Orange County's Most Famous Attractions
Every year, along with many thousands of visitors, the swallows return to San Juan Capistrano at Mission San Juan Capistrano. Although their numbers are dwindling, they are still a rare and dramatic sight to behold. The mission’s Serra Chapel is the oldest building still used in California and is also the site of an ongoing archeological dig. Non-guided tours of the ruins and surrounding gardens are available year round.
The most famous attraction in Orange County is home to the mouse. Disneyland Resort in Anaheim is still the happiest place on earth for the kid in all of us. Disney’s newest theme park, California Adventure is right next door, where you can stroll down replicas of California’s notoriously popular avenues or learn about the Golden State by taking a ride on Soarin’ Over California. Just outside the parks is Downtown Disney with shopping and restaurants galore, including a House of Blues and an ESPN Sports Center.
If you’re a roller coaster enthusiast, Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park is the theme park for you. The Boomerang spins riders upside down in a little over a minute and the Xcelerator is one of the fastest launch coasters in existence, traveling from 0-80 in 2.3 seconds. Adding to the parks wild west atmosphere, there is the world’s largest wooden rollercoaster, with 4,533 feet of rustic twists and turns and g-forces of 3.14. But if you really want to get weak in the knees, the Supreme Scream takes you thirty stories up and drops you back down in less than three seconds. Or if you prefer some feet on the ground pleasure, you can visit Knott’s Soak City water park for a splashing good time.
Hollywood is immortalized for the star struck sightseer at Six Flags Movieland Wax Museum in Buena Park. Along with the wax likenesses of every star from Mary Pickford to Madonna, there are lots of movie set tales and memorabilia to see. And for those who have a taste for the bizarre and unusual, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! is also located within walking distance.
The Queen Mary in Long Beach is not only famous for it’s on board shops, restaurants and museums, but the luxury liner is also famous for its shipboard phantoms. The ghost hunters among you can experience first hand a frightful haunting by taking the Ghosts and Legends Show that dramatizes paranormal activity reported over the historical ship’s past. Not for the cowardly, visitors will see doors slamming by themselves, flickering lights, pots and pans clanking about in the galley and spirits roaming the decks. These are only some of the ghostly apparitions you’ll see when you visit the oldest cruise ship in the world. Definitely not for the faint of heart!
Coastal Orange County is surrounded by the largest ocean in the Pacific, home to more than 500 species of sea life. At The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, there are 12,500 sea animals on exhibit including the outdoor Shark Lagoon. The various galleries of the Long Beach aquarium explore the waters of Southern California, Baja and other major regions of the Pacific. Also showing at the aquarium is The Monsters of the Abyss, a multimedia event with state-of-the-art 3-D technology to bring you up and close to the most fearsome creatures of the deep.
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