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The Balboa Fun Zone

About The Balboa Fun Zone

Way back in the day when Balboa and even Newport Beach was not some weird extension of Los Angeles, there was the chill, safe and innocent fun of the Balboa Fun Zone. Back then, high school students would hang out, play some videos on summer nights and just enjoy the summer nights of their school vacations. Good times. Lot’s of ski-ball and ticket winning and prize collection, this was all before Dave and Busters! In the current day, The Fun Zone has made the needed and appropriate upgrades to support larger crowds and in doing so has lost that old school charm of yesteryear. All this is good for the local economy and for that we are grateful. It keeps the place alive and lively and that’s important to ensure its survival so guys like me can still stop by and remember how it was instead of visitng a new condo developement where it used to be!

Balboa Fun Zone History!

In 1906, Fred Lewis owned a tract of land on the waterfront in old Balboa. For three decades, he operated a boat yard, storing and repainting boats for many of the locals. In 1936, he closed the business and leased the land to Al Anderson, who immediately began construction on the original Balboa Fun Zone.

Anderson, along with other local families, brought in an arcade zone, rides, the merry-go-round, and the first Ferris wheel – a 45-foot version built in 1918. For decades, the Fun Zone was the place to go for families and kids. Anderson owned the Fun Zone until 1972.

Jordan Wank, in 1985, purchased the land and buildings with the intent to refurbish the landmark. He demolished and rebuilt, from the ground up, the Balboa Fun Zone once again beckoning kids of all ages to its bayside rides and arcades.

In 1994, the Balboa Fun Zone was purchased by former employee Joe Tunstall, who restored a Carousel, brought in a #5 Eli Ferris Wheel, bumper cars, and the Scary Dark Ride. There were also a few souvenir shops, restaurants and tour boat companies offering boat rides and narrated harbor cruises.

In December, 2005, the Balboa Fun Zone was purchased by NHNM Poperty Holdings, LLC, who brought in an ocean science museum and began teaching ocean science curriculum to over 45,000 students per year on-site.

Now, the Balboa Fun Zone is operated by Balboa Fun Zone, Inc. a subsidiary of the Discovery Science Foundation. With new attractions, updated food vendors and a new look, the Balboa Fun Zone is back on track and better than ever! Visit us this summer for an unforgettable experience.