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Things to do in Irvine

    Irvine Museum Irvine Museum Irvine, California
    The Irvine Museum opened in 1991 by Joan Irvine Smith and her mother, Athalie R. Clarke, who would pass away before the first full year of operation; showing their first exhibition in January, 1993. It is located in Irvine, California, and welcomes over 30,000 visitors each year, and is the sole museum devoted to saving and displaying the state's impression or plein-air paintings, an unusual artistic style that was very well received and shown during the 1890s to the 1930s in the state. The unique paintings showcase the magnificent landscapes that were spread across the regions before the huge influx of people and mass urbanization. The museum exhibits a new style every four months, with a bookstore attached to help you gather more information about the old style, with note cards, books and catalogues that highlight the rather regional art style. During their first ten years, the museum had 34 exhibitions, published 12 books and sent out 14 of the 34 displays to other institutions for their exhibitions, to complement them. The current exhibition is called Saving Paradise, and contains marvelous scenes of the landscapes around the region, that are brilliant and beautiful. Some of the featured artists presently being showcased in the museum are; Anna Althea Hills, Alson Skinner Clark, Franz A. Bischoff, Paul de Longpre and Granville Richard Seymore Redmond. The museum is currently looking for any works by Guy Rose, an exceptional impressionist around the turn of the century, although actually starting to paint in the 1880s, and in 1888 went to Paris to study and work there. They are planning to publish a book of his outstanding works that included many scenic paintings, during the 1890 period until the 1920s.

    Pretend City, The Children's Museum
    Pretend City, The Children's Museum Irvine, CaliforniaThe Children's Museum of Orange County began in 1997 with the support of philanthropists Sandra Peffer and Alexandra Airth, who were able to get the startup funds to construct Pretend City, that would become the first significant children's museum in Orange County. In 2000, Mars, Inc., was the first corporate donor to come out and support the museum, with Ralph's Grocery Company becoming the next in 2001. In 2003 began their Pretend City on Wheels, which was a mobile fieldtrip type of activity that went right to the schools, and has served more than 22,300 students thus far. In 2008, they received a $3.5 million grant from the Orange County Children and Families Commission to allow them to start a 10 year county initiative to implement developmental screenings to make certain that the children are growing properly for their age, in regards to their physical and mental developments. In February of 2009, the museum moved into their current location in Irvine, by Wild Rivers and the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, and opened Pretend City, with 28,000 square feet that has become a community resource, with classes for parents and children, fieldtrips, instructor trainings and outreach programs. There are many exciting venues available for the children, especially the area that allows for pretend roles, with real dress up and role-playing components that help the kids learn more about the various positions that they could achieve after they become adults, or what they would want to be after they grew up. They have many educational activities that will encourage their children to become more involved in various activities and models to learn so that when they grow up and as they are growing older, they will have a great time and experience. It is a marvelous venue for parents and their children to bond and learn more about each other, in a friendly environment and atmosphere.

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    Strawberry Farms Golf ClubStrawberry Farms Golf Club Irvine, California
    Strawberry Farms has blended the natural beauty of the area and the serenity to complement the challenges of this marvelous championship course, often referred to as the premier course in the southern parts of California. This is a par 71, 6700 yard course with outstanding wetlands and canyons offering excellent scenic views of the area, all sitting on a 35 acre reserve with exciting undulating fairways and rolling greens, with all the natural wildlife and vegetation, as well as granite studded hills and waterfalls. It was designed by Doug DeCinces, a former third baseman for the California Angels. The scenery is so magnificent that many weddings and other types of events are held here often, with expansive panoramic views of the hills, rolling hills and water ways that fill the area with great natural scenes that are one of the highlights of the course and club. It is not a cheap course, so be prepared for the cost, but the scenery and course is well worth the above average fees, and the amenities will also help offset the initial costs. Their banquet facilities are well known in the area, with many tournaments held there during the year, with full packages that will certainly excite your senses, especially once you are out on the course and enjoying the course and scenes.  Strawberry Farms is conveniently located in Irvine, California and has been opened since 1997. 

