The 1,347-acre Orange County Great Park is located in the geographic center of Orange County in Irvine, Calif., on the former 4,682-acre Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, which was decommissioned in 1999. While the Orange County Great Park is not yet complete, the park has a few attractions, including:
- Tethered helium balloon that takes visitors up 400 feet into the air
- Farm + Food Lab
- Farmers market every Sunday from 10am-2pm (rain or shine)
- Walkable Timeline of 31 significant events of the 1940s
- ABC green home
- Palm Court Arts Complex
- Museum of Heritage & Aviation (MoHA)
- Kids Rock Playground
- Frisbee golf and lighted soccer fields (free equipment checkouts at the Visitors Center)
There are many future plans for the OC Great Park, but Orange County 99 lucky plant-loving households will love the Community Garden (adjacent to the Farm + Food Lab). The 99-plot garden (including six ADA-compliant lots) is available through lottery and will be available to Orange County residents in the summer of 2013. In future park expansions, the park also plans to build a botanical garden with native Southern California flora and fauna, and a manmade canyon and lake.
Those not lucky enough to get a garden plot can still enjoy The Farm + Food Lab, which is a hands-on gardening experience, featuring themed planters with fruits, flowers, vegetables, herbs. The Farm + Food Lab is maintained by the University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners. In 2011, the Farm + Food Lab received a $750,000 donation From ScottsMiracle-Gro for the Park’s agricultural programs, including $500,000 in financial support and $250,000 in products, such as Scotts Whitney Farms and Organic Choice garden products, to be donated over the five-year agreement. The Farm + Food Lab is the location of free The Great Park Garden Workshops led by University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of Orange County. Workshops include “Tantalizing Tomatoes!” “Saving the Bountiful Harvest,” “Warm Season Vegetables,” Integrated Pest Management” and many more, including children’s workshops. The lab also harvests its own food and donates it to the Orange County Food Bank. In 2009, the Farm + Food Lab donated about 3,000 pounds of organic onions.
OC Great Park Quick Info
There is currently no address for the Orange County Great Park. Check the park website for directions.
Open daily (check website for regular hours and special holiday hours)
Watch this video to learn more about the Orange County Great Park's plan and design.