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Best Value Annual Passes In OC

Orange County is home to some of the most sought-after destinations in California. But while there’s definitely something for everyone in Orange County, not all annual passes are created equally.

Best Annual Passes In Orange County

If you’re looking for something different to do or trying to get the best bang for your edutainment buck, we can help. Keep reading to discover our top picks for the best value annual passes in Orange County.

For Kids

Pretend City

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Pretend City in Irvine is the perfect place for your child to explore and play in a safe, air-conditioned space. Pretend City is an indoor child-size city with buildings and props that let kids explore their imaginations. Store clerk? Grocery shopper? Construction worker? Police officer? Doctor? Vet? No problem.

Pretend City is also a 501(c)(3) organization that offers free developmental screenings and community events. Play is facilitated by trained, highly professional staff.

  • Age Range: Pretend City is aimed at young children. All kids must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Membership Levels: Basic starts at $200 for a single adult and child, up to $270 per year for a family of four. A VIP Membership is available for $1000.
  • Member Perks: Unlimited admission all year with no black-out dates, daily Members-Only Hour, exclusive after-hours Members Only Events, 10% off discount on purchases, parties and rentals, your child’s therapist added at no additional cost, and tax-deductible.
  • Why it’s Great: Pretend City supports children with sensory processing issues. On request, headphones, weighted animal-shaped shoulder pads, weighted vests, sorting and patterning activities are available, and quiet spaces are accessible for children who’re overloaded.

La Habra Children’s Museum

La Habra Children’s Museum is an interactive enrichment center housed in a converted Spanish style 1923 train depot in beautiful La Habra, California. The museum is 10,000 square feet of interactive fun and culture. Kids can dress up in costumes and act on their own stage… explore an outdoor dinosaur garden, play on a hand-carved carousel, or wonder at the ever-changing model train village.

  • Age Range: Perfect for 2 years old through 10. All kids must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Membership Levels: Basic starts at $80 for a single adult and child, up to $280 per year for an adult and up to 9 kids/other guests.
  • Member Perks: 10% off in the gift shop, 10-15% off on birthday parties (depending on membership levels).
  • Why it’s Great: Basic ticket price is $12, but La Habra residents can get in for $11.

Discovery Cube

The Discovery Science Center is another hands-on learning facility that focuses on four core initiatives: STEM proficiency, early childhood education, healthy living, and environmental stewardship. There’s an outdoor dinosaur dig in addition to two floors of interactive exhibits where you and your child can learn and play together.

The Cube is built to let kids of all ages explore whatever they’re interested in, so it’s got long-lasting value.

  • Age Range: Everyone
  • Membership Levels: Memberships run from $79 (1 adult or child plus 1 free guest pass per visit) to a basic family membership priced at $124 (2 Adults and 4 Children (3-17) living in the same household.) There’s also a family and friends membership packaged at $203 that allows a little more flexibility. You can add up to two additional children to the family memberships for $20 each.
  • Member Perks: Unlimited admission to the Discovery Cube and its two additional campuses. Discounted guest and movie attraction tickets, priority access to the summer camp, and discounts in the Science Store are just the tip of the iceberg.
  • Why it’s Great:  Discovery Cube has three different campuses, and your membership gets you into all of them. Not only that, but members enjoy discounts at the famous Balboa Fun Zone in Newport Beach.

Santa Ana Zoo Membership

This small but mighty zoo in Prentice Park has monkeys, a farm animal area, a playground, and an ever-popular Zoofari train ride around the grounds. It’s ideal for small children, although the 64-foot ferris wheel is great for anyone.

  • Age Range: Everyone
  • Membership Levels: Individual memberships start at $70, while family memberships start at $129 for two adults and up to four kids.
  • Member Perks: Unlimited admission for 1 year, 10% discount on rentals, merchandise, rides and parties. 
  • Why it’s Great: Membership at the Santa Ana Zoo also gives you free or discounted admission to over 100 zoos around the US, including Los Angeles, Orange County, and Big Bear Alpine Zoos.

