According to the city of Irvine's Orange County Great Park Corporation, the balloon ride that is the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station's current main attraction reached a milestone in August.
More than 100,000 people have enjoyed an aerial view of Orange County from 400 feet in the air from the Great Park Balloon since it took its first flight July 14, 2007. The orange tethered helium balloon is the iconic symbol and the first major permanent feature of the Orange County Great Park. The Great Park Balloon is located in the 27.5 acre Preview Park, which offers year-round programs and events for the whole family as well as a free ride high above Orange County.
"We're thrilled so many people are enjoying the Great Park Balloon," said Larry Agran, Chair, Orange County Great Park Board Corporation. "With continued development under way, the Park will be dramatically transformed when balloon ridership breaks 200,000."
The balloon, which the corp described as "a $1.9 million gift from the Lennar Corporation" that is developing the acreage ringing the park, carries up to 30 people at a time for a view of Orange County from 400 feet in the air.
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You, too, can experience it (weather permitting) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 7-10 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 7-10 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. To check whether flights are delayed or canceled due to weather, phone (866) 829-3829. For more details about the park, go here.