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3-HOUR TOUR

Taking the Trial Out of Killing Time at Court

March 24, 1994|ANNE MICHAUD | Anne Michaud is a staff writer for The Times Orange County Edition.

I'm not saying, exactly, that the court system is plodding. It's just that people often find themselves waiting--whether it's to research cases, receive copies of documents, file a complaint or complete some other task.

If you happen to find yourself with time to kill at Municipal Court in Laguna Niguel, there are several amusements in the area that might interest you.

Noon to 1: I love to read, and the courthouse has two nearby locations dedicated to that pursuit.

Next door, just a short walk south on Crown Valley Parkway, is a branch of the Orange County Public Library. If you plan a visit here, however, you'll want to check the hours closely. They have been shortened because of budget cuts.

The second quiet locale is the Christian Science Reading Room, where one can bring a book and relax, undisturbed. This particular reading room, which is tucked along a byway in the Crown Valley Mall, has a kids' table, too, filled with felt-tip pens and coloring books.

1 to 2: Eating is another worthwhile pursuit, and there are some interesting venues for that, as well.

The Snooty Fox, a couple of doors down from the Reading Room, serves hearty diner fare. The hamburgers are juicy, served with fries for $3.80.

Another eatery is inside the Apple-a-Day Health Foods store, also at the Crown Valley Mall. It's not apparent from the outside that this cozy shop contains a counter where sandwiches, salads and health shakes are served.

Prices are $1.25 for herbal tea and $4.25 for a large Laguna Tuna sandwich.

After lunch, you might want to take a quick shop around Apple-a-Day. Herb remedies, vitamins, natural cosmetics and books on health are sold here.

The health-conscious will also appreciate the Farm to Market grocery store across the street from the Crown Valley Mall. Farm to Market sells organically grown produce and bulk items: coffee, cereals, roasted soybeans and whole-wheat apple bars.

2 to 3: If you don't mind a short walk or drive, there is a beautiful park just half a mile north of the courthouse, along Crown Valley Parkway.

The Crown Valley Community Park is good to its name. It contains a community soccer field, a baseball diamond and an outdoor swimming pool that anyone can use for $1.50 a day.

The park has also considered kids. To the right of home base is a T-ball stand for batting practice. To the left of the pool is a sandy playground, with a mock ship and train and motorcycle for youngsters to climb on.

Finally, the park offers a nature walk. The concrete pathways ascend hills, so the walks are not for the faint of heart.

Skirting the paths are flowers in purple, yellow, pink and white. As you ascend, you gain a view of the house-dotted foothills surrounding Crown Valley.

Birds and crickets sing you along your way.

1. Orange County Public Library

30341 Crown Valley, Parkway, (714) 249-5252

Open Monday and Wednesday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m;Saturday, 10 a.m.-5.p.m.

Closed Tuesday, Friday and Sunday.

2. Crown Valley Mall

3022 to 30262 Crown Valley Parkway.

Christian Science Reading Room, (714) 495-4628; the Snooty Fox, (714) 495-2298;

Apple-a-Day Health Foods, (714) 495-3250.

3. Farm to Market grocery store

30190 Town Center Drive, (714) 363-0123. Open Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Sundays, 8 a.m.-7 p.m.

4. Crown Valley Community Park

29751 Crown Valley Parkway, (714) 362-4350

PARKING: There is on-site parking at the library, malls and the park.

BUSES: OCTA bus 85 (Santa Ana to San Clemente) travels Crown Valley Parkway on Monday through Saturday

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