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Key Info

600 E. Bay Ave.

Price & Hours

Free
Mon-Thurs 11 a.m.-5 p.m. | Fri-Sun 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Details

Amusement Parks, Free, Recreation Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

The Balboa Fun Zone lives up to its name. The small park is full of fun activities for children, and with views of the Pacific, adults are sure to enjoy their time as well. This boat yard-turned-amusement park has been in operation since the mid-1900s. Over time, more and more activities have been added, and nowadays there are enough features to keep you busy for hours.

The main attraction is the Ferris wheel that overlooks the sea and provides panoramic views of the rest of the Balboa Peninsula and beyond. It costs $5 to ride, and children younger than 16 years old must be accompanied by an adult. The Ferris wheel is independently owned, so its operating hours differ from the rest of the park; it's open daily from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m.

Other kid-friendly features include arcade games and the Happy Swing – a large swinging ride that will make your stomach drop. There is also a Discovery Science Foundation outpost on the boardwalk called OceanQuest Newport Beach. Here, children can enhance their science education with exposure to different marine life exhibits and hands-on activities. To check out upcoming events at this facility, visit the official website. The whole area is free to explore but the Happy Swing, OceanQuest as well as other rides and attractions charge separate fees.

The food options here go way beyond your typical amusement park hot dogs and hamburgers: There are taco stands, sushi to go and Italian and Thai options, among many others. There are also a variety of shops around the park area, including boutiques, surf shops and eyewear stores. If you're looking for water sports, boat rentals or whale watching excursions, this is a good place to start. Parking and public restrooms round out the amenities at the park. Balboa Fun Zone is open year-round; it operates from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday. For more information, visit the Balboa Fun Zone website.

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