     Wild Rivers Waterpark
    Wild Rivers Waterpark Irvine, California
    Wild Rivers Waterpark is located in Irvine, California and is a family amusement waterpark that houses more than 40 different and exciting water rides and venues for folks of all sizes and ages. Included in the excellent mix are activity pools, slides, lounge areas, two wavepools, inner tube rides and so much more. The rides are fast and fun, with scaled down models available for the younger children, but all are so much fun that the family will spend the entire day there and still want for more. The park is a non-smoking facility, with no smoking allowed anywhere on the property, and you cannot bring in coolers, glass containers, radios, wet suits, bodyboards or lounge chairs. All the lifeguards and other personnel are well trained in CPR and other lifesaving methods for your complete safety. There are some rules that you will need to learn before you visit, so be sure to go to the web page that carries it all. They are quite specific and will let you know what can or cannot be brought into their facilities.

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Best Local Restaurants in Irvine

    Bistango
    Appetizers; sashimi of yellow fin tuna on ginger cucumber salad, hass avocado & spicy soy sauce; pan seared diver scallops on sticky rice, pickled ginger & spicy mango vinaigrette; shrimp cocktail with cocktail sauce & garlic crostino; crab & lobster cake on fire roasted tomato, pepper relish pea sprouts & lemon vinaigrette; fresh milk mozzarella salad caprese style, on vine ripened tomato, onion marmalade, green olives, sundried tomatoes, basil & aged balsamic; tartare of sashimi grade yellow fin tuna with cucumber, scallions & chili vinaigrette; thinly sliced bresaola with shaved grana parmesan, baby arugula & lemon. Salads & Soups; organic baby mixed greens with macadamia, pecans, almonds, stilton blue cheese & house vinaigrette; Caesar salad with parmesan cheese & garlic croutons; confit of Muscovy duck leg salad with baby arugula, strawberries, pecans & balsamic vinaigrette; Greek salad with hearts of romaine, celery leaves & balsamic vinaigrette; sweet garlic soup with chives, whipped cream & croutons; soup of the day; gazpacho with California hass avocado & cucumber relish. Pasta & rice fettuccine with marinated filet mignon, shiitake mushrooms, fennel, red onion & tarragon mushroom sauce; spaghetti alla checca with diced tomatoes, shaved garlic, basil, kalamata olives & parmesan cheese; linguine with spicy North Pacific clams sautéed in white wine, shaved garlic, parsley & tomato sauce; risotto with sweet white corn, pancetta wrapped Mexican white prawns & white balsamic vinaigrette; bucatini with free raised veal Bolognese, roasted tomatoes, sage & parmesan cheese; American Kobe beef & black truffle ravioli with wilted spinach, exotic mushrooms & parmesan cheese cream sauce; penne with achiote chicken breast, asparagus, tomatoes, red onions, basil & cream sauce.

    Agora Churrascaria
    This Brazilian restaurant serves meat in the "Rodizio" style, where the waiters go from table to table cutting off strips of meat from the skewers they carry. They serve 16 different variations of meat, with hot and cold salad bar, fresh salads, vegetables & seafood specialties.  Churrasco Meats; filet mignon wrapped in bacon, succulent & tender cut from the top sirloin, tri-tip steak roasted, flavorful lamb chops, seasoned pork loin, filet of mignon cut from the tenderloin, traditional Brazilian cut of sirloin, seasoned pork sausage, chicken hearts, roasted pork loin, marinated chicken legs. Side Dishes; Brazilian cheese bread, tomato vinaigrette & fried bananas. Hot Dishes; black bean stew, clams with olive oil & white wine, chicken stroganoff, garlic rice, salmon, mussels, sautéed collard greens & mashed potatoes.

