Tag Archives: parks

Taking the Party Outside, OC-Style

Taking the Party Outside, OC-Style Three million people can’t be wrong. Orange County offers a near-perfect climate and a variety of recreational areas for family outdoor activities. Listed below in alphabetical order are some of playparty.net’s favorite Orange County parks — great venues for the Best LEGO Party or Ultimate Race Car Party for your kid’s birthday celebration.

Carbon Canyon Regional Park, Brea

Image from Dianne S on Yelp

Voted the “Best Picnic Spot in Orange County”, Carbon Canyon Regional Park boasts 124 acres and is located upstream of the Carbon Canyon Dam.

Sixty acres are developed and include large, grassy areas for picnicking, sports facilities, and a lake with two piers for fishing. Trees are everywhere — sycamores, eucalyptus, Canary Island pines and pepper trees provide plenty of shade.

The undeveloped area features a trail that leads to a majestic sight — the only grove of Coastal Redwoods in Orange County.

Ralph B Clark Regional Park, Buena Park

Image by Ron B on Yelp

Nestled at the foot of the Coyote Hills, 105-acre Ralph B. Clark Regional Park features large shaded picnic areas, hiking and biking trails, and children’s playgrounds. For sports enthusiasts, there are tennis courts, sand volleyball courts, softball fields and a baseball diamond.

Children of all ages are welcome to fish in the stocked three-acre lake. The award-winning Interpretive Center displays a glimpse into Orange County’s prehistoric past.

Ted Craig Regional Park, Fullerton

Image from ocparks.com
Image from ocparks.com

Ted Craig Regional Park offers 124 acres of beauty and serenity, with rolling hills, a variety of mature trees, open space, year-round creeks and a rose garden. Walkways, picnic tables and park benches are scattered throughout the park.

A small lake is visited by annual migratory waterfowl. Fishing for catfish and bluegill is allowed with a California Fish and Game License.

In addition to bicycle and hiking trails, the park has softball fields, a baseball field and a sports complex with basketball, volleyball, and racquetball / handball courts and horseshoe pits.

Irvine Regional Park, Orange

Image from Les S on yelp.com

The rolling foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains surround 475-acre Irvine Regional Park. Heritage oak and sycamore trees create relaxing, shaded spaces. Santiago Creek bisects the park, and a lake with a stonework waterfall and footbridge is located at the center.

Picnic tables and barbecues are scattered throughout the park with convenient parking and restroom facilities nearby. A paved bicycle / walking trail meanders through the park, providing easy access to playgrounds, softball fields and horseshoe pits. A three-mile equestrian trail on the perimeter provides scenic views of the park.

With fishing, paddle boats, a train and the OC Zoo, Irvine Regional Park has something for everyone.

William R Mason Regional Park, Irvine

Image from Matt M on yelp.com
Image from Matt M on yelp.com

Voted the “Best Park for Kids” by OC Weekly, Mason Regional Park has three tot lots with jungle gyms. Situated on 345 acres, the park has plenty of green grass so kids can cut loose; rows of trees offer shade and a place for them to catch their breath.

The park features picnic areas, a physical fitness course, a softball back stop, sand volleyball courts, bicycle paths and a wilderness hiking area. Visitors can sail model boats on the nine-acre lake.

Mile Square Regional Park, Fountain Valley

Image from ocparks.com
Image from ocparks.com

Mile Square Regional Park, a former practice landing field for the military, encompasses 607 acres.

Its expanse includes fields for soccer, softball and baseball; courts for basketball, tennis and volleyball; three golf courses; two lakes for fishing; and an archery range. And of course, there are many grassy areas for picnicking. It’s the perfect park for you and your family.

Tri-City Regional Park, Placentia

Image from Alzel A on Yelp

The 40-acre Tri-City Park is located in the City of Placentia, borders the City of Fullerton and is less than a quarter-mile from the City of Brea.

Barbecues, picnic tables and benches are scattered throughout the park. Recreational opportunities include playgrounds, bicycling, walking, model sailboating and fishing.

The park is also a wildlife sanctuary and a popular birdwatching destination. Flocks of migratory waterfowl visit the park’s eight-acre lake every year.

