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Anaheim, Calif.’s most famous resident celebrated a big birthday this year, but there is much more to the Southern California city than Mickey Mouse and Disneyland.
Plenty of Kid-Friendly FunThere are more attractions in Orange County than in many states, so there is always something new and exciting for visitors to see and do.
Discovery Cube Orange County, an interactive science center, is in the midst of a $22.5 million expansion, with phase one featuring a showcase theater, the California Natural Resources Pavilion and an education wing.
Families can also experience The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes (through Sept. 7, 2015), an interactive exhibit that combines science, history and culture to bring the Sherlock Holmes stories to life. The exhibit displays original manuscripts, artifacts and investigative tools. Visitors will even be given a detective’s notebook to solve a crime using clues hidden within the exhibit.
Nearby Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park has recently opened a new interactive attraction called “Voyage to the Iron Reef.” In this media-based 4-D adventure, guests will be digitally submerged under a boardwalk to navigate through underwater forests, see mysterious mechanical wreckage, encounter the Kraken Queen and her aquatic soldiers and, in an added interactive component, compete with the other people in their sub to see who can blast the most creatures.
Hotels That'll Please the Entire familyThere are many family-friendly hotels in Anaheim, including the brand-new Courtyard Anaheim Waterpark Hotel and Hyatt House at Anaheim Resort/Convention Center. In addition, the first Great Wolf Lodge in California, Great Wolf Lodge Southern California, is also currently under construction, with plans to open by early 2016. This all-suite family entertainment resort will boast a three-acre 84-degree indoor waterpark with slides, pools and fun water activities.
Just a 5-minute walk from the theme-park gates, Courtyard Anaheim Waterpark Hotel is another great choice for a family vacation. The property features a waterpark with six waterslides, a 400-gallon drench bucket, water cannons and two swimming pools (one just for kids), and guests can even enjoy the Disneyland fireworks display from the second-floor observation deck. As an added bonus for families, all guestrooms have twin bunk beds and two showers.
Hyatt House at Anaheim Resort/Convention Center is located in the heart of the Anaheim entertainment district, right across from Disneyland. Hyatt House offers studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom suites with kitchens, as well as complimentary hot breakfast to get families fueled up for their Southern California adventures.
Contemporary Food Experiences (And Beer for the Parents!)Orange County is at the forefront of a new culinary trend: the contemporary food hall. As a showcase for innovative chef-driven food experiences, these food halls are often located in revamped warehouses such as Anaheim Packing House, which occupies the former 1919 Sunkist packing plant. Anaheim Packing House features a large central atrium with communal dining surrounded by various merchants, including chef Ernesto Alvarado’s Urbana, which offers fresh ceviche and tacos, and Vitaly, serving authentic Italian dishes and Italian flatbread sandwiches.
And not to be outshined by the food, Anaheim’s beer scene is also booming. Among the dozen or so craft breweries set to open by the end of the year are Black Sheep Brewing’s R.A.D. Nano Brewery, which will create small-batch specialty and unique beer; Bruery Terreaux, a new brand from The Bruery that will focus on farmhouse-style ales fermented with wild yeasts; and the first public brewery and tasting room for Legends Brewery, known for its gold-medal-winning American Lager and Double Karma IPA.
The Best Way to Get AroundVisitors to Southern California may think that a rental car is a required expense but, lucky for them, one of Anaheim’s most exciting recent additions is ARTIC (Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center).
This LEED Platinum-certified, ultra-modern transportation hub gives travelers access to Metrolink, Amtrak and a multitude of buses, shuttles and taxis. Located between Angel Stadium of Anaheim and Honda Center, with direct connections to Disneyland, City National Grove of Anaheim and Anaheim Convention Center, ARTIC is fast becoming an iconic landmark for multimodal transportation — and it makes a rental car more of an option than a necessity.
In addition, ARTIC will feature unique dining venues such as The Lost Bean Organic Coffee and Tea, Ritter’s Steam Kettle Cooking, and The Oyster Bar.