Snow DriftAfter doing lots of research about local snow sledding parks, we discovered this gem which allowed both babies and toddlers in for free. It’s also half the price of other parks we researched. Snowdrift Snow Tubing Park is the perfect spot for those of you that have both little and big kids!

Highlights:

  • Choose an inner-tube that’s just your size. They have big, medium, and small tubes to fit everyone’s needs.
  • Stay as long as you’d like and pay by the hour. You pay $17 per person for the first hour and if you choose to stay longer then you can pay the remaining balance when you leave. An hour was plenty of time for our family.
  • Younger kids can go down the hills with their parents and older kids can go on their own.
  • Go down small hills or steep hills… there are plenty of choices for the most cautious kids or those that are daring.
  • Take the opportunity to play in the snow. There’s an area at the end of the park that’s perfect for little ones that are tired of tubing to explore and play in the snow.

Know Before You Go:

  • Kids under 36″ are free with a paid adult. Keep in mind that they do need to ride on a tube with an adult.
  • It gets busy! We’ve gone within the first hour of opening for quite a few years and have gone right in without a line and it hasn’t been crowded. It does get crowded an hour or two after opening and this can become unsafe for children going down the hills on their own because they have to get off their tubes and move out of the way of other tubers quickly.
  • Wear snow boots and gloves. You use your feet to stop so your shoes do get wet. You may also want to spend time playing in the snow so gloves keep all of your hands warm. It can get icy on the stairs so boots with traction are helpful. Snow pants are highly recommended but not mandatory.
  • There are no “magic carpets” to get up the hills. That being said, the stairs are not all that bad and our kids were able to carry their tubes themselves the majority of the time. Little kids will need your help carrying their tubes up the stairs. Our 5-year-olds got tired of carrying their tubes after 45 minutes of tubing.
  • Get up immediately after going down the hill! We went with friends and our 5 year olds almost got taken out by other snow tubers. We needed to remind them to get up immediately and out of the way a bunch of times.
  • Start at the furthest hill and work your way back to the steeper ones as you all get used to the hills. Our 2- and 3-year-olds stayed on the little hills for the entire time and our 5-year-olds were brave and went to the biggest hills.
  • They only accept cash! Although Snowdrift has an ATM you’ll pay hefty fees. Be prepared to pay $6 for parking and $17 per person (or more if you choose to stay longer).

Important info:

  • The park is immediately before Snow Valley Mountain Resourt on Highway 18.
  • Website with directions (there is no address): www.snowdrift.net
  • Cost: $17 per person per hour. Children 36″ tall or under are free if accompanied by a paid adult. Parking is $6. Cash only!
  • Hours: Monday-Friday 10 am- 4 pm, Weekends and Holidays: 9 am-5 pm

Kelly Rafter
Blog Contributor

About the Author

Kelly and her husband have two little 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 community college and is an educational consultant.

 

Tucker Wildlife SanctuaryTucker Wildlife Sanctuary is another hidden gem in Orange County. Located in the heart of Modjeska Canyon, this sanctuary includes family-friendly nature trails, a bird observation porch, a sensory garden, and lots and lots of wildlife. They even have a wonderful Natural Science Center with interactive exhibits, live animals, animal taxidermy, and several children’s activities. This is an amazing place to visit with kids of all ages.

Inside the Natural Science Center

Inside the Natural Science Center

Things You Should Know:

  • The drive itself is quite an adventure. Just a few minutes after leaving Lake Forest, you start seeing horses in people’s backyards. Once we got closer to the Sanctuary we had to stop because several chickens were crossing the street. You totally feel like you are in another world.
  • There are several picnic tables just outside the nature center, so feel free to bring a picnic.
  • You can use a stroller to explore the Oakwood trail located across the street from the nature center. However, you will need a baby carrier to explore the sensory trail or the Chaparral trail which are the two trails next to the Natural Science Center.
  • The sensory garden can be walked easily by toddlers and preschoolers since it is really short.
  • The Chaparral Trail is short but it is a little steep, so your toddler might not like it. But give it a try. It is worth it. Preschoolers and older kids can easily walk this trail.
  • You can park across the street from the Natural Science Center for free.
  • There are lots of animals living in this area, so your kids can look for track casts along the trails. You can use this map to try to identify them.
Chapparal Trail

Chapparal Trail

Where:

Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary
29322 Modjeska Canyon
Silverado, CA, 92676

When:

Tuesday-Sunday 9am-4pm. Closed on Monday and major holidays.

Cost:

Free

Oakwood Trail across the street from the Natural Science Center

Trucks in Orange County

If your kids love trucks, they might have fun on this short adventure. On Construction Circle in Irvine, there are several businesses with lots of trucks coming and going. You will see lots of mixer trucks filling up at the three cement companies that are located in this area. You will also see lots of trash trucks dumping trash at one of the two Orange County Waste Management transfer stations. The trash will then be sorted by large skid steers and the non-recyclable items will get hauled to the landfill. There are also a couple of companies that rent heavy equipment, so you can see excavators, loaders, dozers, and more.

I want you to know that you cannot stop anywhere on this street. But just drive around slowly a couple of times so you can see the action.

Since it only takes a couple of minutes to drive around, I normally pair this adventure with a Costco stop next door. In fact, The District is only one block away where you can find Costco, Target, T.J. Max, Whole Foods, Lowe’s, Office Depot, PetSmart and lots of restaurants.

I know this is a silly outing and my husband suggested I didn’t share it. But I bet I can find at least one of you that has a kid that would like this…or so I hope.

Address:

The Waste Management address is 16122 Construction Cir. E, Irvine, CA 92606. You can Google this address and then you will find the other businesses on the same street.