Yorba Regional Park, Anaheim

Image from ocparks.com
Image from ocparks.com

Located at the mouth of Santa Ana Canyon, Yorba Regional Park is over one mile long and offers 140 acres of family relaxation. Four lakes and connecting streams provide opportunities for fishing and model boat sailing. Bicycle trails wander through the park and meet up with the Santa Ana River Trail, leading some 20 miles to the Pacific Ocean.

Playgrounds, picnic tables, barbecue stations and restrooms can be found throughout the park. Volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, two ball diamonds and a physical fitness course are also available.

Hike. Fly a kite. Throw a Frisbee. Walk around with a camera or sketchpad. Or take a nap under the shade of a tree. However you define “down time”, you’ll find it at Yorba Regional Park.

♥          ♥          ♥

And in the evening, when your child murmurs, “Thanks, Mom. Thanks, Dad. My birthday was awesome!”, before dropping off  to sleep, you’ll feel like this — serene, grateful and oh so happy.

Image by Justin M.

Happiness Isn’t Measured in Dollars: Fun and Frugal Birthday Parties

birthday-party-park_655w-web

The U.S. economy is steadily expanding but for many workers, paychecks barely keep ahead of inflation. During these financially challenging times, smart moms and dads carefully monitor household spending.

A birthday party needn’t be an extravagant affair.  You can create a fun and fabulous event for your child at a reasonable cost.  Here are a few tips from playparty.net.

1. Sharpen your pencil; be realistic. Figure out how much you can afford to spend on the party. Then, stick to your budget.

2. Use your home or another low-cost location as the party venue. For example, the neighborhood park is free and offers plenty of space for the kids to play.

3. Consider scheduling the party on a week day. Ask prospective vendors if they offer discounts for events held between Monday and Friday. (Hint: playparty.net’s Mid-Week Discount saves you $50.)

4. Before selecting a time for the party, think about the type of refreshments you’ll serve. Does your budget permit you to provide a meal? Or are snacks a better fit? Meals are appropriate for parties held between 11 AM and 1 PM or between 4 PM and 6 PM. If the party is scheduled for mid-morning or mid-afternoon, snacks may be sufficient and acceptable.

5. Send invitations electronically if you have email addresses for all of your guests or their parents. (Hint: Check out paperlesspost.com, evite.com and punchbowl.com.) Not only will you save on postage and stationery, but on-line services make it easy to track RSVP’s and send reminders.

6. Try to prepare most of the refreshments yourself. (Hint: Don’t be afraid to ask family members for help. Your child’s favorite auntie would probably be thrilled to make the birthday cupcakes.)

7. Purchase food, such as crackers, pretzels or fresh fruit and vegetables, in bulk.

8. Serve beverages, such as juice or soda, from large bottles instead of purchasing individual-sized containers.

9. If possible, use items that you already have at home as part of the decorations.

10. Buy decorations and other party supplies from a discount store.

11. Prizes and party favors are optional. If you choose to provide them, keep in mind that they needn’t be elaborate or expensive.

12. Use paper bags to hold party favors. During the party, have guests decorate the bags.

13. If your child wants to celebrate his/her birthday at an amusement park, allow him/her to invite just one special friend.

14. Remember what’s most important about marking your child’s birthday — honoring his special place in the family, and reminding her how much she is loved.  Savor the sweetness of the day.

 

Contact us for more birthday party tips and to book the Best LEGO Party or the Ultimate Race Car Party .

playparty.net loves Torrance City Parks

For nearly all of his life, Mike Southgate, founder of playparty.net, has called the South Bay of Los Angeles “home”.

After he got married, Mike and his wife had two daughters.  They chose to continue to live in the South Bay.   As a husband and father, Mike has developed an even deeper appreciation for Torrance’s family-friendly environment.

“Torrance offers recreational activities for kids of all ages — year-round sports, outdoor movies during the summer, The ATTIC Teen Center.  And of course, we have so many beautiful parks with wide-open spaces.”

Parents often ask Mike about having a Best LEGO Party or Ultimate Race Car Party at a Torrance City park.  He tells Moms and Dads to visit the Park Information page and skim through the Map of City Parks, the Park Amenities Grid and the FAQs.

Mike adds, “There are a few things to consider.  First, not all of the parks have restrooms and for a kid’s birthday party, you’ll want the convenience of a nearby bathroom.  Second, some parks offer reservable picnic areas while others do not, and lastly, the limit on the number of guests is different for each park.”

Want to have your playparty.net event at a Torrance City Park?  Here are Mike’s top spots in alphabetical order.

