Irvine offers cycling enthusiasts 44.5 miles of off-road bicycle trails and 282 miles of on-road bicycle lanes.More

Irvine Blog - Posts from Local Experts

Category - History

Filed In: History

South Coast Plaza Celebrates the Big 50

Posted by: Ellen Bell
Posted on: Tuesday, Jul 18, 2017

South Coast Plaza, the luxury retail center known for being fashion forward, is taking time to celebrate its past.


“Segerstrom Pioneering Spirit: An American Dream,” is a 50-year anniversary celebration located in the center’s Jewel Court. The exhibit, open until July 31,  tells the story of the pioneering family that built one of the world’s most successful shopping destinations. It follows the journey of the Segerstrom family from present day successes all the way back to their humble roots.

The story of South Coast Plaza begins in 1967, when cousins Henry and Harold Segerstrom built an indoor shopping mall on a portion of their family’s farm.

Sears and May Co.  were the original retail anchors and, when the 405 Freeway was extended past the center a year later, success was insured.

 For the mall design, C.J. Segerstrom & Sons hired Los Angeles-based Victor Gruen Associates to design the shopping center. Initial development was based around the idea that the mall would likely expand on a large scale, so removable panels were incorporated—making it easier than ever when they did, in fact, extend the building. 


Early shoppers were drawn to its festive indoor carousel and the comfort of air conditioning. Eventually, what began as an island of retail in a sea of bean fields and orange groves, became a luxury landmark with 250 stores attracting 22 million visitors each year and almost $2 billion in annual revenue.

 

South Coast Plaza may be known around the world as a first-class shopping destination, but many don’t realize that the luxury center is actually a family business. Today’s generation brings the same careful attention that their patriarch, CJ  Segerstrom, used to cultivate the family farm.

Hard work was a fact of life for the Segerstom family who moved to Orange County in 1898 and turned acres of potential into one of the largest lima bean fields in the world.

 

“Segerstrom Pioneering Spirit” follows the Segerstroms as they emigrated from Sweden and eventually settled on the land where South Coast Plaza sits today. The exhibit tells the story through never before seen photographs, many from the personal archives of Ruth Ann Moriarity, sister of Henry Segerstrom. The result is an intimate portrait of a tight-knit family, that worked together to cultivate their land.


“As South Coast Plaza celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, it is the perfect time for our family to reflect upon our beginnings,” Moriarty says. “This exhibit enables us to share with others our appreciation for the opportunities we have had to fulfill an American dream.”

 

 

 

Filed In: History

Irvine History: It Takes A Village

Posted by: Ellen Bell
Posted on: Wednesday, May 24, 2017



You may have heard the names from Irvine citizens

“I live in Woodbridge,” they say. Or University Park, or Oak Creek.

The truth is, the city of Irvine is made up a collection of smaller, sub-neighborhoods, each with its own identity and name.

Turtle Rock. College Park, Northwood, Quail Hill…

So what’s the story behind all of this “village-ness” anyway?


The New Town

Irvine was born in the early 1960’s when the master-planned community, or New Town, was a popular concept. Years of unplanned suburban growth had created an aversion to sprawling, unplanned bedroom communities with little civic identity or focus. New Towns like Columbia, Maryland and Reston, Virginia modeled this new concept, with residential, educational, industrial and recreational services that were balanced and easily available to residents. 

The sizable acreage of the Irvine Ranch provided a massive blank slate for its planners, and the new town of Irvine would be the largest in the nation. Early plans expected a future population of nearly 400,000 people.
 

A City of Villages

In order for new residents to feel the “sense of place” in such a populated area, the concept of villages was created. Smaller residential clusters were designed to pare down the massive size of the New Town into easily identifiable places. In his book, “The Irvine Ranch: A Time for People,” Martin Brower explained that each village would be “made up of several neighborhoods including its own commercial, recreational and educational facilities. This would give residents a feeling of identity, a place of “home” within the larger urban complex.” 
 
