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Where to take a 20 mo old in Buena Park or nearby?

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Where to take a 20 mo old in Buena Park or nearby?

We will be staying in Buena Park the last week of December and looking for places to take our 20 month old, either in or an easy drive from Buena Park. We are open to all manner of places, whether it is a mall with an indoor play area, a nice playground, petting zoo, children's museum, and so on. We have already decided not to take her to Knott's or Disneyland because the crowds will be too overwhelming for her (and us). We are open to driving 30 minutes or so one way one or two days we are there to go someplace special, such as a children's museum. Thank you in advance for any suggestions!

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Manhattan Beach...
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1. Re: Where to take a 20 mo old in Buena Park or nearby?

You can drive or take the train to Santa Barbara, a couples north of LA. They have a wonderful small Children's Zoo next to the ocean. We went there last year, and also took a miniature train around the perimeter.

About 40 min from BP is Manhattan Beach, near LAX. Take the stroller and walk out on the Pier. There is a hands on Marine Lab in the Roundhouse, where your young one can touch a starfish or seahorse. Have lunch next to the ocean, it's a very family friendly town.

Also in MB is Adventureplex a fabulous indoor play area.

www.Adventureplex.org

Edited: 21 December 2016, 22:34
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2. Re: Where to take a 20 mo old in Buena Park or nearby?

I would bring her to the Aquarium of the Pacific, in Long Beach.

There is a small, but nice children's museum in La Habra. And Pretend City in Irvine would be good for that age too, but maybe more than 30 minutes away, particularly in traffic.

Irvine Regional Park is nice, with a small zoo, train, pony rides, etc.

Maybe a beachside playground?-Seal Beach, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach. Though my 19th month old would enjoy just being at a beach with a shovel and bucket.

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3. Re: Where to take a 20 mo old in Buena Park or nearby?

I would look at the Santa Ana Zoo, Boysen Park Anaheim, Independence Hall & the Marketplace at Knott's Berry Farm (no admission needed) and Bower's Museum Kidseum.

http://santaanazoo.org/

anaheim.net/Facilities/…Boysen-Park-100

https:/…independence-hall

bowers.org/index.php/…visit-kidseum

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4. Re: Where to take a 20 mo old in Buena Park or nearby?

Adventure City is a small Amusement Park just South of Buena Park on Beach Blvd.

http://www.adventurecity.com/

Along with the Santa Ana Zoo, there is the Irvine Regional Park and the Orange County Zoo.

http://ocparks.com/parks/irvine/

Buena Park Mall/Downtown has some play areas and is mainly an indoor mall.

http://www.buenaparkdowntown.com/directory

Yucaipa, California
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5. Re: Where to take a 20 mo old in Buena Park or nearby?

The suggestion for Knott's Independence Hall and Marketplace is good. As mentioned that is a free area. Complementary parking is steps from the Marketplace and has a time limit that can be extended by either eating there or purchasing something (a chocolate candy costs only about one dollar, by the way).

The Independence Hall is actually across the street from the Marketplace, so walking through the open air pedestrian tunnel is the way to get there. The best thing about Independence Hall when it comes to a 20 month old is there is a duck pond in front of it as well as chickens roaming around. The building is a full scale replica of our Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Inside is a replica of the Liberty Bell. This might be of interest to you as adults. There is a parking lot near there, but it is for a full day and costs $18, so you will want to avoid that.

The Market Place has a few shops, including a Snoopy Headquarters with Peanuts merchandise and a screen playing Peanuts shows. Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant is a very good place to eat and famous for their fried chicken meals and boysenberry pie. The restaurant was renovated and updated last year. During busy times, guests can give their name and mobile phone number at the host desk and receive a text when a table is ready. I did this when I was there about 10 days ago and it worked out great. Also, we waited in comfy chairs. The restaurant is beautifully decorated for Christmas, so subtle, just right.

The Emporium Store in the Marketplace has some nice Christmas decorations and navity sets. There is a shop that sells kitchen giftware, special coffees, fudge, and chocolates. And there is a small Bakery.

What is your hotel? If close to Knott's you may walk to the Market Place there and avoid the need to think about parking and the time limit.

I personally don't see the crowds at Knott's theme park at this time as a problem as long as you stick to seeing shows and eat a large meal early in the day. There are plenty of shows at this time of year as well a carolers. Their ice show, featuring professional figure skaters and Snoopy in several holiday scenes, is held in the huge Charles Schultz Theater. It is scheduled three times a day, with Wednesdays off. For this show, it is a good idea to get the the queue area (walk up a ramp) about 45 minutes to an hour in advance. Next week I believe their big outdoors nighttime show, Merriest Christmas Show, is scheduled every night. That is a new show with talented dancers and features Peanuts characters. Quite honestly, my friend and I enjoyed arriving early for both this show and the Tree Lighting and just enjoying the atmosphere. We did need to get to all show venues early, but no more than 45 minutes. There is a snowfall show three times a night, basically just be in Ghost Town when it is scheduled, no hassle and no really big crowds. Well,I just wanted to let you know what is available and that it can be do-able. Also, the security check and time it takes to get inside the park is pretty easy. As much as I love Disneyland just getting into there is so time consuming and so much more of a hassle. These are the busiest weeks for Disneyland, so a very good idea to avoid it.

I also like the idea of the Aquarium of the Pacifci in Long Beach.

You could consider the Mission San Juan Capistrano, one of the early Califoria Spanish missions. Lovely grounds.

I would recommend staying out of the malls. They get busy the week after Christmas with people returning gifts.

Edited: 22 December 2016, 06:35
Yucaipa, California
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6. Re: Where to take a 20 mo old in Buena Park or nearby?

Just remembered one more thing about Knott's that your child may like.. The "barn" in Ghost Town now has real horses in stalls. Each horse has an employee there at the stall. You can ask questions about each horse. . The stalls cannot be entered, but easy to see into. The horses are large, some may be on a day rest from pulling the stagecoach. There may be three or four. Occasionally, there could be other people looking at the horses, but not especially crowded.

Anaheim, California
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7. Re: Where to take a 20 mo old in Buena Park or nearby?

FYI, the barn is only open on select days and times (closes before dusk).

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8. Re: Where to take a 20 mo old in Buena Park or nearby?

Thank you everyone for the wonderful suggestions! I am pleasantly surprised by the variety of children's activities!

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9. Re: Where to take a 20 mo old in Buena Park or nearby?

One more special event, WinterFest at the OC Fairgrounds. Low priced, and plenty for the little one to see and enjoy. Open afternoons and evenings, with nightly fireworks.

https://winterfestoc.com/

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10. Re: Where to take a 20 mo old in Buena Park or nearby?

For anyone reading this thread, please note that everything at Knott's is closed on Christmas Day, the park and the Market Place. This is a long standing tradition handed down from the Knott family so that their employees are able to enjoy Christmas Day with their families. Christmas Eve hours are shortened and all shows may not be scheduled. See their website for park hours and entertainment schedules, under Plan a Visit.