 

Alta Loma Park, 26126 Delos Drive, Torrance 90505

Alta_Loma

Located on 5.5 acres, Alta Loma Park is an accessible venue with spectacular views of Torrance and the South Bay area.  Fittingly, its name means “rising ground” or “high hill”.  Previously used as a sand and gravel pit, the park now shelters a flock of wild peacocks.

Alta Loma has a pleasant picnic area with tables, benches and BBQs.  Reservations are not accepted so seating is first-come, first-served and the maximum capacity is 25 guests.  An open meadow provides ample space for setting-up LEGO stations or race car tracks, and restrooms are located next to the playground.

Other amenities include a recreation building, a basketball hoop and a quarter-mile walking path.  With just one park entrance/exit, it’s easy for parents to keep an eye on their little ones.

 

Columbia Park, 4045 190th Street, Torrance 90504

Columbia

Columbia Park, the largest (52 acres) park in Torrance, was named after the Columbia Broadcasting Company because of its on-site radio tower.

The park is accessible and offers reservable picnic areas (capacity for 400 guests), BBQs, restrooms, a gazebo, a playground and an open grassy area.

Additional features are a 1.33-mile exercise path and facilities for soccer, softball, youth baseball, bocce, sand volleyball and horseshoes.  The park also boasts an amphitheater, a 125-plot community garden and a grove of 110 cherry trees.

 

El Nido Park, 18301 Kingsdale Avenue, Redondo Beach 90278

El_Nido

El Nido (“the nest”) Park sits on 12.3 acres in Northeast Torrance.  The reservable picnic area (capacity for 300 guests) offers BBQs and plenty of shade.

El Nido is accessible and includes restrooms, a large playground, basketball and volleyball courts, softball and soccer fields, horseshoe pits, and a community building with a meeting room and kitchen.

 

El Retiro Park, 126 Vista del Parque, Redondo Beach 90277

El_Retiro

Situated on an old 4.8-acre tree nursery, El Retiro (“the retreat”) Park serves South Torrance neighborhoods and abuts the El Retiro Branch Library.  The park has a reservable picnic area (capacity for 50 guests), BBQs and restrooms, as well as a rotunda, a playground, a small softball field, a basketball court, tennis courts and two recreation buildings.

 

Paradise Park, 5006 Lee Street, Torrance 90503

Paradise

Located next to Anza Elementary School in West Torrance, 4.7-acre Paradise Park is often the site of picnics and school activities.  Its name was selected from entries in a park-naming contest for local school children.  When Sepulveda Elementary School closed, a 70-foot mosaic sidewalk made by Sepulveda students was donated to the park.

Paradise Park has a sheltered, reservable picnic area (capacity for 50 guests) with BBQs and restrooms.  Other amenities include basketball and tennis courts, and three sets of playground equipment.

 

Torrance Park, 2002 Santa Fe Avenue, Torrance 90501

Torrance

Torrance Park was built between 1932 and 1934, and is the City’s first public park.  Tranquil and majestic, the park features paths and plantings arranged in the formal, historical style.  Neatly trimmed hedges and a charming rose garden distinguish it from parks of more recent vintage.

Torrance Park encompasses 10.2 acres in the South East section of the City.  Along with tall shady trees, it has secluded picnic niches with BBQs for small groups and for bigger groups, a spacious, partially-covered picnic area with more than 20 tables.  The large picnic area includes a band shell with plenty of spectator seating and handicapped access.  Reservations are accepted (capacity for 300 guests) and restrooms are available.

The park also has a baseball field, a small rock climbing wall, a 1955 fire engine truck, a basketball court and horseshoe pits.

 

Victor Park, 4727 Emerald Street, Torrance 90503

Victor

Victor Park’s 6.6 acres border the Isabel Henderson Library and contain a reservable picnic area (capacity for 50 guests), BBQs and restrooms.  A one-fifth mile jogging path encircles a large open grassy area in the middle of the park.  Victor Park is accessible and also offers a basketball court, sand volleyball court and softball diamond. To the delight of Victor Elementary School students and the local community, the playground equipment was recently updated.

 

Walteria Park, 3855 242nd Street, Torrance 90505

Walteria

Walteria Park consists of 4.5 acres in South Torrance and is located on land that used to be a celery field.  The park’s namesake is Captain A. Richard Walters who moved to the area in the 1880s and built the Walters Hotel on the road connecting the Redondo Beach salt works with the San Pedro harbor.