 

Pasta Alla Checca Bistango Irvine, California

 

Spicy Clams in Linguine Bistango Irvine, California

 Traditional Brazilian Sirloin Agora Churrascaria Irvine, California

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    Irvine Historical Society Irvine Historical Society Irvine, California
    The Irvine Historical Society preserves the wonderful heritage of the Irvine Ranch, which was one of the biggest private ranches in the nation, and the society is located in the Irvine Historical museum that is the oldest standing building in the boundaries of the ranch. It is located in Irvine, California and was started in 1868, when James Irvine I had the ranch house built in a suitable manner that would house him when he came here to visit and do his business. The home was constructed to house a ranch manager and his family as well, costing $1300 to build, and was the first wooden framed house constructed between Anaheim and San Diego. There is a parlor, wrap-around porch, kitchen and four bedrooms. In 1870, the manager and his family moved in, but problems arose with wildcats, fleas, coyotes and nothing as far as the eye could see in any direction. The museum is located in the cook shack, that was the cooking kitchen for the sheep and cattle herds and the people taking care of them that were located there. The house had to be demolished in 1970 to make way for the San Joaquin Golf Course, which it backs up to. There is a marvelous research library inside it, with many outstanding photographs and other paraphernalia from the period, with the ability to reprint the photos or other black and white reproductions. There is a wonderful history about the area, that began when the Spanish sent an expedition from San Diego to find the city of Monterrey.

    Bowers Museum of Cultural Art
    Bowers Museum of Cultural Art Santa Ana, CaliforniaThe Bowers Museum of Cultural Art was started in 1936, by the city of Santa Ana, California, with a bequest from Ada and Charles Bowers, and has become one of the state's best and the county's biggest museums. It closed in 1986, to redefine itself, and opened again in 1992 as the new cultural center and enlarged the children's programs and activities in 1994, and opened the new Kidseum. Just recently, they opened the new 30,000 square foot Dorothy and Donald Kennedy Wing to help continue its goals that offer children's art education, art classes, travel programs, displays, lectures and exhibitions, as well as other venues and mediums. The museum is proud of its growth, honored by the locals and recognized by the world as a cultural institution that personifies excellence in the field it represents. During the last fifteen years, it has produced over 50 special exhibitions, some that traveled around the nation, or even internationally, and published over 24 catalogues; as well as enlarging its original space of 7000 square feet to more than 93,000 square feet. The Bowers houses over 130,000 works of art that has been acquired since 1935 to the current day, that represent the various area and cultures of the world, but especially in the pre-Columbian, Asian, Pacific, African, Native American and Orange County histories. Highlights of the Native American art includes the biggest collection in the museum, with over 24,000 works, but the major thrust is in the native cultures of the west and southwest with items like beadwork, basketry, stone and shell jewelry and weapons, pottery and other objects. The art of the Pacific contains many works from Papua, New Guinea, Australia, Melanesia and Polynesia with over 2400 objects that span history from the pre-historic to the contemporary, with jewelry, costumes, basketry, wooden sculptures, feather work, food bowls and utensils, and weapons. The African gallery contains a smaller collection, with major strengths in the west Africa region that contains weapons, jewelry, currency and wood sculpture. Their pre-Columbian gallery holds over 4000 works that is mostly pottery, with some stone, textile and metal pieces, with a lot of sculpture, works from the Mayan culture and other relics from the pre-Columbian Peru period. The south American ethnographic collection houses about 1400 items, that include; textiles, baskets, three dimensional objects, hunting implements and tools; but them majority comes from the 20 the century.

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    Kellogg HouseKellogg House Santa Ana, California
    The Kellogg House was designed and constructed by Hiram Clay Kellogg in 1898 in Santa Ana, California, who loved the sailing ships that sailed around the ocean during that period, just before the steamships changed the entire environment of shipping and the romance of times past. Hiram designed the magnificent three story high circular stairway that graced the center of his gorgeous house, and was the heart of the mansion. Numerous of the elements and carvings were of the ships that were sailing the seven seas in 1898, the same time his neoclassical Victorian house was constructed in Orange County, considered one of the best in the region. The beautiful house was for his second wife, Helen and the child they had just had, Helen. The couple had been married in 1895 and started to plan their wonderful house that would be located in the most fashionable part of Santa Ana; with elaborate details like the flowers painted on the parlor ceiling or the fruits painted on the dining room ceiling. As 1903 rounded the corner, the family now had, Leonard Frank born in 1899, Hiram Jr. born in 1900 and Rose Oahu born in 1903. There is still the family's portrait of the children hanging on the wall in the upstairs hall, with four lovely blond children. Hiram had been born in 1855 in Napa County and moved with his family to a ranch located on the southern expanses of Anaheim in 1869, where he was the eldest of nine kids, fathered by Benjamin and Mary Kellogg, who had come here as pioneers from the east coast. Hiram had received his degree in civil engineering from Wilson College in Wilmington, in 1879, and began accepting contracts for vineyards in the Anaheim, Pasadena and Placentia areas of the state. He was able to get a great contract to lay out the new town of Elsinore, and then again, Corona. Getting a bit involved in the water and irrigation fields of the region, he soon took on the position of Chief Engineer for the Anaheim Union Water Company, with his name becoming well known in the region and was named the construction engineer for the dam that was to be constructed at Gila Bend in Arizona, and elected as the County surveyor in Orange County. By the early 20th century, he was traveling and ended up in the Sandwich Islands as their chief engineer. The Kellogg family would live in the house until 1980 when the community got together and purchased the house and moved it to its current location, where it has been used to help folks learn more about the period and the people that lived in it.

