12 Things To Do With Family In Anaheim, California

Last Updated on February 19, 2024 by Emily Johnson


Anaheim is a lively city in Orange County, California that’s filled with fun attractions for the whole family. From world-famous theme parks like Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm to sporting events, outdoor adventures, and interactive museums, there are endless ways to bond and make lasting memories together in Anaheim.

This article outlines 12 top attractions and activities that should be on every family’s list for an entertaining and memorable vacation. With thrilling amusement park rides, opportunities to connect with nature, and plenty of kid-friendly dining and entertainment options, Anaheim offers nonstop excitement that appeals to all ages.

Visit Disneyland and California Adventure


No family trip to Anaheim is complete without a visit to “The Happiest Place on Earth” – the iconic Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure. Opened in 1955, Disneyland features 8 themed lands spread across 85 acres, with over 60 rides and attractions. Families with little kids will love Fantasyland’s storybook rides like Dumbo, Peter Pan’s Flight, and It’s a Small World. Meanwhile, tweens, teens and parents can experience the thrills of mountains like Space Mountain and the Matterhorn Bobsleds. From battling pirates and ghosts to runaway mine trains, every area of the park offers immersive adventures that all ages adore.

Next door is Disney California Adventure, which opened in 2001. The park celebrates the culture and landscapes of the Golden State across 7 lands. Popular attractions include Cars Land, where you’ll shrink down to size amidst a route filled with life-size cars, and Pixar Pier’s Incredicoaster roller coaster.

Meanwhile, little ones will find plenty to enjoy on Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train and the Golden Zephyr spin ride in Paradise Gardens Park. Of course, no Disney park experience is complete without a stellar parade, nighttime spectacular, and chance for young guests to meet beloved characters. Disneyland offers fun for all members of the family to enjoy together.

Play Mini Golf at Camelot Golfland


For a break between theme parks, spend an afternoon playing mini golf at Camelot Golfland. This Anaheim establishment first opened in 1954 and continues to be a local favorite with two 18-hole mini golf courses. Kids will delight in hitting their ball through mini castles and across babbling brooks as parents keep score. The beginner course has fun obstacles like windmills and waterfalls for a leisurely game, while the advanced course has trickier loops, bridges and tunnels to conquer.

Groups big and small will enjoy some friendly competition trying to complete each hole in the fewest strokes. When you work up an appetite, refuel at one of Camelot Golfland’s casual dining restaurants which offer arcade games, pool tables and more to keep the fun going after mini golf. It’s an easy, affordable way to spend quality time together outdoors.

Ride Rollercoasters at Knott’s Berry Farm

Home to some of the best thrill rides in Southern California, a visit to Knott’s Berry Farm has become a rite of passage for adolescents and families with older kids. As California’s first theme park, Knott’s has been offering family entertainment since 1920 when Walter and Cordelia Knott opened a simple berry stand which evolved into shops, restaurants and Old West-inspired attractions.

Today, Knott’s spans over 160 acres with world-class rollercoasters, interactive experiences, live entertainment and unique shopping. Must-ride coasters include the triple inversion Silver Bullet, as well as Xcelerator which fires riders from 0 to 82 mph in under 2 seconds. GhostRider and Pony Express also deliver gut-wrenching drops, loops and corkscrews to delight even the most seasoned coaster enthusiasts.

When you need a break from the big rides, head over to Camp Snoopy where young kids can ride tamer attractions themed to Peanuts characters. From pan-for-gold activities to stagecoach rides, families will love exploring every inch of this historic theme park together.

See Exotic Animals at Santa Ana Zoo


For animal encounters close to Disneyland, the Santa Ana Zoo provides memorable wildlife experiences in a beautiful park setting. As the oldest zoo in Orange County, families will be delighted to see over 300 animals across 60 species living in natural habitats.

Get up close to Capuchin monkeys in the rainforest exhibit, watch lazy sloths dangle overhead, and observe graceful guanacos grazing from a petting corral. One of the most popular exhibits features giant river otters which families can watch swim gracefully underwater with interpretive talks from zookeepers highlighting the species.