Walteria has two picnic areas, the larger of which is sheltered, reservable (capacity for 50 guests), and adjacent to the playground.  A joyful sky scene mural by painter Jo Ann Citrowski wraps around the picnic tables.  Amenities also include BBQs and restrooms.

The park is accessible and contains a softball diamond, tennis court, basketball court, handball wall, and horseshoe pit.  A recreational building with a kitchen is used for preschool programs and senior citizen recreation activities, and may also be rented by the community.

 

Wilson Regional Park, 2200 Crenshaw Boulevard, Torrance 90501

Wilson

Charles H. Wilson Regional Park is situated on 44 acres, which formerly housed a United States Naval Annex.  The land was purchased from the Federal Government with the assistance of former Congressman Charles H. Wilson, for whom the park is named.

Originally envisioned as a “central park for all people”, the park is accessible and enjoys a variety of uses.  Facilities include:  four softball diamonds that double as soccer or flag football fields; two outdoor basketball courts; two sand volleyball courts; two paddle tennis courts; eight horseshoe courts; three tennis courts; a universally accessible tree house, an amphitheater and gazebo; a pond; a shy-one mile walking/jogging path; a state-of-the-art roller hockey rink; batting cages; and playground equipment.

Reservable and non-reservable picnic areas are plentiful (capacity for 1,000 guests), as are BBQs and restrooms.

Wilson Park contains the Dee Hardison Sports Center, named after the former Mayor of Torrance.  The Sports Center features a gymnasium, two basketball and volleyball courts, a multi-purpose room and a landscaped patio/plaza.

(Photo Credits:  City of Torrance)

 

What’s Next?

Race Car DriverVisit us again soon for more birthday party ideas.  Book your Best LEGO Party or Ultimate Race Car Party now in San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles or San Fernando Valley with playparty.net, Southern California’s premier provider of children’s birthday party entertainment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

San Diego Public Parks: Perfect for a Child’s Birthday Party

Do you live in San Diego?  Are you planning a birthday party for your son or daughter? Lucky you!  Blessed with sunshine, blue skies and warm temperatures, San Diego has the perfect climate for an outdoor children’s birthday party.

Whether you live in the city or San Diego’s North County, East County or South Bay,
Playparty.net will bring the birthday party entertainment to you.  We can set-up the Best LEGO Party  or the Ultimate Race Car Party at your home—  in your front yard, back yard or patio— your neighborhood recreation center or your favorite park.

The City, County and Port of San Diego offer a number of pretty, kid-centric public parks with playgrounds, expansive lawns,  picnic areas and restrooms.  We’ve put together a list of parks that would make great settings for the Best LEGO Party or Ultimate Race Car Party.  Take a look.  One of these may be ideal for your child’s birthday celebration.

For information about park use permits, fees and rules, click on the park’s name.

NORTH COUNTY

Felicita County Park, Escondido.  Nestled in a small valley in southwest Escondido, Felicita County Park offers trails, playgrounds and seven reservable picnic sites on 53 acres of dense oak groves and grassy play areas. History buffs appreciate that Felicita was originally occupied by the Kumeyaay people and that it’s listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. Felicita
San Dieguito County Park, Del Mar.  San Dieguito is a 125-acre County Park in Del Mar with four reservable picnic areas, barbecue grills, large open lawn areas, playgrounds and pavilions.  San Dieguito is proud to be the home of Miracle Field, a fully accessible baseball field that accommodates children and adults with special needs.  S Dieguito

 LA JOLLA

Kellogg Park.  Kellogg is a large grassy park at La Jolla Shores beach. With a family-friendly atmosphere, Kellogg Park offers a playground, picnic table, and ample space for children to run and play.  (Photo from San Diego Coast Life Gallery)
Kellogg Med

 BALBOA PARK

Considered one of the Best Parks in the World, Balboa Park features more than 1,000 lushly planted acres with gardens, museums, performing arts venues, the San Diego Zoo and other cultural and recreational attractions.  Truly, Balboa Park has something for everyone.  Any spot in the park is a great place for a picnic, but we suggest Pepper Grove and Redwood Circle as sites for your child’s birthday party.