    Discovery Science Center
    Discovery Science Center Santa Ana, CaliforniaThe Discovery Center had been called the Taco Bell Discovery Center, in Santa Ana, California, and houses over a 120 hands-on interactive scientific displays that were created to spark the imaginations of the children that come to visit the museum. It is now a national landmark, due to the ten story solar array cube that is held there. It is separated into numerous themed areas that include; KidStation, Discovery Stadium, Air & Space, Techno Arts, QuakeZone, Perception and the Digital Lab. One very exciting new exhibition is the Dino Quest area that involves an interactive device that opened in 2006 and contains many life size dinosaurs, as well as Science of Hockey, that opened in 2009, to showcase the scientific parts of the game that has been assisted by the Anaheim Ducks franchise. In 1984, the boards of the Experience Center and the Exploratory Learning Center got together to form the Discovery Museum of Orange County that was devoted to instructing children about the early life in the county and the 1900s, which has become a world-class science center.

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    Lyon Air MuseumLyon Air Museum Orange County, California
    The Lyon Air Museum opened to become a venue of inspiration that showcases the stories of the past involved in aviation with the aspiration to touch the lives of people visiting today via the related memorabilia, educational displays and real historical aircraft. The museum can be found on the west side of the John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, with the Martin Aviation company and aviation repair facility that was began by famed aviator Eddie Martin in 1923. The museum was started by Major General William Lyon, and contains many authentic panes, related materials and rare vehicles from the WWII era. With marvelous displays, and outstanding stories, visitors will get a wonderful understanding of the vast roles this country played in shaping and encouraging world history. Some of the main exhibits included here are the airplanes, military motorcycles, automobiles and military vehicles that helped our country excel, and allow for visitors to follow a docent guide through the historical museum that highlights many of the rare and fabulous vehicles used back then. In the planes gallery there is a Boeing B-17, a Douglas A-26, a Cessna O-1E, North American B-25, Douglas DC-3 and Douglas C-47. The B-17 they here, the Fuddy Duddy, had been used as a VIP transport in the Pacific campaign near the end of the war, carrying such famous leaders as General Dwight D. Eisenhower, as well as working as a fire bomber and often for motion picture filming, like the 1962 Steve McQueen movie, the War Lover, and the 1970 picture, Tora Tora Tora. Autos include; a 1940 bakery truck, 1939 Mercedes-Benz, 1941 Cadillac Sedan and 1947 Lincoln. The G4 Mercedes touring wagon had been developed for the Nazi army and was made during the 1934 to 1939 period, with the museum's Mercedes, being restored but with original upholstery on the front seats, and had been delivered to Adolph Hitler in 1939. He would use it for traveling to the regions of Ober Salzburg, Berlin and Poland until it was seized by the French army in Bertschesgaden. It had options installed like bulletproof glass on windshield and side windows, folding front passenger seat to allow for standing and waving at the crowds and pistol holsters and compartments all inside. Military vehicles include a 1941 Dodge pick-up, 1942 military jeep, 1943 military jeep and 1939 German VID. Military motorcycles include; 1945 Indian, 1943 German NSU and 1943 Japanese Rikuo. It contains many marvelous memorabilia that will thrill you and your family for hours and help you to learn more about the wonderful vehicles that helped us win the war to end all wars.

