The original design for UC Irvine called for it to be built around a giant park, and Aldrich Park still serves as the center of the campus. With its curving paths and mature trees, the park provides students a beautiful place to hang out and study. Once a year, the campus Wayzgoose Festival takes over the park with its wild medieval theme.
Also on the campus, residents find the UC Irvine Ecological Preserve. Respect the habitat when you visit here, and stay on the path, keeping your eyes peeled for rabbits, coyotes, bobcats, raccoons and even mountain lions. From the top of the hill, you have a magnificent view all the way out to the Pacific Ocean.
The city of Irvine remains well-known for its excellent park system, with green spaces deliberately incorporated into the urban design of each neighborhood. Near UC Irvine, check out William R. Mason Regional Park, which consists of almost 340 acres of natural beauty and great facilities, including volleyball courts, baseball diamonds, playgrounds for the kids, workout stations and even a large lake. Bring your dog on a leash, but be prepared to pay a small fee for park entrance. During the summers, come to the free movies shown outdoors in the park's amphitheater.
Near the Turtle Rock
trailhead, you find Chaparral Park, which provides the neighborhood with soccer fields and climbing trails. Also near campus sits Las Lomas Community Park, which provides tennis courts, baseball diamonds, soccer fields and plenty of space to take your dog for a walk.