Some folks head to the beach for fun. Others head to Beach Boulevard. And when Beach Boulevard hits the city of Stanton, why, that's Adventure City! And Hobby City is right next door.
Adventure City is a little theme park, designed especially for little ones ages 2 to 12, and with little admission prices compared with the big theme parks. The place is crawling with kids, yet there are virtually no lines. The park celebrates its third anniversary this month.
Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends is a creative play area filled with wooden tracks, trains and accessories where kids help each other build new layouts. Kids like to be their own engineers, and kid power alone powers the train at the Crank & Roll Depot. The whole family can take a round-trip tour of Adventure City aboard a 1938 miniature train.
Adventure City is, in fact, designed like a miniature city. On the 911 Ride, kids "tour" police and fire stations then "drive" an emergency vehicle through the streets. They can "fly" a Barnstormer plane out of the Adventure City Airport, take a dizzying ride on the Crazy Bus and experience bumper-to-bumper traffic aboard the Kids' Coaster.
Among other attractions, an outdoor theater features ongoing educational puppet shows and sing-alongs, and a petting farm includes llamas, sheep, goats, rabbits and chickens.
Admission is $2.95 plus individual ride tickets or $9.95 for admission and unlimited rides.
FIRST MEAL 2
Adventure City's Fill-Up Station fuels kids with pizza and sandwiches. Parents can enjoy a cup of Starbucks coffee (or a fruit smoothie, and that's about it) at a "coffee shop." For a more complete meal, try the Restaurant Next Door to the White House, which is next door to Adventure City; get your hand stamped if you want to reenter.
In addition to breakfast items for mere mortals, the restaurant offers a President's Special that could land the country in big trouble: crispy hash browns covered with corned-beef hash smothered with chili beans and melted cheese topped with two eggs, Spanish sauce and sour cream and served with side of toast or tortillas ($4.95). Among dozens of lunch items, the perfect antidote may be the White House Plate ($4.95): soup, salad and fresh fruit.
The restaurant is steps from Hobby City's White House Doll and Toy Museum, housed in a one-half-scale replica of the White House in Washington. Admission is 50 cents to $1. Still, walking next door to the museum means crossing over the Stanton-Anaheim city line, which runs smack through Hobby City's 10 acres.
Hobby City founder Bea DeArmond, now in her 80s, is the museum's curator; DeArmond's son-in-law, Allan Ansdell Jr., founded Adventure City.
Hobby City's two dozen special-interest shops ensure that adventures can continue at home. They include the American Indian Store, Cabbage Patch Shop, Gems and Opals, the Miniature Shop, Prestige Hobbies, Stamps & Coins, Stitchery by Lorna, Little Depot, the Bear Tree and All About Dolls. For those in search of musical adventure, Ansdell Piano sells pianos on consignment.
SECOND MEAL 4
For Chinese food, and plenty of it, there's China Gate, "the best place to celebrate anything," according to the menu. Lunch specials, served from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., include soup, fried shrimp, egg roll, pork fried rice, choice of one of a dozen entrees for $4 (or one of half a dozen slightly more elaborate entrees for $5), and fortune and almond cookies, of course. Dinner brings elaborate family dinners (for two or more, $8.25 to $12.95 per person), and a child's plate ($4.50, under 10) that includes soup, barbecue rib, egg roll, fried shrimp, French fries (!) and a Shirley Temple. A Japanese pastime, karaoke, is the hot ticket on weekends (8 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, 6 to 10 p.m. Sunday).
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1) Adventure City
10120 Beach Blvd., Stanton, (714) 236-9300.
Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday.
2) The Restaurant Next Door to the White House
1238 S. Beach Blvd., Anaheim, (714) 827-0584.
Open daily 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
3) Hobby City
1238 S. Beach Blvd., Anaheim, (714) 527-2323.
Open daily 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (Some shop hours may vary.)
4) China Gate
10200 Beach Blvd., Stanton, (714) 821-4421.
Open 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Saturday, and noon-10:30 p.m. Sunday.
Buses: OCTA Bus No. 29 runs north and south along Beach Boulevard.
Parking: There is ample free parking in lots at each location.