Many years back, when the Marine Corps closed the El Toro Marine Base, the complete airfield and facility were taken over by the City of Irvine. Since then, a Great Park has been under development.
We dropped by this past weekend to sample what was available. Each Sunday there is a Farmer’s Market, and on the 1st Sunday of the month, an Antique Fair. One can easily eat their way through the market, and take home a week’s supply of fresh foods. The Fair was a collection of memories where we spotted an abundance of items that may have come from our family treasures. So many things that we passed on to the Goodwill over the years now are duplicated on the tables of many vendors. There isn’t much in the way of large furnishings, but lots of small items are available for accent pieces.
From there we wandered to the Carousel and the play areas. We walked through some nice demo gardens on the way, and then past the building that permits artists to work and share their creations. Of course the little ones loved those horses that take them on a circular journey, up and down, galloping for a few minutes to some classic carney tunes.
The kids loved the expanse of playing fields. Certainly pickup games of baseball, football, and soccer can be had by any sized group. The fields are nice and flat, great for sprinting, tumbling, and just rolling around. Not to worry if you forgot the sporting equipment. There is a basket full of balls ready for the games of choice.
There is also a kids playground with climbing rocks. The creators of these mini-boulders were very creative, and understood the need for little ones to have “steps” to scale the sides. Kids were all over them, and going down attached slides, crawling through mini-tunnels, and standing atop the mountains they had climbed. This is an incredible playground area. Of course, for those who wish to climb more areas, there are some solid, yet accessible, trees perfect for the young adventurer.
The Great Park has many special events, concerts, and so much more. Best of all, it is FREE. You don’t even pay to park. Just show up, wander, and partake. You will certainly enjoy the day.