The villages would be connected by “environmental corridors” or passageways that would lead to shared, citywide services. This would eliminate intrusion from external traffic and maintain the zoning integrity of the neighborhoods. In other words, the Villages would be separated but not isolated because of the environmental corridor links. 

City planners used identifiable landscape design and a consistent circulation system of roadways. The goal was to help the individual connect with their neighborhood, rather that to feel lost in the immensity of their surroundings

A Sense of Place

Each Irvine Village was designed to have it’s own, unique residential experience.
Turtle Rock is out in the country, blending into the natural hillside. Woodbridge is a recreational village, built around two, man-made lakes. Rancho San Joaquin, a village designed to attract adults without children, has a golf course instead of a neighborhood school. 

What they have in common is their own local village shops, parks or services. These are the places where you can run into your neighbors, see kids from the local school, and make personal connections with the storekeeper down the street. 

As a result, Irvine has the benefit of both worlds: the established resources of a metropolitan city along with the familiar neighborhood comforts of a smaller town. 


For more Irvine history, visit the 
 

Irvine Ranch Historical Museum

5 San Joaquin in Irvine

Open Tuesday and Sunday afternoons from 1- 4pm 











Filed In: History

Irvine: What's In A Name?

Posted by: Ellen Bell
Posted on: Tuesday, Apr 11, 2017

The Stories Behind some of Irvine's Place Names.

Irvine was designed to be the quintessential, master-planned city, with careful attention paid to every little detail. So it's not surprising that even its major streets and parks were given their names for a reason.

Culver Drive

 

Culver's Corner

Before there was a city of Irvine, there was Culver Road, which ran past Fred Culver's home. Culver was one of the most successful tenant farmers on the Irvine Ranch in 1902. His home, called "Culver's Corner" was located where the present day 5 Freeway intersects with Culver Dr. Fred and his wife Mabel's home was a local landmark. A newspaper article in 1910 called it an elegant house "filled with all the modern conveniences," including "acetylene gas lighting and a furnace that heats the home throughout."  

Jeffrey Road

 

George Jeffrey (left) at Ortega Highway

Jeffrey Road....Jeffrey Open Space Trail....Jeffrey Trail Middle School...The name goes back over a century ago, to Irvine’s agricultural heritage. In 1897, a scottish immigrant named George Jeffrey leased one of the earliest lima bean farms on the Irvine Ranch. Later, he went on to plant citrus and site of the original Jeffrey orange groves is now a housing development on Irvine Center Drive, appropriately named “Orangetree.” Jeffery Road got its name because, like Culver Drive, it was typical to name the roads after the farmer who’s land was nearby. 

It’s only fitting that George Jeffrey should have a major local road named for him. The universally-liked farmer went on to represent the 5th district on the Orange County Board of Supervisors in 1922, and oversaw the paving of the roads.

Mason Regional Park

Irvine Company President William Mason (seated center) at Irvine Incoporation in 1971

Mason Regional Park is named for William Mason, President of the Irvine Company from 1966 - 1973.  Mason was one of the group of young execuitves hired by the Irvine Co. in the early 1960's to help with the transition from agricultural operation to master-planned community. Along with Ray Watson, who focused on urban planning, Bill Mason handled the engineering and infrastructure challenges of the young city.

The park, originally named University Park reflecting nearby U.C. Irvine, was renamed after William R. Mason, who served as President of the Irvine Company until his untimely death in 1973. The Board of Supervisors changed the name of the park from University Regional Park to William R. Mason Regional Park in recognition of the impact his direction had and will continue to have on Orange County, not the least of which was the donation by the Irvine Company of land for this park. The first phase of the park, forty-five acres, opened to public use in 1973. A 50-acre second phase was completed in 1978. The second phase of development included a 9.2 acre lake which has proven to be a very popular attraction for park visitors.

