Fun in Southern California

“Sunny and 75,” that’s California, right?


Ha, ha, not exactly. But, California is a nice place to visit. We recently tagged along on a work trip with my bestie and the kids’ honorary auntie to Ontario, California. Ontario has it’s own airport and is near(ish) to places like Disneyland, but it’s often cheaper to fly into there and they have a nice convention center, so lots of conferences are hosted there. But, what’s there to do in and around Ontario, without spending tons of time in that infamous LA traffic?


As it turns out, lots! Too much for us to do in the 4 days we were there, hanging out just the kids (ages 2 and 4) and me while my friend was at her all day long conference. My kids absolutely LOVE parks, so we checked out as many as we could while we were down there. Just a quick Google search, and we were off to new parks and playgrounds. How’s that for free fun!?

Southern California isn't all crowds, being stuck in hours of freeway traffic and Disneyland. Head off the beaten path a bit and explore some of the smaller sites and things to do, especially if you're fortunate enough to tag along on a business trip to Ontario, CA! Take the kids and have fun exploring Southern California in a more budget-friendly way! #SouthernCalifornia #OntarioCalifornia #travel #SpringBreak #travelingwithtoddlers #familyvacation

Are your little ones like mine and love seeing animals? There are several places to see animals around Ontario without a trip to the zoo!

One really neat place to check out and see some animals on a real working farm is Amy’s Farm in Ontario. It’s on the outskirts of town, but a quick and easy drive. Lots of cows and other farms to check out along the way too. They have organic produce for sale and give tours. Check their website or call for tour times and information though! The kids had lots of fun checking out the cows and observing the cat (we have dogs, so a cat was new to them and surprisingly interesting).

But, there’s also Uncle Tom’s Farm in Corona, which is just a short drive away. If you go during the off season, double check the hours. There’s a train, pond, petting zoo, restaurants, and more!

Also not too far from Ontario is the San Dimas Canyon Community Regional Park, which has a nice play structure, picnic area AND an animal rescue place on site. We got to see the tortoises being fed, had fun looking at the interactive exhibits in the museum and enjoyed looking at the birds and other animals in the sanctuary. It’s a great place to stop and have a nice lunch and sit back and relax while the kids play at the park. Did I mention this place is free? Yup! Certainly worth a visit.

The Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden is HUGE. Lots of stuff to see and a great place for kids to explore (stay on the paths!). We like looking at plants and finding similarities and differences (the teacher in me doesn’t stop when we’re on vacation!), and the kids really enjoyed this. The little pond is nice to look at too and had ducks to observe while we were there. 🙂 Bring a stroller or carrier if your little ones tire easy! You don’t want to get stuck at the end or in the middle with a long walk back to the car and tired kiddos. Plenty of sunscreen and water are important too. It’s sunny, and I imagine it’d be quite warm in the summer.

Looking for something indoors?

The Ontario Mills Mall is a nice mall, complete with a Rainforest Cafe, which the kids absolutely loved. They have animals that move and thunderstorms. Plus, the gift shop is fun to look at. We went for an early dinner and were seated right away. Yay for no lines!

Also at the Ontario Mills Mall is a Dave & Busters and a Daiso store!


Other places to check out… 

(We didn’t make it to these, but several moms living in the area recommended these places as good places to check out with toddlers).

  • Lake Hesperia– ducks to feed for free, an old playground, and more!
  • Victoria Gardens- fun outdoor mall to walk around with a park and train
  • Silverwood Lake
  • Chino’s “The Shoppe” outdoor stores (water fountain for kids to play in too!)
  • Guasti Regional Park
  • Yanks Air Museum in Chino and Planes Hall of Fame Museum
  • Toddler Town in Rancho Cucamonga
  • Magical Playground in West Covina
  • Adventure City in Irvine
  • Santa Ana Zoo
  • Children’s Museum in Chino
  • Rumble Bee Playground in Norco
  • Kids Club in Ontario
  • Scandia (mini amusement park, miniature golf)


If you get the chance to tag along on a business trip to Ontario, CA, rest assured that there’s plenty to see and do with kids, without sitting in hours of traffic! And, it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Most of what we did was free or very reasonably priced. Yay!

Thinking of taking a trip to Southern California but looking to avoid the crowds? Try Ontario instead! There's plenty to see and do, and without the crowds and hefty admission tickets of other places. #Ontario #SouthernCalifornia #travelingwithtoddlers  #familyvacation