Visitors Info

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

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 Jan. 16, 2014, the Great Park launched a new standard pricing structure for the Great Park Balloon designed to provide more opportunities for families, children and large groups to enjoy the iconic Great Park attractions.

Hours & Rates

Thursday–Friday: 10 a.m.–3 p.m. & 7 p.m.–10 p.m.
Saturday–Sunday: 9 a.m.–3 p.m. & 7 p.m.–10 p.m.
For up-to-date flight information, call 949-724-6599.

Adults (19 and older): $10
Children (12-18 years old): $5 without paid accompanying adult
Children (18 years old and younger)*: Free with paid adult
Family & Friends Pass: $40 for five adult flights

*Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult on Balloon flights.

Ticket purchase and check-in is required at the Visitors Center. Availability to ride is on a first-come, first-serve basis, and may be subject to weather conditions. Learn More

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.  Riders under 42” must be accompanied by an adult. View a video on the Great Park Carousel here. Beginning Jan. 16, 2014, the Great Park launched a new standard pricing structure for the Great Park Carousel designed to provide more opportunities for families, children and large groups to enjoy the iconic Great Park attractions.

Hours & Rates

Thursday–Friday: 10 a.m.–10 p.m.
Saturday–Sunday: 9 a.m.–10 p.m.

All-Day Pass: $3
Single Ride: $2
Family & Friends Pass: $20 for 10 all-day passes

Check out Free Sports Equipment

During regular operating hours, you can check out a football, soccer ball, basketball, Bocce ball set, Frisbee or jump rope from the Visitors Center and play on the many acres of open lawn around the Great Park. Visit for hours.

Palm Court Arts Complex

Preserving El Toro’s World War II era atmosphere and architecture, the Palm Court Arts Complex now serves as the park’s cultural campus, supporting the development of fresh and interdisciplinary, public arts programming. It includes the Great Park Gallery and Great Park Artists Studios. Learn more at

Farmers Market

Every Sunday, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. (weather permitting). Shop for a variety of fresh and seasonal fruits and vegetables, breads, flowers and plants, and other items from local artisans. Breakfast and lunch from gourmet food trucks are available for purchase. View a video of the Farmers Market here. Learn More

Kids Rock Playground

Kids Rock is inspired by and focused around educating young guests about conservation ecology and the water cycle (condensation, precipitation, accumulation, evaporation). A group of misting shade structures, climbing rocks, “underground tunnels,” a seating area made from recycled runway concrete, and illustrated lakes and streams on recycled rubber flooring, come together to form an educationally unique and environmentally conscious space that is safe, fun, and relaxing.

Special Events

House-produced signature events (concerts and dances, workshops, outdoor movies, and more) bring year-round activity to the space and honor a commitment to the public that the Orange County Great Park remains open during its development. Find out more by visiting our Calendar of Events page, signing up for email updates, or by following the Great Park on Facebook and Twitter.

Farm + Food Lab

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.” Group tours of 6 or more are welcomed.  Please call 949-724-7426 for tour reservations.

​Open Tuesday - Sunday from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. (closed Mondays)

Heritage and Aviation Exhibition

The Heritage and Aviation Exhibition is located in historic Hangar 244 and features historic images, displays and artifacts that tell the story of the Great Park from its agricultural roots to its role in the military as Marine Corps Air Station El Toro. The exhibition includes:

World War II Airplanes – N3N-3 Canary and SNJ-5 TExan
Airforce C-135A Stratolifter Memorial – In honor of United States Airmen and Marines who perished in the Loma Ridge crash departing Marine Corps Air Station El Toro on June 25, 1965
History Room – Transport back in time to WWII
Farmers to Flyers – Learn significant events that transformed Irvine’s agricultural land into an active military base

Exhibition Hours:

Thursdays & Fridays: 12-4 p.m.
Saturdays & Sundays: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 

Note: Exhibition hours may occasionally vary due to private events. Please call (866) 829-3829 for up to date information.

Free admission.

Reflecting Ponds and Viewing Pier

A pair of reflecting ponds and a 2,200 square-foot redwood viewing pier near the Marine Way entrance now welcomes visitors to the Great Park. The reflecting ponds connect to the Walkable Historical Timeline and link the South Lawn Sports + Fitness Complex with the Great Park Balloon. The reflecting ponds and additional storm water retention ponds are the first water features at the Great Park.

Walkable Historical Timeline

The Walkable Historical Timeline spans 2,604 feet and includes 162 historical milestones and serves as a natural connection between the Great Park Balloon and the reflecting ponds and viewing pier. The Timeline begins at 13,000 BC with Humans Reach the Americas and concludes with 1989 Fall of the Berlin Wall. A future expansion of the Timeline will include contemporary historic milestones. Two University of California, Irvine Professors Emeriti of History developed the historical milestones highlighted on the Timeline, Keith L. Nelson and Spencer C. Olin. Click here to view the Handbook.