The Village of Walnut

 

Walnut Trees

The name of Walnut is prominent in the north part of Irvine. The village and the road were both named to honor the agricultural heritage of the Irvine Ranch and one of its important crops.  The Irvine Ranch was famous for oranges and lima beans, but for 74 years, walnuts were a also major export. From 1893 - 1931, Orange County led the nation in the production of English Walnuts, providing one-third of the world’s supply. The Costa Mesa/ Tustin area was known as “The Walnut Capitol of the World.” 

1935 was one of Irvine’s peak years for production. 7,775 tons of walnuts were produced with an income of nearly $1,700,000. Gradually, as the trees aged and the groves were not as productive, the growers decided it was no longer profitable to maintain them. The Irvine walnut industry came to an end in 1967, when the last 300 acres of trees were removed and replaced with citrus.

Jamboree Road

 

Boy Scout Jamboree 1953

Jamboree Road was named to commemorate the Boy Scout Jamboree, held on the Irvine Ranch in the summer of 1953. The Irvine Company cleared the land and leveled the hills in preparation for the week-long event which hosted 50,000 boy scouts from across the country. An eight-mile road. later named Jamboree, was graded to access the camp.  

The Jamboree site was just north of Pacific Coast Highway between the new Jamboree Road and MacArthur Boulevard in Newport Beach. The tent city, called “Jamboree Town,” covered present day Newport Center and the East Bluff neighborhood. 

All in all, the National Boy Scout Jamboree was an overwhelming success. The Irvine Company had created a city the size of Miami Beach on undeveloped ranch land. A new road had been graded with access all the way to the ocean, and the infrastructure for new development had been established. Most importantly,  51,000 boys were sent home, happy and healthy, with memories to last a lifetime. 

The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Monday, Apr 03, 2017

The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch is about a 45 minute drive south of Irvine and worth the trek to get to see and experience the ranunculus covered hillsides. The season, the Flower Fields opened to the public in March and remains open for 10 weeks ending on May 14, 2017. 

You could spend hours on the 50 acres of blooming hillsides, nursery, gardens and more; which overlook the Pacific Ocean and Carlsbad Outlets. Come with family and friends and enjoy a day taking in the colorful ranunculus flowers which you can walk up to or take an antique tractor wagon ride around the fields to access the numerous rows of flowers. There are educational programs, workshops and exciting events; as well as an Arts & Crafts show, food vendors and live music entertainment during the weekends. If you'd like to take home fresh cut ranunculus blooms, stop by the Armstrong Garden Center Gift Shop on your way out. For ticket information, click here

TIPS

  • If you're visiting over the weekend, be sure to get here before or when the Flower Fields open to avoid long lines a the ticket booth and tractor rides. It'll also be less congested so you can move about the gardens and fields freely. 
  • You can take photos, but any professional equipment would need prior approval.
  • You can't step in between the rows of flowers, but there are inlets with small benches where you can take photos within the flowers, some inlets have a photographer assistant that can take photos for/of you. 
  • Wear sunscreen and any other sun protection necessary since you will be under direct sunlight.
  • Bring a light jacket or cover up as it can get windy
  • If you're planning on walking up to the fields instead of taking the tractor, be sure to wear comfortable shoes.
  • For FAQs, click here
  • You can purchase tickets online and avoid waiting in line to purchase tickets. 

The Flower Fields History 

Today, the fields are a direct result of over 85 years of floral cultivation that began when Luther Gage, an early settler and grower settled in the area in the early 1920's. Mr. Gage brought Ranunculus seeds to the area and began growing them in his fields next to Frank Frazee's small vegetable farm in South Oceanside. This started a business called "Luther Gage Giant Tecolote Ranunculus bulbs". The name "Tecolote" came from the owls that nested on his property. 

Read more about the Flower Fields History here. If you're not able to make it down to the Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch this season, check out this previous post on the wildflower bloom in Orange County! 

