Poor weather is something with which Southern Californians don't often have to contend. This is as fortunate as it is enviable. The scarcity of inclement conditions does not, however, mean a shortfall of opportunity for the kids in Orange County. When eventual rain and cold do come, retreat to and rejoice within any of the many winter-weather activity centers. Here are a number of the best.
Discovery Science Center
2500 N. Main St.
Santa Ana, CA 92705
Many kids would rather hang out in the rain, but once inside the Discovery Science Center, they will change and perhaps expand their minds. Space, sports, dinosaurs, ecology and a universe of enjoyable, interactive learning await children of all ages in this sprawling indoor facility. There's an informative theater, a hands-on lab and levels and levels of weather-proof learning to be had. Delight and even disgust the kids a little at the Ripley's Believe It or Not featured exhibit this winter.
Pretend City Children's Museum
29 Hubble St.
Irvine, CA 92618
Are wind, rain, traffic and typhoons jeopardizing your family plans in and about the city? Pretend City Children's Museum is your safe, secure, typhoon-free alternative. Another learning center cleverly disguised as a fantasy playground, kids can lose themselves downtown, in the park and at the beach without leaving your sight. Children suit up and become part of a pretend society, acting out their favorite functions and pastimes. With a theater, art studio, cafe, farm and mini mall, your kids can spend an entire blustery day inside without succumbing to boredom or television.
Sender One Climbing
1441 S. Village Way
Santa Ana, CA 92705
Parents, are you losing your children to TV, video games and malaise? Get them over to Sender One and introduce them to the healthy mind- and body-building world of climbing, yoga and fitness. Rain or shine, this indoor, all-ages gymnasium is a sanctuary of enlightenment and adventure. Sender One offers classes, group and individual instruction, with an emphasis on safety. Even the most hard-to-please and difficult-to-engage children will look up from their electronics for "Funtopia," a creative, challenging indoor climbing experience. The only device your children will need is a camera to capture their brave exploits. Kids under age five climb free with a member/paid adult.
Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park
1301 N. Kellog Drive
Anaheim, CA 92807
Everyone has that friend with the trampoline in their backyard. But when the weather turns, they can't use it. Sky Zone caters to everyone, whether your parents love you enough to fix up the backyard or not. Within this gigantic facility, find an entire village of trampolines. Everyone can have their own. No longer are you a slave to the kid with the better toys. You may even gang up on him in an organized, sanctioned trampoline dodgeball match.
Jump 'n Jammin
27741 Crown Valley Parkway, Suite 215
Mission Viejo, CA 92691
Billed as a family fun entertainment center, Jump 'n Jammin is truly a play place for children. On a rainy day, however, if there's a place where you can take the kids to play safely, it certainly does benefit the entire family. This large, safe, chaperoned facility is an excellent way to keep the kids out of the elements while providing them with a place to be entertained and get exercise. Padded play areas, safe climbing walls, bouncy balls, toys and games provide the potential for making friends with almost no chance of getting wet.
Christopher Schmidt is a freelance writer experiencing and espousing the glory that is Orange County. Driven to travel, drawn to sports, spirits and celebrity, Chris' work can be found on
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