The Balboa Island Ferry is a really fun way to get back and forth between charming Balboa Island and the Newport Peninsula by the Fun Zone. You can enter the ferry by car, bike or walking. It’s very affordable, prices range from kids under 5 are free, to $2.00 per vehicle. It’s really a short trip across the harbor (under 800 feet) and it’s definitely a more fun way to get from one side to the other. Both sides of the ferry offer a variety of interesting shops, restaurants and sight seeing within walking distance. I’ve been taking the ferry since I was a little girl spending my summers on Balboa Island, and now it’s a highlight for my daughter on every trip to Balboa Island!!
The Home Depot FREE Kids Workshops became a standing monthly daddy/daughter date for my husband and our daughter. The workshops are on the first Saturday of the month, and are on a first come, first served basis from 9:00a-12:00p. They do ask you to register on line so they can better plan their craft kit quantities, however you don’t need to be registered to participate. Sooo, don’t wait until 11:45a to show up, because once the materials are gone, there gone!! (and yes that has happened to us)!
Even though the workshops are geared as "do-it-yourself" for kids ages 5-12, I do know that my daughter always needs help from daddy to finish the project. Each workshop is also designed to teach kids tool safety. The kids receive a certificate of completion, a free orange Home Depot apron, and a commemorative pin.
My daughter comes home with some adorable crafts that I still use around our home. My favorite was a Mother’s Day wheelbarrow that had a flowerpot inside. It still sits in my kitchen window!!
Super fun one-on-one time for parents and kids!! *bonus: the orange Home Depot aprons still get used at home quite a bit for painting and other craft projects!!
This place is modern and full of fun for the kids. The first thing I noticed (which most moms may) is that there is some great fragrance being pumped out in the lobby which is a welcome greeting vs. the sweaty, gym smell of hot kids on trampolines.
There are tons of areas for kids to run and jump and it includes smaller areas for kids that are younger. My 7 year old jumped in the big arena, shot hoops, scaled the rock wall, jousted with rubber pads, and played dodge ball.
There is a snack area including lots of sugar and pizza. There are quite a few rooms with picnic tables for eating as a big group, or joining others. Several benches are scattered throughout the area for parents. It was a great place to spend several hours on a hot summer morning.
My two older kids took a class this last semester specifically geared to homeschoolers to learn hands-on science and research. They were given a research topic - which was studying the organisms in the creek as it changed through the year. They went one day a month and spent about 4 hours on site. Their instructor, Scott, taught them well and helped them with learning how to research their topic.
The grounds are beautiful and full of woods and birds. There are many classes that are offered to students and to the public. The only downside to this place is that it can be difficult to drive over the rutted road that starts in Dove Canyon. It is a 1 lane road with several potholes and dips.
I look forward to participating in future classes, either as a family on Saturdays, or taking my kids to learn. Their experience, face-to-face with the nature that is in SoCal is very valuable.
Pumpkin City has been an annual tradition in our family since my daughter was…well, 7 months old! It’s definitely one of the more carnival type pumpkin patches complete with mechanical rides, fair type food, live animals, game booths, bounce houses and pony rides. There are also a lot of fall styled backdrops for photo ops scattered around.
It also has a very large pumpkin patch, but the pumpkins, along with everything else are not cheap. I wouldn’t go without Groupon, or the flyers that come in the mail with discounts on ride tokens, etc. Even then be prepared to spend a lot of cash!
The ride operators are pretty easy going and if there is no line, then they will let your kids ride around a lot longer than they would if other kids where waiting.
Parking and entrance are free, that’s a bonus. Even though my daughter is getting a little too old for the pony & train rides, it’s still a family fun night and we will continue to visit for a few more years.