 

The Christmas Guide to Orange County 2016

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Thursday, Dec 08, 2016

Orange County has a variety of Christmas festivities to enjoy this holiday season. Although we may not experience below freezing temperatures or snowfall, you will be overcome with merry, holiday spirit through these decked out places and cheerful entertainment.

Knott's Merry Farm

Until January 1, 2017, experience Knott's Berry Farm's transformation into a winter wonderland with thousands of twinkling lights and holiday décor. Join in the fun with the ice skating spectacular, Snoopy on Ice, sing-along with the Calico Carolers, meet Santa Claus in his Christmas Village and be dazzled by the all new production, ‘It's The Merriest Christmas Show Ever, Charlie Brown'. At night, Ghost Town comes alive with Snow and Glow, a holiday celebration of music, lights and a blanket of snow that falls from the sky. Click Here for more information. 

OC Chill Ice Rink in Irvine

At the Irvine Spectrum Center, visitors can ice skate until their heart's content at one of Orange County's only outdoor ice rinks. Now through January 16, 2017 the rink will be open daily from 11 a.m. until 9:15 p.m. and guests of all ages can shred the ice for only $20 per person with rentals. On Saturday nights, grab a hot cocoa and enjoy live bands scattered throughout the Center. For this upcoming Saturday, enjoy Snow Day! presented by the Active Ride ShopClick here for more information.  

Christmas Boat Parade

A combination of opulence and beauty, the 108th Annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade showcases luxury yachts, personal boats, and kayaks covered in Christmas lights and holiday decorations. Running December 14th through the 18th, 2016 the annual tradition is one of Orange County's most popular attractions and was even named "one of the top ten holiday happenings in the nation" by the New York Times. The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade is one of the local traditions that I look forward to and if I'm able to make it, enjoy every year! I love getting a toasty cup of hot cocoa or coffee and walking on the boardwalk along the water as the boats sail by. There are many spots along the water in which you can take a seat to watch (bring blankets to get extra snuggly). You'll really have fun seeing the creativity, and ingenuity that is poured into lighting up these small to large boats! Click here for more information and a map of the parade route!

"Pirate's Take Christmas!," at Pirate's Dinner Adventure

Shiver me timbers...scoundrel pirates have captured Santa and Mrs. Claus and are threatening to put an end to the holiday season at Pirate's Dinner Adventure. The two hour, interactive Christmas dinner show runs December 5th through the 25th, 2016 and includes a delicious, four-course holiday feast. View the Pirate's Dinner Adventure's Rise of the Sea Dragon show below to get a taste of what's in store. Get tickets to Pirate's Take Christmas here!
 


Video and Images via Pirate's Dinner Adventure

Bolsa Chica's Christmas at the Beach

To escape the cold of the North Poll, Santa Claus visits Bolsa Chica ever year on December 11th, 2016. Garnering his favorite Southern California outfit, Santa meets with all the good boys and girls on his Christmas jet ski. After the sun sets, put on your ugly Christmas sweater and cozy up by the fire to roast marshmallows and watch the hit movie, "Despicable Me." Sounds like the perfect evening with a loved one or family!

Holidays at the Disneyland Resort

One of my all time favorite places has been sprinkled with pixie dust for a transformation into a winter wonderland for Holidays at the Disneyland Resort which runs now through January 8th, 2017. The iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle glimmers with Christmas lights, Jack Skellington has taken over the Haunted Mansion and boughs of holly line Main Street. Visitors can also enjoy favorites like It's A Small World Christmas with over 100,000 lights, the beloved Fantasy Parade and the night-time firework spectacular. You can even catch Santa Clause and his merry elves at Redwood Creek Challenge Trail at Disney California Adventure Park. While in the Disney California Adventure Park, experience cultural traditions with the Disney Festival of Holidays, and you'll want to stay for the World of Color - Season of Light, your favorite water and lights spectacular with a holiday twist! Santa will also visit the Disneyland Park and he can be seen at a special location in Critter Country. You'll also want to try the variety of holiday-inspired decorated sweet treats available at the Disney Parks! Click here for ticket info!

