Five Activities to Entertain Kids During Holiday Break
If you find yourself in the Newport Beach area over the holiday break and are looking for things to do with the kids, you have come to the right place! Here is a list of five ideas to keep the family entertained while the kids are off school for the holidays.
Get in the Fun Zone
Balboa Village, home to the locally-famous Fun Zone is a must-visit with kids. At the Fun Zone you can find things to do for just about everyone. For those wanting to explore out on the water, Balboa Village is the perfect place to book sailing, Sea Doos, harbor tours, sport fishing, whale watching, parasailing, and more. Once you’re in the Zone, you can’t miss the Ferris wheel, and its memorable rides with incredible harbor and ocean views. On the boardwalk kids can try out the bungee jump, climb a palm tree or ride the giant Happy Swing. On Saturdays and Sundays, Discovery Cube’s OceanQuest is open in the Fun Zone between the hours of 12pm – 5pm where families can explore the current traveling exhibit, The Science of Sailing. The weekends of 12/23-12/24 and 12/30 – 12/31will be dedicated to the “Holidays at Ocean Quest” where in addition to the exhibit, families will be able to enjoy special holiday-themed activities like cookie decorating and special photo opportunities.
Free Fun for Little Bookworms
The Newport Beach Public Library is the cultural, educational and information heart of Newport Beach and offers a children’s calendar chock full of fun story times and activities to inspire little bookworms. On Saturday, Dec. 23, enjoy family storytime with stories, songs and crafts geared towards kids ages 3 – 7 from 10:30-11am and a special drop-in crafts center will be set up on Saturday, Jan. 6 from 12-3pm. Outside of those specific activities, the expansive Newport Beach Library and their impressive children’s library is a great place to visit all year round. Check the website for holiday hours.
Visit Fashion Island
A trip to Fashion Island a day trip in itself! Visit the center’s koi pond near Atrium Court for hours of entertainment and then give the kids a penny or two to throw in one of the fountains. After exploring for awhile, hop on Fashion Island’s complimentary trolley and take a tour around the center. The kids love the open-air trolley where you can wave to shoppers as you pass by. Grab lunch with the kids at Blaze Pizza, an assembly-line style restaurant where guests can fully customize their own pizzas starting at only $8 (and they are BIG!). After the pizzas are made, they are put in the fast-fire oven to cook in a flash. The kids love to watch the pizza fire and everyone will love the taste even more! After lunch, head on over to Engine Ear Toys where the kids can pick out a toy to take home for the holidays. For an afternoon treat, check out IT’SUGAR where sweet tooth junkies will find their mecca or sample a delectable gelato from Gelato Paradiso in the food court.
Cruise Newport Bay
Rent a duffy boat for a couple of hours from one of Newport’s duffy boat rental companies and take your family on a cruise of holiday lights that are still up around the bay! The sun goes down early, so consider booking one for late afternoon so you can enjoy the sunset and then see the lights after dark. Consider sharing the duffy with another family to split the cost but double the fun. Pack some wine and cheese for the adults and a picnic dinner and hot cocoa for the kids!
Step Out Into Nature
The Peter & Mary Muth Interpretive Center is an educational gem for families! The 10,000-square-foot educational facility built into the side of the bluffs on Newport Bay is open 10am-4pm, Tuesdays through Sundays and admission and parking are FREE! The classrooms are open to the public when programs are not in session, so kids can make themselves at home exploring the fun, interactive exhibits and activities. After spending some time at the center you can do a nature walk in the Back Bay to revel in the beauty and see if you might be able to find any of the critters you learned about. Keep an eye out, bunnies are often spotted here! Or, make a scavenger hunt of nature items to find and see how many you can check off the list.
Play on the Bay
Marina Park, a brand new 10.5-acre park and playground, is easily a favorite in all of Orange County. The expansive play space, located right on the sand of the beautiful bay, will entertain the kids for hours! At Marina Park you will find a large grassy area for running around and a super fun nautical-themed playground complete with a slide that careens down from the lighthouse. Weather-permitting you might also want to pack some sand toys for castle making on the beach and pack a picnic lunch for the family. Not in the mood to cook? Check out the on-site Lighthouse Bayside Cafe featuring a robust kids’ menu open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Written by Jennifer Sheumann