Originally called Gospel Swamps due to the marshy land that made up the area, Fountain Valley has a rich agricultural history like much of Orange County. In the 1890s, drainage canals were built to drain the land and make the soil usable. Field crops like wheat barley, beans, and sugar beets were grown by early settlers and cattle grazed unused land. In the 1930s, larger landowners began to sell, leaving behind truck crops like strawberries.
Fountain Valley, which was incorporated in 1957, has stayed true to its master plan and its motto “A Nice Place To Live”, to become a stable, family-friendly city for everyone. Here are some of the must see locations in Fountain Valley.
Mile Square Regional Park
16801 Euclid St, Fountain Valley, CA 92708
Mile Square Regional Park sits on 640 acres and offers numerous activities that go above and beyond your typical park activities. The park features three 18-hole golf courses, three soccer fields, three baseball fields, two lakes, archery, softball fields, picnic tables, a recreation center that features tennis and basketball courts, and racquetball courts. Mile Square Regional Park gets its name from the square plot of land it sits on which gives the park adequate space for the various activities it offers.
The land where the park currently sits is also rich in Orange County history. In 1942 the U.S. Navy purchased the 640 acres of agricultural land for the Mile Square Naval Landing Field to be used as part of three landing fields in the area. That land was used for carrier deck qualification for Navy airplanes. In 1967, the Navy leased the area to Orange County and allowed the park to be built and operated by OC Parks.
This park is now full of various activities making it fun for the entire family. For the golfer, be sure to check out the executive 18-hole golf course which also features a driving range and a coffee shop. Being that there are a number of golf courses, the one on the northwest side features a regulation 18-hole course, club house, another driving range, restaurant, and pro shop.
During various points of the year, OC Parks puts on special events in the park. At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic they offered several Drive-In movie events to get the community out safely including a viewing of Hocus Pocus, Elf, and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
For small bands and musicians, Fountain Valley puts on Concerts in the Park for the public to enjoy local live music. The event is put on annually every summer. At Easter the park opens up yet again for their Spring time Easter Egg Hunt put on by the city. Every February, OC Parks also puts on the Annual Monarch Butterfly Day which gives the community a chance to learn about Monarch Butterflies from the experts. Whatever you enjoy, Mile Square Regional Park has much to offer.
Heritage Park and Fountain Valley Historical Society
17641 Los Alamos St, Fountain Valley, CA 92708
Home to several historical buildings, Heritage Park sits on a former ranch and all of the historical structures were moved here to save them from demolition during the city’s expansion. The park was officially opened in 1983 and is managed by the Fountain Valley Historical Society which was founded in 1967 and looks to preserve the city’s history through projects such as the park.
The park is relatively small; Heritage Park sits on 2.3 acres and features picnic tables, a library, reflecting pond, a Veteran’s Memorial Monument, a real estate office that is located in one of the historical buildings, a gazebo, a replica fire house and a bocce ball court, all of which is tucked away from the bustle of Fountain Valley.
During Christmas time, the Fountain Valley Historical Society puts on a Holiday Celebration at the Gazebo to celebrate the season, bring the community back to a simpler time, and enjoy the history that the park and Historical Society holds dear. Typically the event features holiday themed music, up to 25 vendors selling their holiday merchandise from small town styled booths, an appearance from Santa Claus, and a number of children’s activities. Whatever you enjoy, even a simple stroll in the park, the historic Heritage Park is just the place to be.
The Reptile Zoo
18818 Brookhurst Street Fountain Valley, CA 92708
The Reptile Zoo at Prehistoric Pets is totally cold-blooded! Does your little one (or even you because it’s that cool) enjoy reptiles, amphibians, and arachnids? If you answered yes to any of these, then The Reptile Zoo in Fountain Valley is the place to be.
This zoo-slash-pet store is home to over 100 creatures who were either donated, born at The Reptile Zoo, or rescued. They are well cared for and many are used to teach children and adults of all ages about these incredible animals.
The Reptile Zoo has been a part of the community for a number of years and has evolved since they first opened their doors in 1988 under the name, Pet Country. In 1995 they expanded to include “Jurassic Parties” which was their first initiative to teach. Since their rebranding in 2009, The Reptile Zoo expanded and grew to accommodate their volume in a 13,000 square foot building. The company now regularly educates through interactive learning parties, feedings, and membership programs that grant yearly access to this great experience.
The company’s Junior Zookeeper program and private experiences allow for additional interaction. For ages 5 to 12, the zoo offers the Junior Zookeeper program where kids can live out their dream in an educational experience that includes learning about ecosystems, camouflage, and food chains. The zookeepers receive a camp shirt and a six-month membership. Be sure to check out The Reptile Zoo, an educational experience that is sure to excite.
Art Center Fountain Valley
18440 Brookhurst Street Fountain Valley CA 92708
When the Fountain Valley Art Center first opened they had one mission; get art to students through classes and supplies. Twenty years later, successful artist twin sisters Heather and April Joy have done exactly that. Classes start at $135 a month and each student is taught at their own pace to better learn each technique. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Art Center offered completely remote classes to continue to teach their students and offer a creative outlet to them. Whatever your skill level is, if you want to learn how to draw or paint from the best at an affordable rate, the Art Center in Fountain Valley is worth checking out!
The Vox Kitchen
16161 Brookhurst St Fountain Valley, CA 92708
Asian cuisine is no stranger to Fountain Valley and The Vox Kitchen exemplifies the flavors through their ability to serve up Asian fusion. Taking flavors from Chinese, Japanese, and Taiwanese cuisine, this local restaurant serves up Asian comfort food that Yelp users just can’t stop talking about. According to The Sacramento Bee, The Vox Kitchen ranked number 28 of best places to eat in the country and only one of five California restaurants. This restaurant serves up the California story of blended cultures through top of the line ingredients yet traditional dishes like wontons and noodles. Trust Yelp and be sure to try out The Vox Kitchen next time you are in Fountain Valley.
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Rebecca has an undeniable love of writing and recently graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a degree in journalism. She enjoys watching hockey, scuba diving, swimming, and working out.