February 12, 2012

Heritage Park, Santa Fe Springs

The mini-grove
This was a 'friends of friends' kind of weekend!! When we started telling people that we were moving to Orange, it was amazing how many of my friends knew other people who had just moved out here. Even more amazing was the number of people willing to talk to me, share advice, and even meet up!

So California is a big state. Orange County, even, is a big county. This weekend, we met one of our new 'friends' halfway between her home in Pasadena (which I hear is really cool, so we'll be making the whole trek soon) at Heritage Park in a town called Santa Fe Springs (I am finding that there are lots of parks named 'Heritage Park', so if you plan to visit this one please note the city).  The website was a little underwhelming, but it was a nice halfway point to meet in person. I know we have only lived here a month (wow! already a month!) but I am going to call this park a hidden gem.
Picnicing on the lawn
There were several real train cars that kids could climb on and play in, with real moving parts (one has a pretty mural painted on the side). M is very much into Choo-choos these days and loved it. There were a couple of sand pits (bring your shovel!) where the historical site markers explained that homes used to stand. There were examples of native huts that you could walk in. There was a mini-nature trail with little educational stops along the way. There was a bird exbit with doves, among other species. There was a mini-orange grove, and the boys had fun playing 'catch' with the fallen fruit. There was a pretty fountain inside walls of hedges. There was a greenhouse, and an irrigation windmill. On this particular day, there were also several couples picnicing on the vast green space. It appeared as though you could have made arrangements ahead of time to pick up a pre-made picnic basket complete with flowers and champagne and sit on the lawn and enjoy... the sound of little boys whooping and hollering :)
The garden fountain
This was actually a really lovely spot and all the things I listed were only the outside spots. The indoor exhibits closed at 4, so we missed them, but this is likely a place we'll have to come back and see!! I highly recommend it, especially if you are looking for a non-sketchy place to meet a friend between Orange County and LA. Also it is a mile away from a burger place called Habit, which is pretty tasty, too. AND its not far from IKEA, if you want to make a whole day of it.

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* a link to the Heritage Park in Santa Fe Springs, CA

Inside the big hut!
inside the greenhouse
a look at the irrigation windmill
inspecting the huts
digging in the sand pit
Tide pool on the nature walk
playing on the train cars

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