodyboarding. Metered parking. West Street and South Coast Highway, South Laguna, 714.834.2400 Map I16