The Christmas Carol at the South Coast Repertory

Charles Dicken's classic, A Christmas Carol comes to life at the South Coast Repertory. The whole family will enjoy the live play depicting Scrooge as he transform from a cold, greedy man to a generous, kind-hearted business owner set in nineteenth-century London. The limited time production runs November 25th through the 26th, 2016.  Click here for ticket info!

Images via South Coast Repertory 

Festival Ballet Theatre's The Nutcracker Ballet

Take part in the grandeur and extravagance of the timeless Nutcracker ballet - the holiday season isn't complete with out dancing mice and snowflakes, the sugarplum fairy & nutcracker and more! The Festival Ballet Theatre is back with a performance of over 100 dancers at  Barclay Theatre! Click here for ticket info!

Images and Video via Festival Ballet Theatre
 
Happy Holidays!
 
Some event information provided by Visit Buena Park 

Cavalia Returns to Irvine for Holiday 2016

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Tuesday, Nov 08, 2016

If you didn't get to experience the Odysseo Show by Cavalia the last time they were in Irvine, here is your chance, AND Irvine Company is offering special discount deals for up to $25 off ticket prices for evening shows. 

You may have already seen the large white tent being built within the last couple of months right near the 133 and 405 freeway connectors and thought, is the horse show back already? Due to huge demand, Cavalia returns to Irvine November 16 - January 8! The last time they were in town, the show was extended to accommodate the demand. Now you have no excuse in attending as Irvine Company is providing the below exclusive offers on evening shows in Irvine:

 DISCOUNT TICKET CATEGORIES 
 10$ OFF / GOLD Ticket  Junior/Senior/Children Tickets
 15$ OFF / GOLD Ticket  Adult Tickets
 25$ OFF / ALL RDV VIP Tickets
 All

USE PROMOTIONAL CODE: IRVINECO

* This promotion cannot be combined with any other offer and applies only to new purchases on Gold & Rendez-vous VIP sections only. Not valid on matinee shows. Certain conditions apply. Limited quantity.

For more information on the show, performance dates, purchasing tickets and the Irvine Company special promo - CLICK HERE!

Cavalia's new production Odysseo will take you on an immersive journey, experiencing nature's greatest wonders through jaw-dropping acrobatic performers and dancers in harmony with singers and awe striking horses and riders.  

Odysseo - the largest touring production on earth - features 65 magnificent horses and 48 talented riders, acrobats, dancers, and musicians under a White Big Top the size of an NFL football field. 

You definitely will not be disappointed, you will be bewildered and wowed by this entertainment and theatrical feat! Gift this experience to yourself, family or friends this holiday season - It will surely be an unforgettable performance and experience.  

Information, Images and Video Content from Irvine Company or Cavalia.    

Filed In: History

A Look Back at Lion Country Safari

Posted by: Ellen Bell
Posted on: Thursday, Oct 13, 2016

If you drive south on the 405 near Irvine Center Drive and the Irvine Spectrum, you’ll see Los Olivos Village on your right. This luxury, resort-style apartment community is the largest in Orange County and was recently voted Best Complex by The Orange County Register. But these hills were once home to the Lion Country Safari, one of one of Irvine’s most unique historical landmarks. 

The 140-acre attraction was the brainchild of South African developer Harry Shuster, who opened the park in 1970 as a way to bring the exotic sights and sounds of an African safari to the tourists of Orange County. The concept was simple: a drive-thru zoo for the car-loving public. Visitors paid to drive their car through a four-mile, African wildlife preserve trail as the animals roamed nearby, providing an up-close and personal zoological experience. Convertibles were prohibited for obvious reasons, but their owners were not excluded from the park. Air-conditioned safari jeeps were available for rent at the front entrance.

