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Free Events & Things to Do
in
Orange County
Looking for inexpensive or free entertainment? We've compiled a list of events that have no admission charge. Please note, some of the events below may have optional charges for extra items or entertainment such as rides, raffles, etc. Links to the event are provided that will detail schedules, all activities and optional charges.

Upcoming Free Events
Ongoing Events for Free
Free Activities
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Annual Festivals in Orange County
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The Kid's Pet Parade
Saturday, February 20, 2016
(rain date 2/27)
10:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M.

Part of the annual Fiesta de las Golondrinas celebration. Kids between the ages of 5 to 12 can show off their favorite animals in a contest for, The Cutest, Most Unusual, Best Team Costume (owner and pet), Funniest & Most Obedient (pet, not child).

A special "Judges Choice" prize will be awarded and this winner will be given the opportunity to be in the Swallows' Day Parade.

Location:
Los Rios Park
31747 Los Rios Street
San Juan Capistrano, CA

INFORMATION:
949-493-1976

Parenting OC's Annual Summer Opportunities Jamboree - Santa Ana
Saturday, March 5, 2016
10 AM to 3 PM

Parenting OC has partnered with Orange County’s Discovery Cube Science Center to present the 10th Anniversary edition of the Kid’s Summer Opportunities Jamboree event, to take place on March 5, 2016, at the iconic Orange County family destination. This event will take place in the Showcase Theater and will feature exhibitors specializing in summer fun and learning opportunities for families, including overnight camps, day camps, sports leagues and clinics, outdoor adventures, horse and cattle ranches, surf and swim programs, science and technology camps and more.

On the day of the event, guests to the Jamboree will receive tickets for free child admission to the Discovery Cube (each ticket a $12.95 value). Admission to the Jamboree is free.

LOCATION:
Discovery Cube Science Center
2500 N. Main St.
Santa Ana, CA, 92705

International Day of Happiness - Mission Viejo
Saturday, March 12, 2016
11 am - 5 pm

A free fun event in celebration of The International Day of Happiness. March 20th has been declared the International Day of Happiness by the United Nations - a day to inspire action for a happier world. The initiative to declare a Day of Happiness was inspired by Bhutan – a country whose citizens are considered to be some of the happiest people in the world.

The theme for this year's event is “The Pursuit of Happiness is Reaching Beyond You," which focuses on happiness begins with you and as result, will reach out to your family, friends, community and nation. Be a part of our Happy Wall and Crazy Hat contest show and tell. Be creative and happy in this fun and festive environment!

LOCATION:
Norman P. Murray Center
24932 Veterans Way
Mission Viejo, CA 92692

Swallows Day Parade & Mercado - San Juan Capistrano
Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Parade takes place in down-town San Juan Capistrano. This is the nation's largest non-motorized parade. It is totally organized and presented by the San Juan Capistrano Fiesta Association. Arrive early; most street closures are by 10.00 a.m. The parade begins promptly at 11 am.

The Mercado is a Street Fair and Market Place where you can eat, drink, and shop at over 100 booths. It is THE place to be after the parade! Listen and dance to the music of The Working Cowboy Band, a traditional country music band.

LOCATION:
Dowtown San Juan Capistrano

INFORMATION
949-493-1976

Cherry Blossum Festival
Sunday, March 20, 2016
11 AM to 4 PM

A FREE day of fun for the whole family filled with Japanese food, music, dance, cultural performances, an Anime costume contest, and games and crafts for the kids. This festival is in support of the over 30 year student exchange relationship Huntington Beach shares with their sister city of Anjo, Japan.

LOCATION:
Central Park Bandstand
7111 Talbert
Huntington Beach

Annual 'Gardenfest' - San Clemente
April 9, 2016
8:00 am to 3:00 pm

Hosted by the San Clemente Garden Club. Admission is FREE! Families are welcome.

This years highlights include annual Plant Sale and Garden Flea Market, exhibits demonstrating sustainable practices for your garden, garden related opportunities in our community, Open to the Public 'funky container' and 'floral design' contests, Junior Gardeners butterfly exhibit and plant sale, Question & Answer table with gardening celebrities and San Clemente Artists demonstrating live.

LOCATION:
San Clemente Community Center
Avenida Del Mar at Calle Seville.

Celebrate UCI - Annual Open House - Irvine
Saturday April 16, 2016

This spring event features an outdoor Festival, Open House and Car Show. Wayzgoose, UCI's oldest tradition, is a student run festival in Aldrich Park - filled with live entertainment, food, games and rides for UCI and the community. Many offices and services will be open or available with information for everyone especially prospective students. This includes academic program information and sessions; campus, housing and recreation facilities tours; Financial Aid and Admissions; and much more.

Events and Parking are FREE.

LOCATION:
UCI Campus
Irvine

Soka University's Annual International Festival - Aliso Viejo
May 7, 2016

Enjoy over 700 musicians and dancers performing on three stages and over 230 non-profit, craft and business exhibitors! There will be lots of international food, exhibitors, games and activities, art exhibitions, ceramic sales, a children's play area with Bounce House, student projects --- and much more!

Admission is FREE for everyone! Parking is $10 cash on campus

LOCATION:
Soka University
1 University Drive
Aliso Viejo, CA 92656

INFORMATION:
949-480-4081

German Heritage Day - Huntington Beach
July 10, 2016
2:00 pm – 6:30 pm

Enjoy Free Food for the First 500 People, as well as Donau Schwaben Folk Dancers, Dachshund Races and German American Brass Band all Day.

LOCATION:
Old World Village
7561 Center Ave.
Huntington Beach

Plum Festival - Huntington Beach
Sunday August 21, 2016
Doors open at 1pm - Plum Fest is 2pm - 6pm.