    Santa Ana Zoo at Prentice Park
    Santa Ana Zoo Santa Ana, CaliforniaThe Santa Ana Zoo at Prentice Park in Santa Ana, California sits on 20 acres that highlight the plants and animals of Central and South America welcoming over 270,000 visitors every year. It opened in 1952, and is owned and run by the city, when Joseph Prentice donated land for the creation of the zoo, if the city could keep at least 50 monkeys there at all times; so therefore, the zoo contains one of the finest primate collection the world. Concentrating on education, conservation and recreation, the zoo strives to achieve the most exciting zoo on the west coast. Some of the outstanding critters in the primate collection include; white-handed gibbon, black and white ruffed lemur, black lemur, and ring-tailed lemur; pygmy marmoset, owl monkey, golden lion tamarin, brown capuchin, golden-headed lion tamarin, squirrel monkey, dusky titi monkey and others. In their mammal collection you will find; swamp wallaby, giant anteater, margay cat, rock hyrax, binturong, crested porcupine and guanaco. Birds include; trumpeter hornbill, black-necked swan, emu, magpie goose, crested screamer, white-bellied caique, blue-crowned motmot, barn owl, great horned owl, sunbittern and so many more. Other animals include; green iguana, giant cave cockroach, call duck, buttercup chicken, exmoor pony, dexter goat, Saxony Duck, oberhasil goat and Nigerian dwarf goat. There are also a couple of trains stationed here, in the Zoofari Express, that has become one of the most popular attractions.

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    Orange County Museum of ArtOrange County Museum of Art Orange County, California
    The Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) is found in Newport Beach, California with almost 2500 objects of art that span the earliest 20th century and runs to the present, with specific attention paid to the art of the state. The displays contain photography, sculptures and paintings with new media forms like digital, installation art and video works. Every month, the museum attempts to host a lecture, artistic talks, and special activities for kids, with more than 15,000 of these youngsters visiting them each year. It was incorporated in 1918 as the Laguna Beach Art Association and increased its space in Laguna Beach, Costa mesa and Newport Beach over the years before becoming the Orange County Museum of Art in 1996. Works include such artists are Vija Clemens, Chris Burden, Bill Viola, Tony Cragg, Lari Pittman, Charles Ray, Gunther Forg, Mary Heilmann, Catherine Opie.  Some of the highlights of their collections include; Stanton Macdonald-Wright's untitled vase of flowers from 1924, Bruce Conner's Cross from 1962, Helen Lundeberg's Aches III from 1962, Ed Ruscha's Annie from 1965, John Baldessari's Voluble Luminist Painting for Max Kozloff from 1968 and John McCracken's Nine Planks V from 1974.

    Newport Sports Museum
    Newport Sports Museum Newport Beach, CaliforniaThe Newport Sports Museum in Newport Beach, California contains more than 10,000 relics of sports memorabilia that include such magnificent items as Babe Ruth's last home run ball autographed, or Wayne Gretzky's 900th goal puck and other marvelous game worn and autographed jerseys from every sport. There are items from baseball, hockey, golf, football, basketball and more, and began in 1953, when John W. Hamilton, age 12, was given a signed football from the Look All-American Football team. As the years rolled by, young John, continued growing his collection and passion for sports memorabilia, until it became the biggest collection of sports memorabilia ever collected. In 1995, John and numerous athletes, got together and opened the Newport Sports Museum. Dedicated to its mission to keep kids off drugs and in school with sports, the museum offers these incentives; the Legacy Leadership project; the Career Choices; the Athlete Outreach and the Sport Yourself; which is merely another part of the outreach program that looks at the various issues that have become important to adolescent girls, and the ideals and role models that are now available to encourage the young women to stay in school and look at such topics as self confidence, abuse, pregnancy and nutrition. The Legacy leadership project is sponsored by the NFL Hall of Fame that pairs ex-NFL players with the high school athletes so that they can be mentored off and on the field. The outreach program brings in well-known athletes and sports people to come in and lecture about the merits of education, exercise versus the gangs and dangers of drugs mentality that takes so many of them away from school sports and puts them out on the streets without much hope.

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May 12, 2011