 

After the car safari, visitors could explore the other themed attractions in the park. There was an African Express Train, Hippo Pedal Boats and the Zambezi River. Unlike the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland a few miles north, Lion Country Safari advertised that “if your boat should run into a hippopotamus while cruising along, it will be a real hippo!”

The most famous resident of Lion Country Safari was an aging circus lion from Mexico named Frasier. The old lion became quite popular with the lionesses and a population boom of cubs soon followed. Frasier’s amorous accomplishments inspired the 1972 PG-rated movie, Frasier, the Sensuous Lion, even though the aging lothario wasn’t much to look at. According to the LA Times, “he hobbled about on weakened legs, his tongue sagged from his toothless mouth.”


In 1978, a wayward hippo named Bubbles managed to escape and ended up in a drainage ditch behind the park. She was loose for nineteen days and the fumbled attempts to recapture her made national news. Unfortunately, Bubbles fell awkwardly after receiving a tranquilizer shot and died.

An Asian elephant named Misty broke free after a 1983 concert at nearby Irvine Meadows Amphitheater,  Park warden Lee Keaton tried to rechain the animal but was killed when Misty stepped on and crushed his skull. The elephant escaped and was on the loose for three hours, causing a traffic jam on the 405 freeway.

Even though the park was a success, drawing more than 1 million visitors during its first year of operation, the challenging economy of the mid-1970s began to affect attendance. Bad publicity from escape attempts and rising insurance claims brought an end to the park in 1984.  A portion of Lion Country Safari was converted into the Wild Rivers Water Park in 1986. 

Last Days to Experience Mummies at Bowers Museum

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Wednesday, Aug 31, 2016

(ABOVE) This mummy is that of a man named Nes-Hor, which means "the one who belongs to Horus". Horus is the falcon-headed god of hunting and warfare and is a symbol of power. Nes-Hor worked as a priest in the Temple of Min, in the city of Khent-Min (Akhmim). Nes-Hor's sarcophagus was constructed from wood and shows many patches and repairs made during ancient times. A detailed study of the symbols on the sarcophagus identified Nes-Hor's name, parents' names and occupation. On loan fromBuffalo and Erie County Historical Society.

MUMMIES OF THE WORLD 

When visiting the Mummies of the World exhibit at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, I was in absolute awe. Of course, mummies exist worldwide and there are numerous mummification processes, but the only exposure I've had to mummies has been of Egyptian origin. What was so exciting about the Mummies of the World exhibit were the vast artifacts and variety of mummies from so many different places like South America and Europe on display. The exhibit is split into various galleries such as Natural Mummification, Artificial Mummification, Experimental Mummification and Science & Medicine. 

You not only get to physically see mummies but you learn more about where the person or animal came from; the preserved state of the mummies gives you a glimpse into their cultures, way of life and how they became mummies whether through a natural or intentional process.

Over 1.4 million visitors have experienced The Mummies of the World exhibit and this is the first time it has been on display in Orange County. Enjoy and learn about the wonders of Mummies of the World at the Bowers Museum for its last few days - the exhibit closes on September 5, 2016. 

BOWERS MUSEUM

2002 N.MAIN STREET

SANTA ANA, CA 92706

714.567.3600 

Visiting Hours & Ticket Information 

PURCHASE TICKETS HERE 

Three Shrunken Heads
Shrunken heads were prepared and worn by the victor of a battle, believing the victim's power would then be transferred to that victor. Popular in the mid-19th century, shrunken heads were a collectible which became so popular that Europeans created replica shrunken heads from unclaimed bodies. On loan from Buffalo Museum of Science and San Diego Museum of Man. (Photo credit: American Exhibitions, Inc.) 
The Orlovits Family
The Orlovits family is part of a group of 18th-century mummies uncovered in two long-forgotten burial crypts dating back to 1674 just north of Budapest in 1994 during reconstruction on parts of a Dominican church where 265 naturally mummified bodies were uncovered, including religious leaders and important local families who had been interred in the crypts between 1731 and 1838. Michael Orlovits (born 1765), Veronica Orlovits (born 1770) and Johannes Orlovits (born 1800) were among those preserved by the cool, dry air of the crypt and the oil from the pine boards used to build their coffins. 
 