For Everyone

Aesthetic Climbing Gym

If you’ve always wanted to try rock climbing, top-rated Aesthetic Climbing Gym in Lake Forest is the place for you. Their staff is super-friendly and cater to all skill levels. Try bouldering, lead climbing and top-rope in their 10,000 square foot facility. The bouldering area is specifically designed to emulate the kind of climbing you’d find here in Orange County.

  • Age Range:  Everyone, but not suitable for babies/toddlers.
  • Membership Levels:  Monthly and yearly memberships are available.
  • Member Perks: both levels of membership give you 2 guest passes/month, a free T-shirt and one free instructional course. Monthly passes are $125, but go down to $79 if you sign up for a recurring pass. Annual passes are $875 (military and students get discounted rates).
  • Why it’s Great: ACG also has weight and cardio rooms, as well as recreational foosball.

Bowers Museum Membership

The Bowers Museum is Orange County’s premier art museum, with a variety of unique permanent exhibits. They also host a series of traveling exhibitions that run the range from watercolors to graphic art, carved gem art and more. If you’re looking for an excellent exhibition of California history or Mexican ceramic art, the Bowers has permanent exhibitions that will delight you.

  • Age Range: The Bowers Museum is a great place for anyone who loves art, or wants to love art.
  • Membership Levels: $50 will get you an individual membership, and a family membership that covers a family of up to six is only $96.
  • Member Perks: Members get unlimited free general admission, in addition to discounts in the Gallery store and the Tangata restaurant. Add a parking pass for $20 to park stress-free all year.
  • Why it’s Great: Since it’s local, it’s easy to take advantage of the member discount rates on museum programs, workshops, and camps for the kids.

Knotts Berry Farm

The quintessential Southern California amusement park experience, Knotts Berry Farm is a fixture in Orange County, and for a good reason. It’s great family fun and with the addition of Knott’s Soak City, it’s also a great source of year-round entertainment.

  • Age Range: Everyone
  • Membership Levels: There’s no family membership, but the memberships are affordably priced to start at $135 for regular, $175 for gold, and $265 for the platinum pass.
  • Member Perks: Besides unlimited access to the park, members get discounts on food and merchandise, the Knott’s Berry Farm hotel and the Knott’s Scary Farm experience.
  • Why it’s Great: Knott’s is wholesome family fun with an educational edge, and since annual passes can be paid for in installments, it’s affordable.

OC Parks Pass

Maybe the best value pass you’ll get all year, an OC Parks pass gives you access to all of the parks, wilderness areas, and beaches in Orange County. Get your hike on!

  • Age Range: All ages
  • Membership Levels: County beach or regional/wilderness parking is $55 ($35 for seniors), and an all-access pass to both is $80. A further discount is available to distinguished veterans. Passes are good for one year.  
  • Why it’s Great: Accessing Orange County’s gorgeous beach and wilderness offerings has never been easier.

Ocean Institute Membership  

The Ocean Institute in Dana Point teaches maritime history and living history alongside ocean-based science programs. Sail on a replica Revolutionary War schooner, test an underwater submersible, pet a starfish, or go on a whale watching tour.

  • Age Range: Everyone
  • Membership Levels: Memberships are flexible, starting at $25 and going all the way to $1000.
  • Member Perks: Along with the year-round admission, all membership levels enjoy a 10% discount at the book and gift store, discounts and early registration opportunities, free admission to the Dana Point Harbor Boat Parade viewing party, and a complimentary gift.
  • Why it’s Great: The beach behind the institute is accessible and has great tide pools to explore for a great beach day.

For Disney Fanatics

Disney has ended their traditional annual pass program described below and has introduced the Magic Key program. There are four reservation-based Magic Key options:

  • Inspire Key ($1,599)
    • Reservation-based admission to one or both theme parks most days of the year, subject to availability of park reservations allocated to Magic Key passes, and applicable pass blockout dates.
    • Hold up to 6 theme park reservations at a time
    • 20% off the purchase of Disney Genie+ service (subject to limited availability) on days when you use your pass for park admission.
    • Unlimited Disney PhotoPass digital photo downloads
    • Up to 20% off select merchandise
    • Up to 15% off select dining
    • Standard theme park parking included (excluding blockout dates, at the Mickey & Friends Parking Structure, Pixar Pals Parking Structure and Toy Story Parking Area)
  • Believe Key ($1,099): Reservation-based admission for most days of the year (see calendar for blackout dates.) Includes 50% off standard parking, and 10% off select merch and dining.
    • Reservation-based admission to one or both theme parks most days of the year, subject to availability of park reservations allocated to Magic Key passes, and applicable pass blockout dates.
    • Hold up to 6 theme park reservations at a time
    • 20% off the purchase of Disney Genie+ service (subject to limited availability) on days when you use your pass for park admission.
    • Unlimited Disney PhotoPass digital photo downloads
    • Up to 10% off select merchandise
    • Up to 10% off select dining
    • 50% off standard theme park parking (excluding blockout dates, at the Mickey & Friends Parking Structure, Pixar Pals Parking Structure and Toy Story Parking Area)
  • Enchant Key ($699): Reservation-based admission to both parks on select days of the year. Includes 10% off select merch and dining.
    • Reservation-based admission to one or both theme parks select days of the year, subject to availability of park reservations allocated to Magic Key passes, and applicable pass blockout dates.
    • Hold up to 4 theme park reservations at a time
    • 20% off the purchase of Disney Genie+ service (subject to limited availability) on days when you use your pass for park admission.
    • Up to 10% off select merchandise
    • Up to 10% off select dining
    • 25% off standard theme park parking (excluding blockout dates, at the Mickey & Friends Parking Structure, Pixar Pals Parking Structure and Toy Story Parking Area)
  • Imagine Key ($449)
    • Only available for Southern California Residents living in zip codes 90000 to 93599
    • Reservation-based admission to one or both theme parks select days of the year, subject to availability of park reservations allocated to Magic Key passes, and applicable pass blockout dates.
    • Hold up to 2 theme park reservations at a time
    • 20% off the purchase of Disney Genie+ service (subject to limited availability) on days when you use your pass for park admission.
    • Up to 10% off select merchandise
    • Up to 10% off select dining
    • 25% off standard theme park parking at the Toy Story Parking Area, excluding blockout dates

Check the Disney site for full details.

More Annual Passes

  • Aquarium of the Pacific: Enjoy the Aquarium in the best way possible with 12 months of unlimited free visits, exclusive member benefits, and valuable discounts.
  • California State Parks Pass: CA park passes offer something for everyone and make great gifts for frequent visitors to state parks.
  • Legoland: Get 12 months of admission, FREE Parking, access to special events & much more.
  • National Park Service (NPS) Annual Passes: There are several types of passes that cover entrance fees at national parks and national wildlife refuges as well as standard amenity fees (day use fees).
  • Orange County Public Library: Totally free and the benefits from a library card are so much more than books.
  • SeaWorld: There are three levels of annual passes to choose from.
  • Segerstrom Center: A season ticket package saves money over individual ticket purchases plus many shows offer special subscription rates that are discounted from regular single- ticket prices.
  • Six Flags Magic Mountain: There are three levels to choose from including Hurricane Harbor access.
  • Snow Summit/Big Bear Mountain Resort: Get the two mountains, one pass or Big Bear Mountain Resort offers 3 pass types: Ski & Snowboard Season Passes (including Ikon Passes), Summit Bike Park Season Passes, and Bear Mountain Golf Course Season Passes.
  • Universal Studios: With an Annual or Season Pass you’ll enjoy special discounts and perks while you soar across The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
  • Wild Rivers Annual Pass: With the Wild Rivers season pass holders start to save by their third visit. Here are some ways to get Wild Rivers Discount Tickets.

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Kelly Smith is a freelance writer living in Southern California with one dog, two cats, two guinea pigs… and the rest of her family. She writes about Orange County, faith, family, special needs and tea, and world-builds science fiction universes on the side. Find her at www.bluerosecopywriting.com.