This is a fun family day to celebrate before Oktoberfest kicks in.

Carnival games, Medieval Sword Fighters, the beach city floggers, Face Painting, and a great selection of plum recipes, crepes, berliners and our BBQ kitchen and more…

LOCATION:
Old World German Restaurant and Beer Garden
7561 Center Avenue
Huntington Beach

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Ongoing Free Events

ExploreOcean Science Saturdays & Science Sundays - Balboa

Science Saturdays & Science Sundays ExplorOcean offers families a fun, interactive hands-on experience to connect to the 7 essential principles of ocean literacy through Science Saturdays at ExplorOcean and Science Sundays at the Back Bay. Quick and engaging activities bring parents and children together as they make predictions, ask questions, problem-solve and think like scientists. Each month we will introduce a new theme based on one of the Ocean Literacy Principles. Science Saturdays and Sundays are FREE and offered to children of all ages. Join us and prepare to see your world in a whole new way! Program is ongoing, weather permitting.

Science Saturdays Location:
ExplorOcean Galleries and Science Courtyard
600 East Bay Avenue, Newport Beach
Time: Noon-3pm

Science Sundays Location: Back Bay Science Center
600 Shellmaker Rd, Newport Beach
Time: 10am-2pm

INFORMATION:
(949) 675-8915

Huntington Beach Art Walk
Huntington Beach
6-9 PM

Experience the talents of visual and performing artists, live music, food and fun in Downtown Huntington Beach! The FREE self-guided walking tour spans over 8 blocks of Downtown Huntington Beach, primarily on Main St., 5th and 3rd streets.

This art event is held every 3rd Thursday of the month from 6 pm to 9 pm.

Santa Ana Art Walk
Santa Ana
First Saturday of the Month
7:00pm - 10:00pm

Orange County's hippest new neighborhood invites you to stroll down the four blocks of the 2nd Street Promenade from Broadway Avenue to Spurgeon Street on the First Saturday of EVERY month from 7:00pm - 10:00pm. Admission is FREE.

The monthly event will give you access to buy original art work from some of Southern California's freshest, edgiest and most talented artists. It also will have open viewings of working lofts owned by artists and designers all in an award winning urban setting.

Dana Wharf Sportfishing Kid's Fishing
Dana Point Harbor

Kid's Free Fishing Clinic
Every Sunday!

12pm - 12:30pm

Join us every Sunday for our free kid's fishing clinic! Dana Wharf is proud to offer a dockside experience for young anglers! Ask the experts and learn new fishing techniques, new hook tying secrets, win raffle prizes and so much more! No reservations are needed! Try out your new techniques on the 1/2 day trip departing immediately after the clinic where kids fish free AND their rental gear is included!

LOCATION:
34675 Golden Lantern
Dana Point

Saturday Fun Roll - Huntington Beach
Every Saturday
10:30 am

Meets every Saturday morning at 10:30a.m. just north of the Huntington Beach Pier at the amphitheater for a skate of approximately 16 miles round trip. The pace is nice and easy and all ages and levels are welcome. They make several rest stops at various points to let everyone catch up. If you miss them at the beginning, just skate south on the beach path, they retrace the route back, so they'll eventually meet. It's highly recommend that you wear all protective gear - at least wristguards and a helmet. Afterwards you can join everyone for lunch in or around downtown Huntington Beach.

Parking - There is a parking lot next to the pier, cost is about $9.00 per day. Free parking can be found a few blocks away, up any street from 6th to 17th, where there are no meters.

Bolsa Chica Conservancy - Free 1st Saturday Tour - Huntington Beach
1st Saturday of the month
9 am - 10:30 am

Free First Saturday Tour offers an exceptional on-site presentation of the Bolsa Chica Story. On the first Saturday of each month, their docents gather at the south lot of the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, across the street from the main entrance to Bolsa Chica State Beach. Docents are stationed on or near the footbridge, a truly magnificent entrance to the restored Bolsa Chica wetlands. Tours begin every 15 minutes and five areas of interest are included in the presentation: history, birds, endangered species, ecology and restoration.

This free tour is on a first come, first served basis.

LOCATION:
Bolsa Chica Conservancy
South lot of the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve
3842 Warner Ave., Huntington Beach

Phone:
To reserve private tours, call (714) 840-1575

Pumpkin Patch School Field Trip and Tours
Ongoing - (free teacher admission)

Irvine Park Railroad - located inside of beautiful and historic Irvine Regional Park - offers Pumpkin Patch school and group tours. You can choose a package that's best suited for your class or group. Activities vary by package and can include a train ride, hay ride and moon bounce. Free activities include a hay maze, picture stands and child-friendly haunted house. All children who participate in this school field trip / tour will receive a free pumpkin and bottle of water. A minimum of 25 paid children per group is required for group pricing. Teachers are FREE. Schedule your school or group ahead of time and you can have access to a Party Pavilion in this great park at no additional cost to enjoy a sack lunch and other activities. Irvine Park Railroad is centrally-located in Orange County.

LOCATION:
Irvine Regional Park
1 Irvine Park Road
Orange, CA 92869

INFORMATION:
For complete Pumpkin Patch activities, or to make a class or group reservation, call Irvine Park Railroad at (714) 997-3968.

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Free Activities & Things to do

Orange County Beaches

Except for parking fees, most beaches in Orange County have no charge for admittance. We have a list of some of our most popular beaches by following the link above.

Orange County Parks

Stroll through wilderness or hiking trails, follow an excercise course, watch the kids on the playground or simply and enjoy the fresh air and wildlife. Orange County parks have a lot to offer.

Click on the link above for some of our favorite parks. Except for some regional parks, there are no charge for admittance.

 

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Featuring free events and throughout Orange County. Family friendly events for those on a budget.

 

 
 

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