Egyptian Cat Mummy
Dating back to the early Roman period, the Egyptian cat mummy in Mummies of the World shows how Egyptian cats were ritually embalmed in a lengthy process using salt and various resins. On loan from Buffalo and Erie County Historical
Society.

Naturally Mummified Lizard Mummy
Spiny-tailed lizard naturally mummified in the Sahara desert is an example of a modern-day mummy, probably less than 100 years old. Part of the Mummies of the World exhibition at Cincinnati Museum Center, it was mummified by the hot, dry air of the desert. 
Baron von Holz
The Baron von Holz is a 17th-century nobleman who is believed to have died in or near Sommersdorf, Germany during the Thirty Years' War (1618-48). He was discovered in the family crypt underneath the church of the von Crailsheim family's late 14th-century castle, where the bodies of five people had mummified naturally due to the environmental conditions. The Baron was found still wearing his leather boots, as depicted in an 1833 lithograph of the mummies in the crypt.
 
Ancient Egyptian Sarcophagus
The hieroglyphs of this beautiful sarcophagus tell us that it was made for a woman of wealth, likely more than 2,000 years old. Made by imported Lebanese cedar planks and joined with wooden dowels, decorated with columns of hieroglyphs, which are flanked on both sides with images of the four sons of Horus - from top to bottom: Hapy the baboon, Qebehsenuef the falcon, Duamutef the jackal, and finally Imsety the human-headed god. On loan from: San Diego Museum of Man. 
 
Information & Images provided by Blaze PR on behalf of Mummies of the World at Bowers Museum.

iHeartRadio and Alessia Cara at the Irvine Spectrum this Weekend for the Endless Summer Festival

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Tuesday, Aug 16, 2016

The Endless Summer Festival is back in its second year to kick off Back-to-School Shopping at the Irvine Spectrum Center this Thursday August 18-Sunday August 20 in which shoppers can enjoy fun activities, and in-store events and promotions at select retailers between 2pm-7pm.

“We had such an amazing turnout at least year’s inaugural event that we’re expanding the festival to three days this year,” said Easther Liu, chief marketing officer for Irvine Company Retail Properties. “This event officially marks the start of one of our busiest shopping seasons at Irvine Spectrum Center and it’s our way to help shoppers find everything they need as they head back to school, plus extend summertime fun."

Event Highlights Include: 

  • Friday, Aug. 19 at Giant Wheel Court. The singer will perform hits such as “Here” and “Wild Things” from her debut album, “Know-­-It-­- All.” Cara is currently on tour with Coldplay
  • An Active Ride Shop Skate Village  at Edwards Court, featuring multiple skate ramps for open skating sessions to the public, as well as demos and lessons from pro skaters
  • An Open-­-air Yearbook Photo Booth at Carousel Court
  • A Nordstrom Beauty Lounge Airstream at Giant Wheel Court will feature complimentary hair styling by T3, as well beauty makeovers by MAC and Dior
  • Enjoy in-store parties each day from 5pm-7pm at select retailers such as Anthropologie, Cotton On, Active Ride Shop, Hurley I NIKE SB, Quiksilver, Irene’s Story, Old Navy, Windsor
More Information and Event Details can be found at the ORANGE COUNTY ZEST!
 
 
Images & Information provided by Cornerstone Communications on behalf of the Irvine Spectrum Center
Filed In: History

Lyon Air Museum: Wings of Freedom Tour

Posted by: Ellen Bell
Posted on: Thursday, May 19, 2016

My Dad has always been my hero. 

