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Things to do in Orange County for OC Moms

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5 SoCal Water-themed Family Day Trips


At this point in the summer many parents are running out of things to do with their kids. Summer is a great time to explore educational activities outside of the classroom environment. As August is upon us, the weather gets hotter and many kids prefer activities revolving around the cooling atmosphere of the ocean or other water-related activities. Orange County and the surrounding areas offer some great activities to beat the heat, and learn a thing or two, this August.

Birch Aquarium
The Birch Aquarium is located in beautiful La Jolla, CA (a bit of a drive for residents of Orange County but well worth it). The aquarium is small enough for young kids to navigate but offers a look into some fabulous under water species such as jelly fish. Aquariums offer a chance for young kids to get an idea of what it would be like to be a fish living in the sea, spark their imagination, and have an educational experience outside of the classroom. The Birch Aquarium offers an undersea experience for kids of all ages and has enough for parents to enjoy as well.

The Queen Mary
The Queen Mary, located in Long Beach, CA offers families insight into what it was like to travel across the Atlantic Ocean to start a new life in America. The ship offers several tours, some of which are kid-friendly and others that might be a bit scary for younger children. It’s both fun and educational to explore the various parts of the ship and imagine living on it for two weeks at a time. Visitors can look at letters postmarked from the mid-1900’s sent from the ship at various ports-of-call and learn about ocean patterns and geography when they view the ship’s route from Southampton, UK down through the Cape of Horn and back up to San Francisco, CA.

Dana Point Ocean Institute
Dana Point offers more than just cool weather this summer. Families can enjoy a visit to the Ocean Institute and learn about tall ships, the Grunion run, local marine life, and sharks. The Institute offers an excellent educational experience in a fun, outdoor environment. After visiting the Institute, families can enjoy some time at the local toddler’s beach or stretch their legs walking around the many viewpoints located within the harbor.

Newport Beach/Dana Point Whale Watching
Whale watching tours are available from both Newport Beach and Dana Point. Kids have a chance to view majestic marine life in their natural habitat (from the safety of the ship, of course) and learn about the habits and lives of whales, sharks, and dolphins. Summer is a great time to try this type of activity because the local waters are warmer, providing a better chance of a whale sighting.

Catalina Island Water Activities
Families who have a whole day to explore and enjoy water activities can visit Catalina Island. The Island offers eco tours, submarine tours, kayaking lessons, snorkeling, and even scuba diving. Many visitors get to see dolphins on the boat trip, which is an added bonus. Although most people think of a visit to Catalina as a purely recreational activity, there are plenty of educational activities disguised as fun.

Robyn Scott is a private English tutor at TutorNerds of Orange County. She attended the University of California, Irvine as an undergraduate and the University of Southampton in England as a graduate student. She has worked with students from the United States, Japan, South Korea, the European Union, and Africa.

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