Irvine Meadows has long been an integral part of Southern California’s music scene, hosting rock, pop and country stars from across genres for decades. However, this weekend it will play its final performances before it’s transformed into parking spaces.
As daylight saving time ends this Sunday, take advantage of an extra hour of evening sunlight by exploring Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks with various evening activities.
1. Ferris Wheel at the Spectrum
Irvine Spectrum Center in Orange County provides everything needed for an exciting day out, from department stores like Nordstrom and Target, to skating on their outdoor ice rink. They even go beyond traditional mall fare with state fair-worthy attractions like Ferris Wheel, antique Carousel, movie Theaters, Comedy clubs like Irvine Improv, Dave & Buster’s arcade games, Hello Kitty Cafes and other fun attractions!
A 108-foot Wheel, lit with 52,000 energy-efficient LED lights, serves as the centerpiece of this sprawling shopping/entertainment complex. Ride its luxurious seats to see all of Orange County or watch a show at Edwards 21 IMAX & RPX movie theater before enjoying dinner from one of several eateries that range from mall staples like Dave & Buster’s to L.A. transplant Umami Burger or Paul Martin’s American Grill for some delicious variety.
Inspired by recreational motivation, this painting depicts two men playing late night basketball under a sunset glow. The forced perspective highlights both aspects of this painting’s design: its significance of game as well as that of sunset glow.
2. Marine Corps Air Station El Toro
Marine Corps Air Station El Toro served the US military for 57 years across four wars. Thomas O’Hara chronicles this base through photographs spanning its history in this book.
MCAS was initially selected to handle west coast jet squadron traffic as part of an initiative to centralize aircraft for combat in the Pacific region, serving also as an exit/entry point for many Marines both departing for and returning from Vietnam.
El Toro also saw an iconic crash in 1986 when Marine Lance Corporal Howard Foote Jr, then 21, took an A-4 Skyhawk for a joyride on July 4, 1986 and crashed it. Family and friends of Foote gathered at El Toro that day to honor him with a memorial. El Toro closed as part of the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Act in 1999 and is now known as Orange County Great Park with thousands of acres still accessible by residents and businesses alike.
3. Soccer Field
COVID-19 had taken place for four months prior to OC Soccer returning at their Orange County Great Park Championship Soccer Stadium home, but their future may now be threatened as Irvine City considers moving LA Galaxy II instead in exchange for exclusive arrangements between their teams.
Forced perspective and depictions of games in progress draw viewers into the painting as though they are participating on the field alongside players – an approach repeated throughout a series of sport themed paintings by this artist.
The Great Park boasts 26 natural grass and synthetic soccer fields designed to meet local needs while simultaneously attracting high-level regional and national sports programs. Additionally, this facility houses the new Baseball & Softball Complex featuring 10 ball fields surrounding two championship stadiums; all public access is granted on a first come, first serve basis when not reserved for practice sessions, tournaments or games.
4. Bommer Canyon Preserve
Irvine spends more on its parks system than most cities across the nation and it shows. Residents regularly walk or hike through Bommer Canyon Preserve, a California Natural Landmark featuring ancient oak and sycamore trees as well as rugged rock outcrops.
This preserve features the site of an Irvine Ranch Cattle Camp that has been transformed into a community park offering rustic events and special activities. Some original structures still stand, such as Chuck Wagon food service building and Drink Pavilion.
Visitors to Shady Canyon Drive can access the trail from a parking lot at its entrance; however, spots often fill up quickly. If this happens to be the case for you, parking nearby Turtle Rock Community Park and walking from there could be a more suitable alternative option. Open from dawn to dusk for passive self-guided recreation from dawn till dusk daily for passive self-guided recreation, Bommer Canyon Nature Garden also allows visitors to engage with native plants close-up.