With all the activities (work, school, play etc.) that can consume family time, it is those times together that prove to be most special for families. For those families in the Irvine area, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to family-friendly activities. Whether it's getting outdoors and enjoying nature or taking in some fun and relaxation at eateries, movie theaters and other entertainment venues, Irvine has much to do and see for the family. Is your family ready to enjoy the various activities Irvine has to offer you?


746 Spectrum Center Drive
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 769-6772
When it comes to kids, very few of them do not like going on rides. That said, take them on a ride none of you will forget at THE RiDE 7D. This business offers families the opportunity to feel the rush of an immersive, interactive motion ride experience. Visitors will get the feel and thrill of a rollercoaster, along with the fun of a state-of-the-art laser blasting game all in one. THE RiDE 7D allows for up to eight passengers in a simulator with three different rides, and each RiDE takes approximately 6-8 minutes. While there is no age limit, visitors must be a minimum of 40 inches tall and weigh no more than 350 pounds. THE RiDE 7D is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Sunday, with extended hours both Fridays and Saturdays to 11 p.m.

Waterworks Aquatics Swim School
25 Waterworks Way
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 450-0777
Even though some younger ones may be hesitant about getting into water, early training will help them over the course of their lives should they venture to the beach, lakes, pool, etc. At Waterworks Aquatics Swim School, parents and their children can get wet and learn about smart water safety practices. Waterworks Aquatics instructs children ages 3 months through adult how to swim, and do it safely. The highly-qualified team of instructors oversees a customized experience in every aspect of aquatic programming.

At more than 32,000 square feet, the Irvine location is spacious and attractive, allowing for swim classes, wellness programs and community activities. So there will be plenty of reasons for the family to stick around even after lessons are over for the day. The business is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday - Friday, with weekend hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

K1 Speed
17221 Von Karman Ave.
Irvine, CA 92614
(949) 250-0242
If your family gets a thrill out of go-kart racing, then this facility is just the answer. K1 Speed offers a pair of professionally-designed tracks for racing fun for the entire family. They also have available party options for both adults and kids, be it birthdays, anniversaries, employee events and more. When you're ready to take your foot off the pedal, K1 Speed, has plasma screen televisions and leather couches, museum-quality collections of racing memorabilia and art, not to mention their own Pit Café snack bar. The facility is open noon to 10 p.m. Monday - Thursday, Fridays 11 a.m. to midnight, Saturdays 10 a.m. to midnight, and Sundays 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Bill Barber Community Park
4 Civic Center Plaza
Irvine, CA 92606
(949) 724-6620
In some instances, a day at the park can be all a family requires. At Irvine's Bill Barber Community Park, young and old alike can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, giving families a dose of quality time together. Visitors can partake in activities that include a pair of child play areas (they are divided into younger and older children playing areas), a bike trail, tennis courts, batting cages, soccer fields, softball diamonds, picnic areas (include areas for BBQs) and much more. The facility is open 9 a.m. - 6 p.m., seven days a week.

Irvine Lanes
3415 Michelson Drive
Irvine, CA 92612
(949) 786-9625
Is your family in the mood for some bowling action? If so, Irvine Lanes should pin you down for a few hours of fun. The facility has state-of-the-art scoring, ramps & bumpers for the little ones, giving bowlers from amateur to pros something to enjoy. Each lane offers its own seating area where patrons can eat, drink, relax or just sit back and take in the action. During certain times, the facility offers "Galaxy Bowling," where the building has black lights, lasers and music. Bowling can be purchased by the game or hourly in addition to the available specials. If you're in search of a place to hold a birthday party for your child, Irvine Lanes can accommodate such requests.

OC Indoor Golf
17145 Von Karman Ave., Suite 104
Irvine, CA 92614
(949) 354-4653

Do you have the type of family that can never get enough of sporting activities? If so, golf is one such game that can be enjoyed for decades. A visit to OC Indoor Golf allows participants to swing for different lesson packages, something that younger golfers may find will help develop their games over time, especially if they plan on playing in high school and/or college and after. A single lesson with PGA Pro offers an hour of fact-based video analysis, usage of the Robo Swing Trainer and use of all studio technology. Those individuals looking for something a little more in-depth can opt for the three hours of lessons.

3405 Michelson Drive
Irvine, Ca. 92612
(949) 559-8341
With myriad of fun things to do, is it any wonder Boomers in Irvine is one of the better family destinations around the city? At Boomers, adults and their kids can mini-golf, thunder road go-karts, bumper boats, a rock wall, laser tag, batting cages, King Arthur's carnival and much more. The facility has available birthday party packages, allowing your children and their friends to enjoy a fun-filled day or night with those closest to them. There are 90-day passes available for purchase, along with kids' rewards for those younger ones who are sporting top grades in the classroom.

The Rinks - Irvine Inline
3150 Barranca Parkway
Irvine, Ca. 92606
(949) 559-9949
If your family has a love for fast times and great exercise, then head on over to The Rinks. At this facility, patrons can enjoy hockey fun for both children and adults. There are also league options for countless kids, some which start at ages 6 and under. Public skating hours are from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday - Friday and 7 to 10 p.m. on Saturdays. Admission is $5, with skate rentals costing $3. Families can also enjoy birthday parties for their children, allowing for great times for a number of kids all at once. Lastly, there is also a pro shop onsite for those individuals requiring hockey gear and other equipment needs.

United Studios of Self Defense
4960 Irvine Blvd.
Irvine, CA 92620
(714) 730-6870
Moms and dads know that their children can be the target of bullies at any point in their lives growing up. That said, United Studios of Self Defense in Irvine teaches kids the finer points of defending oneself. Participants can learn the unique teachings of Kempo style martial arts from the top instructors around. Whether a beginner or one who has a reasonable amount of martial arts experience, United Studios of Self Defense has a program to cover each and every need. Men, women and children of all ages and professions participate in both the private & group training programs. Parents will enjoy watching their kids develop coordination, flexibility, strength and endurance, respect for themselves and much more.

Paul Martin's American Grill
534 Spectrum Center Drive
Irvine, Ca. 92618
(949) 453-1144
What family doesn't enjoy a nice night out on the town and a great meal to boot? The dishes are put together from scratch every day beginning with the freshest raw ingredients. That translates to no pre-made sauces, no frozen ingredients and no shortcuts. Paul Martin's American Grill offers 100 percent all-natural meats, sustainable seafood, and seasonal produce to ensure the best quality and taste. At Paul Martin's American Grill, parents and their kids can sit back and wet their appetites with the likes of salads, soups, bistro burgers, turkey sandwiches, fresh fish tacos, mac and cheese, vegetable pasta, BBQ pork ribs and much more. For dessert, try options including devil's food cake, banana cream pie, homemade ice cream and more. The eatery opens at 11 a.m. daily (Sundays at 10 a.m.).

Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on Examiner.com.