Open to the public, the Balloon Park prototypes the kinds of spaces, programs, and features that reflect the Orange County Great Park’s dedication towards historical preservation, sustainable practices, and family-friendly activities.
Recycled runway concrete, a bio-swale, low water turf, solar lighting, citrus plantings, and native shade trees, can be found throughout the landscape’s design.
|Great Park Balloon
Thursday–Friday: 10 am–3 pm, 7 pm–10 pm
Saturday–Sunday: 9 am–3 pm, 7 pm–10 pm
The Great Park Balloon is the Orange County Great Park’s iconic attraction. With the ability to hold up to 25 to 30 passengers and soar 400 feet above the surrounding landscape, it serves as a public observation deck for the Great Park’s development and offers an unmatched 360° view that spans 40 miles on a clear day.
Beginning November 8, 2013 and continuing through January 5, 2014, the Great Park is introducing holiday pricing for the Great Park Balloon. The holiday pricing means all children 16 years old and younger fly for free on the Great Park Balloon with a paid accompanying adult. Flights for visitors 17 years old and up remain $10.
Great Park Carousel
Featuring hand-painted artwork inspired by vintage orange crate labels and Orange County scenes, the Great Park Carousel is a favorite for kids of all ages. Rides on the Great Park Carousel are approximately two minutes long, reaching a top speed of 4.5 mph. Carrying up to 36 passengers, the Carousel is also wheelchair-accessible.
Beginning November 8, 2013 and continuing through January 5, 2014, the Great Park is introducing holiday pricing for the Great Park Carousel. The holiday pricing means all-day passes for rides on the Great Park Carousel will cost $3 per day. Single ride tickets will remain $2.
Ticket purchase and check-in is required at the Visitors Center. Riders under 42” must be accompanied by an adult. Availability to ride is on a first-come, first-serve basis, and may be subject to weather conditions.
Check out Free Sports Equipment at the Visitors Center
You can check out a football, soccer ball, Bocce ball set, Frisbee or jump rope and play on the many acres of open lawn around the Great Park.
Palm Court Arts Complex
Farmers Market Free Parking!
|Farm + Food Lab
Open daily from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., the Farm + Food Lab is a hands-on gardening experience, featuring themed planters with fruits, flowers, vegetables and herbs. A “Pizza and Spaghetti Garden,” for example, shows how ingredients and toppings look before they are made into sauce. Other themes include: an “Ethnic Garden,” “Fruit Salad Garden,” and a “Sensory Garden.” The Farm + Food Lab is maintained by the University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners. We love groups of 6 or more and are happy to accommodate them, however, please RSVP by calling 949-724-7416 to ensure we have the right amount of resources and supplies.
Museum of Heritage & Aviation (MoHA)
Walkable Historical Timeline
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some questions and answers that might help you plan your visit. We’ll be adding more popular topics in the near future. For further assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact the Visitors Center (see below).
The Park is conveniently located off the 5 or 405 freeways at San Canyon Avenue and Marine Way in Irvine. More info
There is a $10 parking charge for some of the Great Park’s largest events, such as the Great Park Pumpkin Harvest and Flights and Sounds Summer Festival.
Check our events listings for details on parking charges.
Beginning November 8, 2013 and continuing through January 5, 2014, the Great Park is introducing holiday pricing for the Great Park Balloon and Carousel. The holiday pricing means all children 16 years old and younger fly for free on the Great Park Balloon with a paid accompanying adult and an all-day pass for Carousel rides can be purchased for $3 per day. Flights for visitors 17 years old and up remain $10.
Beginning November 8, 2013 and continuing through January 5, 2014, holiday pricing for flights on the Great Park Balloon are in effect.
• Adults 17 and older: $10
• Children 16 and under: Free with paid accompanying adult
Beginning November 8, 2013 and continuing through January 5, 2014, an all-day pass for rides on the Great Park Carousel can be purchased for $3 per day. Single ride tickets can be purchased for $2.
The Great Park Balloon is open to all ages and is wheelchair accessible (dogs are also welcome). To ride the Great Park Balloon, check in at the Visitors Center when you arrive. All flights are on a first-come, first-served basis, and dependent on current wind and weather conditions. More info
The Great Park Carousel is open to visitors of all ages and is wheelchair accessible. Riders under 42” must be accompanied by an adult. To ride the Great Park Carousel, check in at the Visitors Center when you arrive.
The Park currently does not have bike or jogging paths; however the next phase of development will include expanded access routes for bicycles and pedestrians.
The Great Park is open to the public and amenities are available on a first-come, first-served basis during Park hours. Please note that there are a limited number of picnic tables. Visitors are welcome to have a small gathering if it does not include the following listed items: BBQ grills, inflatable bounce houses, tents larger than 10x10, or sound amplification systems are not permitted for these types of gatherings.
For information regarding site rental for large private or public special events, please visit our Site Rentals website.
Dogs are allowed at the Great Park, including in most areas of our special events. You can even take your dog for a ride on the Great Park Balloon. Dogs must be on a leash at all times. Bags are provided for picking up after your pet.
Smoking is prohibited in all areas of the Great Park.
While the Great Park does not have a formal field trip program at this time, the Park does offer some conveniences to help arrange for group visits. Limited group reservations for the Balloon are available from 10:00 A.M.–2:00 P.M. on Thursdays, weather permitting, and can be made by contacting (949) 724-7418.
Art + Language at MCAS El Toro
Phantoms Phorever: Art + Language at MCAS El Toro is an exhibition that investigates the relationship between twentieth century art and popular culture by showcasing the work of six photographer/archeologists who comprise the Legacy Project. The arresting oversize photographs in this exhibition depict found site specific art works made between 1943 and 1999.
These images, reproduced on vinyl and installed in the Great Park Visitors Center, were created by U.S. Marines serving under demanding circumstances and subsequently documented by fellow artists connected with the Orange County Great Park Legacy Project in the course of innumerable photographic surveys of the 4700 acre El Toro site. The photographs selected for this exhibition were culled from the Legacy Project archive of nearly 200,000 images of El Toro air base as it transitions into the first great metropolitan park of the 21st century.
Phantoms Phorever: Art + Language at MCAS El Toro celebrates the memory of Jerry Burchfield (1947-2009), Legacy Group co-founder, and honors co-founders Mark Chamberlin and Clayton Spada as well as Jacques Garnier, Robert Johnson and Douglas McCulloh for their eagerness to journey into the artistic equivalent of harm’s way for nearly a decade while ranging through MCAS El Toro’s hangars, runways and support buildings with cameras at the ready.