Welcome to the Playground

Here we will post information about parks that we find for use with your special needs children in mind.  All of the links provided will take you to the city page for that park if there is one available, or to  FunOrangeCountyParks.com with a special thanks to Michele Whiteaker for the information she has provided and the hard work she has put into her site dedicated to the parks.

If you know a park that is not listed and have photos you would like to provide please send them in.

Parks and Fun

Courtney's Sandcastle

This is called a Universal Access Park.  It is built with all children in mind including those in wheelchairs and walkers.  There are special swings to support those that cannot support themselves.  A sensory garden for site, touch, sound and smell.  Located in San Clemente California

Pavion Park

Sitting next to a school that used to have special needs classes, this park has universal access.  There is also a large grass field and pathway around it that your kids can play in or ride their bikes on.  It's perfect for walkers and gate trainers.

 Photo Credit: Michele Whiteaker/FunOrangeCountyParks.com  

Angel's Playground

Photo Credit: Michele Whiteaker/FunOrangeCountyParks.com

This is called Angel's Playground at Tewinkle Park in Costa Mesa.  One of the few universal access parks that contains shaded areas for fun, without getting too hot.  Recycled materials make up the flooring and it can get hot in the summer.  Always wear your shoes.

Photo Credit: Michele Whiteaker/FunOrangeCountyParks.com 

Box Canyon Park

Located in Yorba Linda, this park is unique in design as it houses two structures, a pirate ship for kids aged 2-6 and a castle for those aged 6-12, both are wheelchair accessible.

 Photo Credit: Michele Whiteaker/FunOrangeCountyParks.com 

Sand Free Parks

Some children, such as those with Autism have sensory issues with sand and bark that may limit them on what they want to play with.  They will often play with the sand or bark and ignore the actual facilities.  Here are some parks that don't have that, allowing your child to enjoy the park.

 Photo Credit: Michele Whiteaker/FunOrangeCountyParks.com  

Fenced Parks

A little extra security goes a long way when you are a parent of a child with special needs.  When they tend to run off, a fenced in park gives you more security that they don't leave the area, even if you are watching them.  Even more so if you have more than one child.

 Photo Credit: Michele Whiteaker/FunOrangeCountyParks.com  

Sandy Feet Initiatve

Special Needs children might have siblings that don't have those same special abilities.  The Sandy Feet Initiative helps teach surfing and respect for the beach for these siblings.

Aquarium of the Pacific

Children of all disabilities love to see the fish and the large tanks.  What's great is that they have events for you to check out on their events page for  Autism Nights, Abilities Night, and the Festival of Human Abilities.

Special Fishies

This organization is dedicated to teaching swimming to children with special needs.  They build confidence and focus on safety so your child is in good hands.

Fish For Life

Taking Special Needs Children out for fishing trips in Dana Point.  They have some great photos of the kids having a blast and learning how to fish.

Just Like Me Foundation

All children grow up, and special needs teenagers need to be themselves too.  This place helps them achieve the goal of just being a teenager.  It helps them experience after school activities and fun.

UCP of Orange County

located at the Newport Aquatics Center, this place has an Outrigger Paddling for children and adults with special abilities

The Shea Center

Therapeutic Riding Center uses horses as a way of teaching control, balance, strength and speech to those with special abilities.

United States Adaptive Recreation Center

Adaptive sports programs for all ages and all special abilities.  This program uses adaptive equipment and volunteers to provide the same experience to those with special needs as those without.