Hotspots in Buena Park, CA
Your family can climb aboard this swashbuckling adventure while rooting for your section’s pirate and dining on a set menu. The show is packed with action, adventure, and plenty of sword duals, but be warned that loud cannon booms and cheering and shouting may upset sound-sensitive little ones. Show is geared towards kids of any age, but may be better for kids five and up.
Nestled in the California Marketplace adjacent to Knott's Theme Park, this exact replica of Independence Hall will take you on a journey back in time. Free admission gives you and your brood access to historic artifacts, an audio presentation of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and an up close view of a replica of the enormous Liberty Bell. While a gift shop filled with history-related souvenirs can be found inside, you and your family may have just as much fun copping a seat on the benches alongside a pond just outside watching ducks, roosters and chickens roam freely. And, you can find free parking next to the marketplace new TGI Friday's for up to three hours.
Knott’s Berry Farm is one of the original theme parks in Southern California, famous for its thrill-seeking and family-friendly rides and, believe it or not, it's berry jams too! There is a Camp Snoopy kids’ section for the little ones and plenty of scream-inducing roller coasters for your oldest offspring. The park is also abundant with trees, waterfalls, and shady areas if you need to take a rest from that hot California sunshine. Remember to hit the string of shops just outside the park gates and pick up souvenirs or dine at the popular Chicken Dinner Restaurant.
Cool off from the summer heat at Knott's Soak City Water Park. Featuring high-speed slides, two children's play areas, a lazy river, raft rides and more, this Southern California water park, across from Knott's Berry Farm, has something for everyone in your family. To avoid crowds and long lines on the rides, get there before 2 p.m. when the masses begin to assemble or plan your visit for a Monday when attendance is lowest. Shade is also limited, so you may want to consider renting a cabana if you have little ones.
Looking for an activity where shouting and eating with your hands is encouraged? Then Medievel Times is just for you and your rowdy family. With a jousting-themed show and feast fit for a king, you'll cheer on your section's knight and feel like royalty. Be sure to scower the Internet for coupons, because the price can be a little high. But, for the amount of fun you get in one meal the price is well worth it. Note that families with little ones will probably want to buy tykes their own seat, because there is limited room to hold them.
Shooting pool isn't the first thing you think of when planning family outings. But at Aloha Family Billiards, as the name implies, all ages are welcome. The ambience is clean and wholesome, but adults can still sip a beer while they play. Prices are low -- $5 an hour before 7 p.m. And kids love to improve their cue skills. With its all-ages vibe and local flavor, it's a bit reminiscent of a British pub. They also have snacks, a jukebox, and video games for a well-rounded entertainment selection.
At Ralph B. Clark Regional Park, families can enjoy the mild weather and natural beauty of Orange County. Nestled close to the Coyote Hills, the park spans 105 acres and offers grassy fields, lush rolling hills and steep sandstone cliffs. And you can experience the full range of outdoor activities: It has baseball fields, horsehoe pits, barbecues, shady picnic areas, tennis courts, and a playground for tots, as well as fishing in a three-acre lake and amazing hiking trails. Get away from it all, and enjoy a day of relaxation and exercise with the family.
Yes, pirate dinner theater is pretty silly. And that's a plus. This local entertainment staple is a delightfully over-the-top melange of modern jokes, swinging between masts, swordplay, princesses, romance, and pirates in outrageous attire. (There's also a “gypsy” trapeze artist.) The show starts in the lobby, where appetizers are handed you; you follow your designated pirate to the pirate ship area. You'll be served a standard meal of soup, salad, chicken or pork and dessert. If kids like seeing pirates on the big screen, they'll love watching them up close and in person. Buy a beer or cocktail to help get yourself into the spirit.
An outing with the kids is the perfect excuse to check out Medieval Times... but once there, adults will also love the swordplay, pageantry and hearty fare. The main event of the evening is jousting and other tests of skill between six knights – each table gets assigned a team to cheer for. The fight is woven into a tale of medieval romance; you'll also get introduced to the royal court and witness feats of horse showmanship and falconry. Admission gets you an everything-included dinner—soup, focaccio, roasted chicken and dessert (adult beverages are extra; vegetarian options are available). And for the morbid, there's a medieval torture museum.
For Californians, the chance to ice skate outdoors is rare. So you'll want to take advantage of Buena Park's holiday-season ice rink, located downtown at the mall. The rink stays up from late November to the end of January, and provides kids and adults alike a chance to show off their moves. Try out your pirouettes and figure-8s-- or at least try to stay upright. The rink uses eco-friendly synthetic ice and stays open until 11 or later most nights. The combination of lights, music and joyful kids provides a magical holiday atmosphere.