This week, we headed north of Pendleton for a railroad adventure.
Irvine Park Railroad is located within Irvine Regional Park. The cost to enter the park (per car) is $3 on weekdays (credit cards accepted). You must pay each time you enter; there is no readmission within the same day. The cost to enter on weekends is $5, and $7 on holidays.
Irvine Regional Park is open from 6am to 9pm daily for spring/summer. The hours are shorter (open until 6pm) in the fall/winter. There’s a farmers market every Tuesday from 9am to 1pm. This review will just be about the train rides and Easter Eggstravaganza. However, there are a lot of other activities within the park for your family to enjoy. They include bike rentals, horse and pony rides, hiking, paddle boat rentals, and the OC Zoo. We’re planning to go back for some of those adventures later this spring! FYI, all of these activities are independently owned and operated, so pricing and hours will vary. Full information on all there is to enjoy within Irvine Regional Park can be found at http://www.ocparks.com/parks/irvine.
Right now, until Saturday, March 31st, the Irvine Park Railroad has their Easter Eggstravaganza going on. These are extra activities just for the holiday season. We hear they have similar events for other holidays as well, like Halloween and Christmas.
The Easter Eggstravaganza utilizes a ticket system, where each activity costs a set number of tickets. For our family of 4, including 1 baby (children under 12 months can ride the train free), we purchased a book of 15 tickets for $60. Each ticket therefore cost $4. Purchasing in bulk like this will save you $1 per ticket. A train ride for the four of us (with the baby being free) cost $12. We rode the train twice. It’s about a 12 minute ride. The hay ride also cost our family $12, and we did this once (about a 20 minute ride). We filled in the rest of our time with an Easter egg hunt (2 tickets, or $8), cookie decorating, a few turns on the moon bounce, and a carnival game. The Eggstravaganza could become pretty expensive if you have more than one child, so it might be a good idea to set expectations with your kids about what they’ll do before you arrive. If they are old enough to understand the ticket concept, you could give them a set number of tickets, and let them decide how to “spend” them. We are not aware of any military discounts for this venue. There are discounts for veterans on the parking within OC Parks, including Irvine Regional Park (www.ocparks.com for more information).
After you purchase tickets, you enter the railroad “town” part of the park. It’s a really pretty space, with plenty of room for the kids to run around. There were also lots of picnic tables. All of the Eggstravaganza activities were set up within this space, like a carnival. It was very nicely decorated, and the trees were starting to bloom the day we went.
The moon bounce was a favorite for our toddler. There was also an Easter bunny, and you could sit for pictures with him, but this was an additional cost ($12, plus extra if you wanted additional photos).
The train ride was a lot of fun. It’s a 1/3rd scale train, and it runs 7 days a week (weather permitting). Train rides always cost $5 per person (under 12 months free), or $4 if you purchase a book of 15 tickets like we did (the cost during the Easter Eggstravaganza is the same as the “regular” price). One of our favorite things about this activity was that a train conductor narrated the journey. You venture out into Irvine Regional Park (opened in 1897!!) during the ride, and you go past ponds with ducks and turtles, statues and hiking trails. The conductor gave a brief history of the park, which we enjoyed. There’s also a tunnel at the end of the train ride. We hear that the tunnel is lit up at Christmas time!
Do you have kids that would love to ride on a minitiature train through a beautiful park? What other railroad adventures have you been on? Share below!
MilMomAdventureTip: Check out the website and sign up for their newsletter before you go, you might receive some coupons!