Taking Flight at the Orange County Great Park: Activities Expand at the Great Park, including Free Night Balloon Flights

partyhangar10.jpgIn yesterday’s post, I wrote about Lennar’s plans for developing its Great Park Neighborhoods. Today, I’ll write about the near-term activities at the Orange County Great Park that will be open to the public and that are planned by Lennar and the City of Irvine. These activities will give the visitors a taste of what is to come.

Lennar will be participating
in the Orange County Great Park third anniversary party hosted by the City of Irvine: The Festival of Flight, July 13, 11 am-3 pm.

As a demonstration of what one of Lennar’s Great Park neighborhoods, the Life Long Learning District, will look like in the future, Lennar will create a Main Street USA for the day. Lennar’s Main Street will include a transformed El Toro hangar (hangar 10) and shops—such as a bistro, bike shop, flower shop and lemonade stand—manned by retailers from the community. Also, Lennar has planned an elaborate tree house that will be available to the kids (and adults).

The activities provided by the City of Irvine will include the resumption of the free balloon rides as well as other activities, entertainment and food. In addition, Irvine is upgrading the 27 acres surrounding the balloon. This is the first of three upgrading phases for this area, which is being called the “preview park.” The third phase is planned to be completed by next summer. On the day of this event, the preview park will include updated landscaping, improved parking, a visitors’ tent, and its own hangar (hangar 244). Admission to all events is free.


The balloon rides were suspended during the construction of the preview park and before that for investigations by the FAA and the City of Irvine. These investigations were prompted by a compliant made by a former employee. The investigations by both the FAA and the City found the ride to be safe.

The Festival of Flight is the beginning of summer activities that Irvine has planned at the Park. These activities will include dinning, music and dancing (including a few free dance lessons if you feel the need to either prefect or just learn a few dance moves). Also, the free daytime rides on the tethered Great Park balloon will be expanded to include free night rides. Depending on weather conditions, the balloon can go up to 400 feet and can provide views of up to 12 miles of the surrounding area.

For more information about on the summer 2008 events at the Orange County Great Park, call 949-724-7420, or visit www.ocgp.org.

This concludes my Orange County Great Park tour for this week. However, there is much going on at the Great Park that is worth knowing about. So I just might continue on this tour next week.