Archives For Nature Activities

Muth Interpretive Center

Click on image to enlarge

A visit to the Muth Interpretive Center is a must for all Orange County families. This 10,000-square-foot educational facility is dedicated to the preservation of the Upper Newport Bay, the largest of only a few remaining natural estuaries in Southern California. This wonderful place has tons of free activities that will entertain you and your kids for several hours. 

Free Activities at the Muth Interpretive Center:

  • Lots of exhibits and interactive displays that teach you about the wildlife of the Upper Newport bay.
  • Watch the award-winning “Saltmarsh Seasons” in the Ray and Elsa Watson Theater.
  • Check out live reptile and amphibian displays.
  • Have fun with animal puppets, puzzles, books and crafts.
  • Take a walk or a bike ride around the bay and look for birds, fish and animals that hang out in the area. Do you know that Upper Newport Bay is an important rest stop for birds migrating from Canada and Alaska? Up to 30,000 birds can be seen here on any one day during the winter months.

Other Kids’s Activities at the Muth Interpretive Center:

  • On Friday morning from 10:30-11:30 they have super fun parent & child classes which may include arts and crafts, storytelling, live animal presentation, hands-on activities and a nature walk. The class is $5 per child and it is well worth it. Reservations are preferred so that they can make sure they have enough craft material for everyone. For ages 2-5. To register call (949) 923 2269 or email carissa.macias@newportbay.org.

Other Activities close by:

  • Free: explore the Back Bay Science Center, tour the teaching lab and aquarium tanks, visit the touch pool touch tank, and do some bird watching. Every Sunday from 10am-2pm. Click here for more info.
  • Free: see the diverse plants, birds and other wildlife of six distinct habitats as you take a self-guided tour on a ½ mile nature trail starting at the Big Canyon parking lot. Click here for more info. 
  • For a fee: on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 12pm you can join an experienced naturalist for a guided kayak tour of the back bay. $25/person, ages 8 and up. Click here for more info. 
  • For a fee: you can also rent a kayak any day of the week for $15/hour ($20/hour for a two person kayak). Ages 8 and up. Click here for more info.

Address:

2301 University Avenue, Newport Beach, 92660

Opening Hours:

Tuesday – Sunday: 10am – 4pm.
Free admission, free parking.

Listing On PlanDayOut:

Click here to get all the information about the Muth Interpretive Center. If you scroll at the bottom of the page you will see a list of events at this location.

Melon Tours at Tanaka Farms

Maruska —  July 17, 2017

Melon Tours at Tanaka FarmsLooking for something to do during the summer?  Take a melon tour at Tanaka Farms for a fun outdoor family experience. During the tour you will take a wagon ride around the 30 acre farm, taste delicious fruits and vegetables, learn about their farming methods, see how veggies and fruits grow, and before leaving choose your very own melon to take home. 

Know Before You Go:

  • Bring water, sunscreen, hats and a bag where you can put the melons and leftover veggies from the tour.
  • The kids will be full once the tour is over, especially after tasting four different kinds of melons. Maybe don’t feed them a large breakfast or lunch just before your tour.
  • During my tour we got to taste cilantro, carrots, corn, zucchini, yellow squash, cantaloupe, watermelon, seedless watermelon and yellow watermelon.
  • Bring wipes. Your kids will need them after sampling several delicious melons
  • Avoid wearing sandals/flip-flops, open-toed shoes or high heels. 
  • The guides provide very fun facts about the farm and fruits/vegetables but it is often hard to hear them unless you sit close by. The guides stand in between the two wagons so try to sit as close as you can to them.
  • For part of the tour, you will sit on hay bales, so I would advise to avoid shorts. Or bring something to lay down before you sit :).
  • It is free for 2 and under, take advantage of that! 

Hours:

Weekends: every half an hour from 9:30am to 2:30pm. No reservation needed.

Weekdays: days and hours change every week. Click here to see the schedule.  

Price:

$ 18 for ages 3+. Free for children 2 and under.

Deal:

If you have 10 paying kids, kids pay $14 (includes a melon to take home). Adults pay $7 (no melon). So get your friends together and take advantage of this discount. If you are planning a group visit, you need to make a reservation by calling 949-653-2100 ext. 204.

Address:

Tanaka Farms, 5380 University Drive, Irvine, 92612.

949 653-2100

 

Looking for a free outing this summer? Hop on the “Summer Breeze” bus in Irvine, take it into Laguna Beach, ride a trolley to Shaw’s Cove for the tidepools, then hop back on the trolley to walk around town or grab a bite to eat before taking the bus back. All for free! 

Highlights:

  • Summer Breeze is up and running! Park off the 133/405 and take the bus into Laguna Beach for free! 
  • The free parking lot is where the 133 and 405 meet in Irvine. There are lots of signs directing you there and you can see the lot from both freeways 
  • If you’re following our trip schedule, you’ll want to take the North bound Coastal Trolley from the Laguna Beach Transit Center once the bus lets you off at the Transit Center.
  • Exit the Trolley at Shaw’s Cove for amazing tidepooling (the trolley drivers are all very friendly… you just need to call out to them that you’re getting off when they announce Shaw’s Cove). It’s about 5 stops from the transit center. 
  • Walk down the long steps to the beach and then to the right for excellent tidepools.
  • We went tidepooling at around noon and saw a ton of animals including sea anemones, hermit crabs, sea slugs, fish, and crabs of all shapes and sizes. 
  • After you are done visiting the tidepools, take a south bound Trolley back into town. You’ll pass Main Beach and want to exit at Broadway and PCH to walk around town. There are lots of restaurants and shops. You can also pack a picnic and have lunch on Main Beach or play on the playground there. Our 5 and 7 year olds loved the Kush Fine Art Gallery in town. It’s at the corner of PCH and Forest Avenue and is free. The curators were very welcoming and friendly. 
  • Once you’ve seen enough of the town, head back to the Laguna Beach Transit Center and catch a bus back to Irvine. Remember they arrive every half hour so budget your time accordingly. 

Know Before You Go:

  • The Summer Breeze bus only runs on weekends through September 3rd
  • Summer Breeze busses run on the hour and half hour starting at 11 AM until midnight on Saturday and Sunday
  • There is a docent that may greet you and give you information about the tidepools once you get to the rocks. He or she can show you some awesome marine life. 
  • Remember to check the tide schedule. You’ll want to go at low tide for the best viewing.
  • There are NO bathrooms at Shaw’s Cove beach so plan accordingly! There are portable bathrooms at the bus stop in Irvine and possibly at the Transit Center. There are also bathrooms at Main Beach. 

Kelly, Blog Contributor

About the Author
Kelly and her husband have two boys, ages 5 and 7. She loves taking her boys on adventures around Southern California that focus on learning, getting their wiggles out, and having fun! When she isn’t fulfilling her mommy duties she teaches at a local elementary school and community college.