Pepper Grove.  Pepper Grove was named for the trees that shade the picnic area.  With a large playground, grassy turf and 15 picnic tables, Pepper Grove is perfect for family events.  Pepper Gr
Redwood Circle.  A popular venue for picnics and weddings, Redwood Circle has a large lawn area with numerous shade trees and several picnic tables.  Redwood Cir

MISSION BAY

Mission Bay Park is the largest man-made aquatic park in the United States.  At 4,235 acres, the park is about half land and half water.  The park includes playgrounds and paths for walking or jogging.  It’s a wonderful place to picnic, fly a kite or sail a model yacht.  Fire rings enable visitors to cook out and stay warm.  The Park and Recreation Department boasts that Mission Bay Park has 14 “best sites for picnics”.    In this post, we highlight four locations–  Crown Point, Mission Point, Vacation Isle and Ventura Cove.

Crown Point.  Crown Point North has a picnic shelter, picnic tables, barbecue grills, fire rings, and an area for swimming.  Crown Point Middle is a large grassy park near the water with picnic tables, barbecue grills and fire rings.  Crown Point South features a large sandy beach with a smaller grass area; amenities include picnic tables, barbecue grills and fire rings.  (Photo from San Diego Coast Life Gallery) Crown Pt Med
Mission Point.  Mission Point has picnic tables, park benches, a path for jogging or bike riding, a playground and fire rings.  A swimming area is also available.  (Photo from San Diego Coast Life Gallery) Mission Pt Med
Vacation Isle.  Vacation Isle East and Vacation Isle West offer sandy beaches, grassy park areas, trees for shade, picnic tables and fire rings.  In addition, Vacation Isle East has a picnic gazebo.  (Photo from San Diego Coast Life Gallery) Vacation Med
Ventura Cove.  Ventura Cove has picnic tables, benches and fire rings, as well as an area for swimming.  (Photo from San Diego Coast Life Gallery) Ventura Med

PRESIDIO PARK

Mission Hills Park also known as Pioneer Park.  Mission Hills Park dates back to the late 19th century when it was  one of the first cemeteries in San Diego.  Original tombstones still stand in a corner of the park and a plaque commemorates the pioneers buried there.  The park features a playground and a large grassy area.  Nowadays, it’s a lively and lovely spot where children play, friends picnic and neighbors walk their dogs.  Mission Hills

 CORONADO

Coronado Tidelands Park.  Coronado Tidelands is a large family-friendly park on San Diego Bay.  It has a small sandy beach, a scenic bike path and plenty of open space for outdoor activities.  Amenities include a playground, a skate park, a fitness course, baseball and soccer fields, and picnic tables.  (Photo from San Diego Digital Photos) Coronado Tidelands

 EAST COUNTY

Dos Picos County Park, Ramona.  Surrounded by steep rocky mountain slopes, Dos Picos is a 78-acre County Park with three reservable picnic sites and large open play areas.  Oak groves provide shade and a nearby pond enhances the beauty of the park.  Dos Picos
El Monte County Park, Lakeside.  The dramatic face of El Cajon Mountain looks down on 88-acre El Monte County Park.  One of the original County parks, El Monte offers seven reservable picnic sites.  Amenities include playgrounds, horseshoe courts, a baseball field and an open area that’s perfect for flying kites.  El Monte
Flinn Springs County Park, El Cajon.  Flinn Springs, a 40-acre day-use County Park, has lawn areas and stands of old oak trees.  A stream flows through the middle of the park.  Flinn Springs can accommodate group picnics that range in size from small family gatherings to events with 500 participants.  Flinn

 SOUTH BAY

Chula Vista Bayfront Park, Chula Vista.  Beautifully landscaped and family-friendly, Chula Vista Bayfront Park features expansive views of San Diego Bay.  “Konoids”, the famous sculpture by Kenneth Capps, adorns the shoreline.  The park is the ideal spot for a walk, a nap or a picnic.  Amenities include a playground, bike paths and picnic tables.  (Photo from San Diego Coast Life Gallery ) Chula Vista Med
Otay Lake County Park, Chula Vista.  Otay Lake County Park includes 78 acres and is long-time favorite of South Bay residents.  The park offers spectacular views of Otay Lake and the surrounding hills, and one reservable picnic site.  Four additional picnic areas are available for walk-in visitors.  Amenities include hiking trails, horseshoe courts, a playground, lawn areas and a garden featuring native plants.  (Photo from George C) Otay_Geo