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Free Ice Skating in Irvine

This is the last weekend for ice skating at the Great Park in Irvine.  As you  probably know if you live anywhere in South County, the old El Toro Marine Base is gradually becoming the Orange County Great Park. You’ve probably seen the big orange helium balloon from the freeway near the El Toro Y.

The Skating Rink inside the Hangar

The Skating Rink inside the Hangar

The balloon is tethered to the ground and visitors can take a ride up 400 feet for a great view of the developing Great Park and the surrounding area. There’s a Visitors Center where you can see some of the great things in store, including the environmentally friendly features.

This is the view from the balloon.  Now that I look at it, there was no line for ice skating.  This was Sunday 3/8 around noon.

This is the view from the balloon. Now that I look at it, there was no line for ice skating. This was Sunday March 8th around noon.

In a hangar near the balloon, they’ve set up an ice skating rink. It will be up through this Sunday, March 15th.  On Saturday they’re bringing in snow to celebrate and say goodbye to winter.  There will be sledding, ice sculptures and treasure hunts.  And the best part: it’s all free! Parking, skating, skate rental, sledding, balloon rides, everything!

Skating sessions start at the top of the hour and they only allow 80 skaters at a time. So the ice isn’t crowded, but expect to wait 1-2 hours for your turn. There’s usually a wait for the balloon ride too, but they give you a beeper so you can wander around while you wait.

For hours and more information, visit the Great Park’s website. Some of the links to their directions page aren’t working correctly, so here’s a copy of the directions.
Great Park Directions

Great Orange Bike Rack

Great Orange Bike Rack