Meanwhile, the Zoofari Express train ride offers behind-the-scenes looks at normally off-limit animal enclosures like the cuddly-but-deadly Sumatran tigers. With shady trails winding past ponds and waterfalls, a ride on the colorful carousel is a must for young kids. Affordable admission makes the Santa Ana Zoo a great value forbudget-conscious families seeking a memorable outdoor experience together.

Rappel Down a Waterfall at Descanso Gardens


Just a 15-minute drive from Disneyland, Descanso Gardens offers a peaceful respite with 150 acres of nature trails, scenic overlooks and interactive exhibits. Families with older tweens and teens can challenge themselves together on the Challenger Point rock-climbing wall set alongside a cascading waterfall.

After taking a short orientation, participants are harnessed and helmeted to rappel down a sheer 36-foot rock face alongside the natural waterfall feature. It’s a unique opportunity to problem-solve and cheer each other on. Meanwhile, younger kids will have a blast in the Enchanted Railroad miniature train ride that winds through whimsical tunnel and trestles.

The Boddy House also offers hands-on exhibits for budding botanists and scientists. When you need a break, enjoy a casual picnic on the manicured lawns or browse the unique sculptures at the Descanso Garden Art Show. From exhilarating climbs amidst stunning scenery to leisurely garden strolls, Descanso Gardens has experiential fun for every family.

Paddleboat at Echo Park Lake


Just a 10-minute drive from downtown Anaheim, Echo Park Lake offers a serene urban escape for families to bond surrounded by nature. Rent a four-person paddleboat and take in views of palm trees framing the shimmering lake waters with sights of swaying lotus plants.

It’s a relaxing full-body workout as groups gently paddle across the lake, taking turns steering and setting the pace. Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy at waterside tables after working up an appetite on the boat, and don’t forget quarters for the bubblegum machine! Kids will also enjoy spotting ducks, swans, and giant Koi fish gliding beneath the water’s surface.

The lake loop trail offers flat terrain for strollers if tiny ones need a nap after rowing. With beautiful scenery and a dose of nostalgic fun, an afternoon paddling Echo Park Lake creates priceless memories without breaking the vacation budget.

Tour Angel Stadium and Catch a Baseball Game


Home to the Los Angeles Angels, a behind-the-scenes tour of Angel Stadium and catching a Major League Baseball game makes for an unforgettable family outing. Tours begin in the dugout, giving fans an up-close look at the ball field before heading up to the press box for insider broadcasting secrets.

There’s also opportunities to visit the Angels clubhouse and interactive exhibits showcasing memorable players and moments over the years. Of course, the main event is watching the Angels play an edge-of-your-seat MLB matchup. From cheering home runs to doing the crowd-favorite Light Wave, the excitement is contagious for all ages.

Friday night firework shows make for an extra special experience families will always remember. With affordable ticket options like the family section starting around $15 each, it’s easy to catch Angels fever no matter your budget. Getting to witness professional baseball players up close, tour behind-normally restricted areas, and bond over rally caps and home runs makes for an all star Anaheim experience.

See a Show at the Grove of Anaheim


For world-class entertainment, the Grove of Anaheim packs major star power and family-friendly shows into an intimate venue. With a capacity of just 1,700 seats, even the furthest spots feel close and personal for concerts ranging from rock legends like Motley Crue and comedy greats like Seth Meyers to Broadway musicals like Anastasia and Encanto.

The unique, indoor-outdoor setting features tree-lined terraces and patios for catching performers against a backdrop of twinkle lights on the plaza before the show. Family-friendly dining options like the House of Blues restaurant next door makes it easy to fuel up on boneless wings and mac ‘n cheese before curtain call.

Prices often rival nearby Los Angeles venues but without the traffic or parking headaches. From magicians like the Illusionists to one-of-a-kind live experiences from internet sensations like Kidz Bop or Jojo Siwa, the Grove of Anaheim brings A-list entertainment straight to Orange County families for memories you’ll recount for years to come.

Tour Anaheim Packing House


Once a historic citrus packing house dating back 1920, Anaheim Packing House has been reimagined into a delicious gathering spot for modern families. The two-story food hall features close to 30 artisanal eateries ranging from ramen bars, gelato shops and cocktail lounges to bakeries, cafes and full-service restaurants.

