A List for Tourists and Locals Alike
e all know Orange County as a tourist magnet. Between Disneyland and our surfing destinations, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. I know I’m going to sound crazy, but there is so much more to the OC than mouse ears and sandy feet. So when you’re in the mood for something that’s not such a main attraction, these Orange County museums are the way to go.
The Beall Center’s mission is “to support research, exhibitions, and public programs that explore new relationships between the arts, sciences, and engineering.” The results are new forms of creative expression that embraces the digital era. Orange County Museums
This museum offers ways for the community to experience art by sight and by touch. Besides exhibitions, Irvine Fine Arts Center also features art classes, open studio classes, programs and events.
Laguna Art Museum offers a look at a collection of exclusively Californian art. The museum only showcases works of art that feature California as a subject or pieces created by Californian artists.
The OCCCA’s mission is to create an environment where emerging artists can take risks without the limitations of censorship. The outcome is thought-provoking and illuminating commentary.
The mission of Orange County Museum of Art is to enrich the ever-evolving culture of the OC. They strive to build an art destination in the Orange County community that is “locally relevant and internationally significant.” Orange County Museums
AEROSPACE AND AUTOMOBILES
This museum has something for everyone. From airplane enthusiasts to war buffs, Lyon Air Museum offers a bird’s eye view of its pristine and impressive assortment of planes and wartime vehicles.
Marconi Automotive Museum features an incredible collection of automobiles. Designed in a shop layout, this may be one of the only places you can get up close and personal with a Ford Model A and Schumacher’s F310 F1 race car all under one roof.
Bowers Museum has an eclectic mix of exhibitions. It showcases a large assortment of artwork from the Pacific Islands, Asia, Africa, South America, and from Native American and Mayan cultures. The museum also features an exhibition on the history of Orange County. Orange County Museums
Heritage Hill Park is an expansive 4.1-acre public park that was initially the home of Don Jose Serrano. Visitors can enjoy the lush park and fully-restored historic buildings while transporting themselves to 17th century Orange County.
Regardless of religion or spirituality, any OC local should make a trip to Mission San Juan Capistrano. The Mission and the surrounding town are a huge part of Southern California’s history and development. Plus, the Missions are some of the oldest structures we can explore on the West Coast.
The Children’s Museum at La Habra carries a multitude of different interactive exhibits. At this museum, children can ride a hand-carved carousel, explore a vintage boxcar, learn about the life of bugs, and so much more!
12. Discovery Cube of Orange County
The Discovery Cube focuses on a hands-on, interactive approach to learning about science and technology. Plus, the Discovery Science Foundation has added maritime science and marine biology to its repertoire with Ocean Quest.
13. Pretend City
Pretend City Children’s Museum brings a miniature world to life. With the opportunity to get a look at grocery shopping, the kitchen of a restaurant, and even an art studio, kids can play and see in a world at their eye-level.
14. Ocean Institute
It’s easy to enjoy the beauty of the beach, but it’s not always easy to guess what’s going on under the surface of that blue Pacific water. The Ocean Institute is focused on educating its visitors on marine creatures, science and safety.
Over 10,000 years ago, Orange County was home to over 70 different species. Today, Ralph B. Clark Regional Park is a paleontological goldmine and houses an amazing collection of fossils.