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Ric Romero's one-tank getaway: Santa Ana

September 1, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Santa Ana is the center of Orange County, but for you it's the center of your next one-tank getaway.

Our first stop is the prestigious Bowers Museum on Main Street open Tuesday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. One exhibit you won't want to miss is Spirits and Headhunters, art of the Pacific Islands.

"We have a few heads on this exhibit. We have shields, we have men's ceremonial houses, we have fire-dancing masks," described museum worker Paul Johnson.

Admission is free on the first Sunday of every month. For all other days, mention ABC7 to get 20 percent off the admission until Sept. 30.

Another part of the Bowers Museum just down the street is called Kidseum. Outside, kids can go on an archaeological dig in this hands-on museum.

Inside the Kidseum, children can put on costumes representing different parts of the world, wear masks and do all sorts of other hands-on activities.

Kidseum charges $6 for kids 2 years old and older, but you can get free admission with a current Bowers Museum ticket stub.

Working up an appetite? Our next stop offers gourmet food at fast food prices. That's because 50 Forks at the Culinary School at the Art Institute of California Orange County is a student-run restaurant.

"Students have influence on the menu. They work closely with the chef instructor so our menus change every three months," said Daniel Mattos, the academic director at the Culinary School.

Everything from appetizers to the main course to dessert is prepared in style with ingredients picked fresh right outside the kitchen.

50 Forks likes to serve good-sized portions and their prices are great, too. For example, a particular appetizer is $5 and a steak entr?e is $9. It's all prepared by students.

The Art Institute and 50 Forks restaurant is on the 3600 block of West Sunflower Avenue and is open Wednesday through Friday for lunch and dinner.

If you mention ABC7, you can get 10 percent off your lunch bill.

Next on our list is the Santa Ana Zoo , which houses many unusual animals while still keeping a cozy, small-scale size.

"The Santa Ana Zoo is an intimate place. We're small, there's not the big crowds, and you can get close to the animals. You can see the animals right in your face," described zoo director Kent Yamaguchi.

Right now is a good time to visit the zoo because there are lots of new babies.

But the zoo is famous for its monkeys because their grant deed requires 50 monkeys at the zoo at all times. The Santa Ana Zoo is located at 1801 E. Chestnut Ave. and is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on summer weekends.

Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for children and seniors. Admission is half price Monday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free on the third Sunday of the month for Santa Ana residents.

At the Heritage Museum on West Harvard Street, school-aged children can wash clothes the old-fashioned way. They can also try on vintage clothes and play Victorian phonographs.

The centerpiece of the museum is a historic plaza featuring several buildings from the 1890s set amid floral gardens and citrus groves. Among these buildings is the Kellogg House, which is familiar to teachers and students throughout Orange County as a favorite field trip destination for nearly 25 years.

The Heritage Museum is spread out over 12 acres and is open Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for children. If you mention ABC7 and buy one ticket, you can get one free through the month of September.

The Lyon Air Museum is just west of the runways at John Wayne Airport. A fully restored B-17 is part of the display, and during World War II, docent Ed Stapleton, was a bomber pilot aboard a B-17 over Germany.

"On my ninth mission, I got shot down and spent a year as a prisoner of war in Germany," described Stapleton.

Another beautifully restored aircraft is this B-25. Pearl Harbor survivor Jack Hammett says B-25s had a lot to do with bombing Tokyo after the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor.

"Not much military significance but great for morale," said Hammett.

The Lyon Air Museum, which was founded by Maj. Gen. William Lyon, is co-located with Martin Aviation, an Air/Lyon company and aviation repair facility established by the famed Eddie Martin back in 1923.

The Lyon Air Museum, located at 19300 Ike Jones Road, is open daily 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults, and children under 5 years old get in free. For seniors and veterans, the admission is $9. There is a $1 discount for groups, and school groups can get in for free.

For more on Ric's Santa Ana one-tank getaway, check out our slideshow!


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