On recent visit to the Lyon Air Museum in Irvine, I learned that he's a hero to others as well. 

I grew up hearing about his service in World War II, how he lied about his age and told the enlistment officer that he was a year older than his actual age of 17, so he could have the chance to join the Air Force. 

Then in 1946, 19-year-old Merle Baker, who had never travelled more than a few hours from his hometown of Chicago, shipped off to the exotic islands of the South Pacific. 

He joined Operation Crossroads as an Air Force photographer. His mission: take pictures of atomic bomb tests from the air. 

As a kid, I heard about the day he climbed into the belly of a  B-29 Bomber, opened the door at 15,000 feet, and took pictures of the blast below. 

I used to imagine my Dad high above that massive, sepia-tone, mushroom cloud pictured in his old photographs, and I always asked him the same question,

"Were you scared?"

"No," he always said. "I was just a kid."

70 years later, as we walked through the Lyon Air Museum, he's no longer a kid. The museum's collection of vintage war planes and bombers tower over him and it's hard to imagine that he's the same young man with the strong jaw and steely, blue eyes that stare out from his Air Force photograph. 

 

We're here for the "Wings of Freedom Tour," an exhibition of vintage war planes that have been lovingly restored by the Collings Foundation, a non-profit group that organizes and supports "living history" events at airports across the country. On display are three planes; a B-24 Liberator, a B-17 Flying Fortress, and a WWII P-51C Mustang dual-control fighter aircraft. 

I'm here to learn about these amazing planes. Dad is here to take a ride. 

 

After checking in and getting his boarding pass, we stand near the window with other museum visitors and watch groups of excited passengers board the planes. I wonder for a moment if this is a good idea. Will this experience be too strenuous for a man nearing his 90th birthday? There are no entry steps to the plane. Passengers hoist themselves up to board, just like young servicemen did decades ago. I look over to see if my Dad is nervous, and see that he's smiling. 

"Do you hear that sound?" he says, as the drone of the propellers gets louder during takeoff. "There's nothing like it."

Soon it's his turn and I watch him take his place with the others near the B-17.

They are all vintage plane enthusiasts, but Dad is the only one old enough to have been on one during active duty. They regard him with respect and shake his hand.

He smiles and shares his stories as they listen attentively. I am no longer worried. I am proud of him all over again. 

The Lyon Air Museum is a wonderful place. It's a treasure trove of historic preservation tucked away on the west side of Orange County's John Wayne Airport. Established by Major General William Lyon, the museum captures the remarkable history of World War II aviation. Its mission is to share stories of aviation's past and inspire visitors to preserve the heritage of the greatest generation.

I brought my father to the "Wings of Freedom" tour so that he could have the gift of going back in time, but I received a gift as well. I got a chance to see my Dad in a new light. My hero was an heroic example to others. 

For an afternoon, he was still my Dad and my kids' Grandfather. But as he got off the plane, eyes twinkling as he gave me an enthusiastic thumbs-up, I had the chance to see that teenager from Chicago too. 

LYON AIR MUSEUM

19300 Ike Jones Road
Santa Ana, CA 92707
Phone: 714-210-4585
 
 

HOURS OF OPERATION

10 AM to 4 PM, every day

ADMISSION FEES

General: $12
Ages 5-17: $6
Under 5: Free
Seniors & Veterans: $9
Groups: $1-Off
School Groups: Free (Grades K - 12. By reservation only. Other restrictions may apply)


2017-2018 Visitors Guide
Visitors Guide
Whether here for a business trip or a family vacation, let our free Visitors Guide be your constant companion.  More
E-Newsletter image
E-Newsletter
Destination Irvine's quarterly newsletter is a great way to stay informed about Irvine, the center of Orange County.  Sign up
36 Executive Park, Suite 100 · Irvine, CA 92614
Phone: 949-660-9112
Powered by Translate