Families will love watching handmade noodles being pulled, custom cakes decorated and fresh juice blends mixed while you wait. Interactive eating experiences like DIY donut decorating stations and mix-and-match poke bowls will delight kids’ taste buds and imaginations.

Meanwhile, the weekly farmers market offers fresh-from-the-field fruits and veggies for healthy picnic provisions enjoyed amid music and craft vendors on the lawn. From locally-roasted coffee and housemade sausages to just-picked berries and savory empanadas, Graze through exotic flavors from around the globe that will give the whole family’s palate a passport stamp.

Walk Among Butterflies at Discovery Cube OC


At Discovery Cube OC, families with kids of any age can immerse themselves in engaging, hands-on science exhibits across two-stories and 120,000 square feet. One of the highlights is the seasonal Butterflies Alive! exhibit. Visitors enter an enclosed rainforest habitat filled with hundreds of exotic butterflies that flutter freely as you walk the paths.

See butterflies emerging from chrysalises in the life cycle display and learn about species like giant swallowtails and vivid blue morphos in their native environments. Kids delight in having these delicate winged creatures land gently on their hands and shoulders for an up-close look before taking flight again.

Other exhibits let families experience real rocket launches at Mission Control, hitch a virtual hang glider, and experiment with laser lightwave patterns. With affordable admission and always-changing hands-on exhibits, Discovery Cube OC easily fills a day with awe-inspiring science fun everyone in the family enjoys.

Stroll Downtown Disney District


Located right between Disneyland and California Adventure, Downtown Disney District offers unlimited family entertainment spanning 30 acres packed with kid-approved activities. By day, stroll lively promenades lined with LEGO and Star Wars build-your-own toy stores, sprinkle shops whipping up custom candy bags, cartoon character photo ops and plenty of Mickey merchandise.

Stop for shareable snacks like gooey cinnamon rolls, oversized turkey legs or jumbo churros to recharge before checking out virtual reality gaming at the VOID. As the sun sets, grab patio seats to enjoy dancing fountains synchronized to classic rock tunes before the whole area dazzles with magical music and light shows every 30 minutes after dark. With dozens of dining options from Naples-style pizzas to Asian street food, families will have a blast exploring Downtown Disney’s lively sights and flavors late into the evening for memory making fun.

Hike In Nature At Oak Canyon And Bolsa Chica

Just minutes from Anaheim’s resort district, you’ll find gorgeous green spaces offering scenic hikes the whole family can enjoy together. Oak Canyon Nature Center in the Anaheim Hills features nearly four miles of family-friendly trails that wind past a cascading waterfall and tranquil pond. Built into the hillside, the Visitor Center has a small museum and hosts special nature programs too.

Down by the coast, the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve protects a pocket of precious coastal wetlands. The Mesa Trail leads one mile to a scenic viewpoint overlooking the marshes. Hundreds of migratory bird species winter in the wetlands or stop to rest here during long migrations. So bring your binoculars to spot herons, egrets, pelicans and more. The historic Bolsa Chica Gun Club site played a pivotal role during the Civil War, so you’ll soak in history while enjoying ocean breezes along the trail.

Conclusion


With world-famous theme parks, major league sports teams, unique museums and abundant outdoor attractions, Anaheim offers unforgettable experiences for every member of the family. From riding Radiator Springs Racers together at Disney’s Cars Land to rappelling down a waterfall side-by-side at Descanso Gardens, Anaheim delivers nonstop excitement in an easily navigated location.

Baseball fans bond over rally caps and fireworks at an Angels game while foodies and thrill-seekers find common ground at Knott’s Berry Farm. Hands-on science exhibits captivate all ages at Discovery Cube and paddling serene waters forges priceless connections.

An embarrassment of entertainment riches awaits with live music acts and shows for all interests at the nearby Grove of Anaheim. Whichever experiences speak to your family, Anaheim offers a vacation filled with magical memories carefully crafted to bring generations closer together.

So whether you’re flying solo with young kids or coordinating a multi-generational group trip, Anaheim’s wide selection of attractions offers nonstop fun fine-tuned for families. With this list as your guide, start planning your own adventure-packed getaway celebrating the special bonds only formed through shared travel experiences.

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