In this issue:
- Disneyland Park
- Anaheim Resort District
- America's First Theme Park
- Discovery Science Center
- A museum for All Ages
- Where to stay
- Free Orange County
- Pick a beach
- A New Shopping Oasis
- Travel Deals
Welcome to the April issue of USATourist News Magazine. If you've ever been to Los Angeles you already know the area is extensive. There is so much to do and the neighborhoods and suburbs stretch for miles. Today we're going to visit Anaheim in Orange Country (OC) - the land of magic and so much more.
Tourist are oftentimes surprised to discover one of the area's most popular attractions, Disneyland, isn't in Los Angles, but rather Anaheim. Disneyland Park may not be as extensive as its Orlando counterpart but it is the original Disney property which makes it very special. At Disneyland you will find the "yesterday, fantasy and tomorrow" theme with timeless attractions and the typical Disney magic. Next door to Disneyland is Disney California Adventure Park, a 55-acre (22 ha) theme park divided into five California-themed areas: Sunshine Plaza, Hollywood Pictures Backlot, The Golden State, A Bug's Land and Paradise Pier. Expect upcoming improvements, California Adventure is currently in the process of a $1 billion facelift which is expected to be completed in 2012.
Get your tickets to Disneyland or California Adventure park online. Includes transportation from most Los Angeles Hotels.
Paradise Pier at Disney's California® Adventure Park is where you can find some traditional rides like Mickey's Fun Wheel Ferris wheel the California Screamin' roller coaster.
Anaheim Resort District
If it's been a few years since you've visited the Anaheim or Disneyland area, you will be surprised to see that drastic changes have occurred near the Disney properties. The area has rebranded itself as the Anaheim Resort District along with a $5 billion transformation. The now lush urban resort is 1,100-acres with palm tree-lined boulevards and a trolley service. The Anaheim Resort district includes Disneyland Park, Downtown Disney District, Disney's California Adventure and Anaheim Convention Center.
America's First Theme Park
What once started out as a family berry business has since developed into something enormous and continues to thrive today. Located in the Orange County town of Placentia this theme park is called Knott's Berry Farm and has been dubbed America's First Theme Park due to its early 1928 origins of serving fried chicken and customer entertainment. Originally, when the Knott's Berry Farm was family-run, the park grew slowly adding one attraction at a time, but today it's run by the large Cedar Fair Entertainment Company and the quiet skyline has been replaced with roller coasters and thrill rides. The park consists of six themed areas: Ghost Town, Fiesta Village, The Boardwalk, Camp Snoopy, Wild Water Wilderness and Indian Trails. The newest ride will be unveiled summer 2011. WindSeeker features 32, 2-person gondolas that will ascend up a tower to 301 feet. Once at the top, WindSeeker will spread its metal arms and swing riders for a 60 second flight. Get your Knott's Berry Farm tickets online.
Fun Fact: Both Knott's Berry Farm and Disneyland's founders had the same first name: Walt.
Discovery Science Center
Discovery Science Center (DSC) is a 59,000-square-foot facility geared toward children and their curious minds. You can't miss it as you drive down the freeway. "The Cube" is a 10-story-high, 108-foot giant cube sitting on one of its points. The center is divided into several themed areas: Perception, Dynamic Earth, Quake Zone, Science of Hockey, Space Exploration, and DinoQuest with 120 interactive exhibits which challenge and teach participants. Special events are offered year round, so be sure to check the site's schedule for current and upcoming happenings.
Bubblefest is one of the unique experiences at the Discovery Science Center that will thrill kids of all ages.
A museum for All Ages
Bowers Museum of Cultural Art was founded in 1936 and is one of California's largest, finest and most cherished museums. Recent renovations include the 30,000+ square-foot Dorothy and Donald Kennedy Wing. The nice thing about Bowers is there is something for every age and interest. If you're traveling with children, they will be interested in the interactive Kidseum, a museum and learning center. Adults can enjoy various exhibitions, travel programs, lectures, art classes and more. If you visit the first Sunday of the month, there is no admission fee.
Where to stay
Anaheim has a number of lodging opportunities all around the city, from four-star resorts to budget hotels.
Free Orange County
Like most large cities there are a number of free or low-cost attractions in Orange County. One of the highlights is the Angel Stadium Tour ($3 Adults/$2 Children) which offers a fun "behind-the-scenes" tour of the Press Box, Press Conference Room, Clubhouse and Dugout.
The Balboa Island Ferry is another classic attraction. The ferry has been in motion between Balboa Island in Newport Harbor and Balboa Peninsula since 1919. Balboa Island has approximately 70 boutiques, restaurants, and coffee houses.
Orange County Great Park Balloon Rides is a terrific way to see Orange County from a new perspective - about 400 feet high - and it's free! The helium (not hot-air) balloon is located in Preview Park.
The Fullerton Arboretum is a beautiful 26-acre botanical garden with ponds, streams and wildlife. Expect to see more than 4,000 unique plant species. Admission is free but donations are appreciated.
California is known for its marvelous produce and there is no better place to enjoy it than the bustling farmers markets. The Downtown Anaheim Farmers Market and Street Fair is open year-round on Thursdays (Intersection of W. Center St. Promenade and S. Lemon St.) and features more than 50 vendors, food and entertainment. Costa Mesa Farmers Market is one of the oldest markets in the area and is also open year-round on Thursdays (Located at Orange County Fairgrounds Parking Lot, 88 Fair Dr.). Fullerton Open Air Market is open on Thursdays but only between April and November. Find it at Downtown Fullerton Plaza, 121 E. Wilshire Ave.
Crystal Cove Beach is one of the many sandy destinations that can be enjoyed from sun up to sun down!
Pick a beach
California has an abundance of nice beaches and there are over 40 miles (64 km) of coastline in Orange County which means you don't have to drive far to feel the sand beneath your toes if you're staying in Anaheim. Check out any of these: Seal Beach, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Dana Point and San Clemente - and they're free!
A New Shopping Oasis
Anaheim GardenWalk is Orange County's newest shopping, dining and entertainment area with over 55 stores and a variety of popular restaurants such as Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., PF Changs, Bar Louie, The Cheesecake Factory and McCormick & Schmicks. Other entertainment includes movies at UltraStar Cinemas or the upscale bowling alley, 300 Anaheim.
Smart travelers avoid the lines by purchasing their tickets in advance online. Choose from over 25 attractions and tours from our partners at Viator.
Maps.com has your California Maps!
Written by: Elizabeth L. Blair
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