I've lived in Orange County for all but five years of my life and Rebecca was absolutely right: The Real Housewives are not an accurate representation of life in The OC. I would also like to go on record by stating that I don't own a single piece of bedazzled clothing. Not one! I have no idea where those women shop. Now that I've defended my reputation, let's continue noting all that Orange County has to offer.
Our newest children's museum is, in a word, awesome. It's set up like a small city (obviously) with everything from a library, doctor's office, grocery store, beach, gas station, farm, marina, construction site and more.They offer daily "Good to Go" activities which can range from a story time to a visit from local firefighters. For locals they hold regular developmental screenings, and parenting classes, as well as classes for children like music, dance and art.
While I tend to think of this as the perfect one stop shop (there's a Target, Nordstrom and an Anthropologie, all in one place) this open air shopping center offers so much more. There are two splash fountains for the kids, many restaurants, a movie theater, carousel and giant ferris wheel.
While they have the worst name in baseball (The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) I have a soft spot in my heart for this team since my husband and I met at an Angel game eight years ago this summer. Hot dogs, popcorn, sodas, peanuts and ice cream in a baseball hat to top off the evening while cheering for the home team as the sun sets is one of my favorite family activies and makes a great date night, too.If you go on a Friday night, there are fireworks following the game.
While obvious, I couldn't leave Disneyland off of a list of Orange County fun. Yes, it can be hot and crowded in the summer, but if you plan your day right it can still be a lot of fun. (Insider tip: If you're traveling with little kids, hit Peter Pan first. The line gets long, quickly, and it's the best ride in Fantasyland.) If you need to cool off during the day, hit up the splash fountains in California Adventure, or ride Splash Mountain (Disneyland) or Grizzly River Run (California Adventure.) I highly recommend enjoying dinner on the dock to Tom Sawyer's Island while simultaneously staking out a spot for Disneyland's Fantasmic.
I love Orange County through and through and could sing its praises all day long.
(Photos from: pretendcity.org, shopirvinespectrum.com, disneyland.disney.go.com)