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Orange County’s “Great Park”

Los Angeles often comes under criticism because it doesn’t have enough parks or green space within the city. Sure, there are mountains nearby and the beach is always available. The city does have the one of the largest parks within city limits in Griffith Park, but the average person in Los Angeles does not have a park within walking distance. There’s nowhere to just take the dog for a walk or go for a quick run.

Nowhere is this problem more pronounced than in Orange County, where traffic locks up and strip mall parking lots are the closest thing to open space that the city has.

Orange County is trying to correct for that problem in one large, ambitious bout of overcompensation. The “Great Park” under development aims to provide the residents of Orange County with one massive mega park, where all their park needs will be met at one central location.

Built over the top of El Toro military base, the Great Park is going to be 1,347 acres of recreation opportunities and open space, baseball diamonds and soccer fields as well as cultural centers, interpretive experiences and nature hikes through three miles of canyon.

The park will also feature a museum presenting the history of El Toro base as well as some of the military aircraft that flew from the airfield. The Great Park will stretch from the beach to the mountains and will be larger than New York City’s Central Park and San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park put together.

Unfortunately, a construction project of this size takes years to complete and the park will not be ready for general use for quite some time. For the moment, the only open attraction in the park is a balloon ride which takes visitors up and over the park to see the the progress being made on the construction. The ride also incorporates views of the mountains and the surrounding county. The ride is free, but visitors must obtain a boarding pass when entering the park.