Someday, this park will be one of the biggies—think San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park or Vancouver's Stanley Park. Its 1,347 acres will be a web of lakes, trails, botanical gardens, even museums and an amphitheater. But not quite yet. Right now, the park is open every day of the week, although bulldozers rumble around parts of the former El Toro Marine base. Get in on the early excitement by launching 400 feet into the air on a tethered orange helium balloon. Or hop on the carousel, with illustrations from vintage O.C. citrus crates. And at the Farm and Food Lab, Master Gardeners teach free classes on growing tomatoes, planting natives, and, for small spaces, 1-square-foot gardening.
Carousel and balloon rides closed Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays.