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American Roads Travel Magazine - Scenic Highway
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Scenic Highway

Up, Up and Away

Photos and text by Katheen Walls


In Irvine California, a unique attraction, Orange County Great Park, is opening in stages. One of the highlight of the park, the 27.5-acre Balloon Park, is already open to the public. It lets you soar high above the earth in perfect safety and comfort. Best of all it is FREE. I recently had a chance to float high in the sky over Orange County and wanted to share the view. So hop aboard and lets fly up, up and away.
The facility where the park is located was once a part of a huge ranch, Irvine Ranch Corporation. Then in 1942, it became Marine Corps Air Station El Toro. That is why so many of the buildings look like hangers.
The park is going to function as a natural, cultural, educational and entertainment attraction when it is completed. Along with the Balloon Park, entertainment is offered on a regular basis. This covered stage area in front of the large hanger is one performance venue. Notice the white folding chairs placed on top of the blue tarp. That is a good way to get a feeling for the scale here high above the facility.
What a lovely place for a picnic in this colorful patio.
There are even smaller more private picnic tables around.
Here is a wider view of those picnic tables.

This carousel is another feature of the park of which they are justly proud. It provides free rides on fifteen different kinds of hand-painted animals The art adorning the carousel is inspired by vintage orange crate labels and Orange County scenes.Both the carousel and the balloon are wheelchair-accessible.

The view from the top is breath taking. The city of Irvine is nestled within the mountain range.


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