Outdoor Recreation in Antelope Valley
t’s easy to stay fit and active in the Antelope Valley, and it’s just as easy to kick back and relax. The area is replete with hundreds of acres of developed local and county-operated park sites furnished with everything from athletic fields and playground equipment to trails and open spaces. Scenic golf courses and country clubs are also part of the recreation landscape of Antelope Valley, offering challenging play for golfers of all skill sets.
The region hosts various state parks, as well. The Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, which comes to life with beautiful wildflowers in the springtime, features eight miles of trails, picnic tables and plenty of opportunities for wildlife viewing. Just to its west sits the Arthur B. Ripley Desert Woodland State Park, home to a picnic area and self-guided nature trail complete with information on the desert wildflowers and animals residing in the woodlands. The region is also the site of the Saddleback Butte State Park, ideal for camping, hiking, horseback riding, picnicking/BBQing and wildlife and bird watching.
The Antelope Valley Family YMCA is a fantastic recreation resource in the area. Located in Lancaster, the state-of-the-art facility features two 25-yard indoor pools, the best in cardiovascular and weight machines, a teen fitness center, an exercise studio and the Child Activity Center. Its listing of programs – including aquatics, group fitness programs, personal fitness services, sports leagues, child care, summer camps and more – are great for members of all ages.
Other recreation facilities in the area include the Sweetwater Ranch Equestrian Center and the Brunswick Sands Bowl in Lancaster, the Mulligan Family Fun Center and DryTown Water Park & Mining Co. in Palmdale, and many others.
Things to Do in Lancaster CA
From theatrical performances and history museums to exciting community events and gaming, there’s never a shortage of arts and entertainment to be enjoyed in the Antelope Valley.
Performing Arts – The Antelope Valley offers various outstanding performing arts venues and groups. The Lancaster Performing Arts Center (LPAC) hosts many big-name entertainers in a variety of events, ranging from theatre and music performances to dance and unique workshops, and is the home-base of the Antelope Valley Ballet. The Cedar Street Theatre is a non-profit community theatre group that showcases the finest in local talent and provides quality entertainment. It’s Only Tuesday Productions is another theatrical group that performs in the Arbor Community Theatre, sharing a varied theatre experience with the community.
Many other fantastic groups present performances to audiences throughout the Antelope Valley. Among these are the Harmony Showcase Chorus, the Antelope Valley Symphony Orchestra & Master Chorale and the Antelope Valley Thespians. Area colleges and universities also showcase an array of year-round events.
Art & History – Beautiful art and the area’s unique history are explored at one of many regional museums. Learn about the region’s rich aerospace heritage at the Joe Davies Heritage Airpark, which features a collection of historic aircraft from the U.S. Air Force Plant 42, and the Aerospace Exploration Gallery in Palmdale, a great site with displays on NASA’s past, present and future presence in the Antelope Valley. The Antelope Valley Indian Museum State Historic Park is another great museum offering exhibits and programs that interpret the cultures of American Indian groups in the Southwest, Great Basin and California regions.
Not to be missed is the Lancaster Museum of Art & History (MOAH), which recently moved into a new facility on Lancaster BLVD. The expanded space includes displays featuring fossils, ancient Egyptian mummies, space travel, artworks from famous artists and more. The Lancaster MOAH hosts several events and exhibitions throughout the year and also operates the Western Hotel Museum, which houses historic artifacts from the area and exhibits on Antelope Valley mining, the California missions, the Antelope Valley Native Americans and more.
Additional art and history sites in the region include the Antelope Valley African American Museum, the Antelope Valley College Art Gallery, the Air Force Flight Test Center Museum on Edwards AFB, the Twenty Mule Team Museum and the Aerospace Walk of Honor and sidewalk monument along the BLVD.
Entertainment – There is much to see and do in the Antelope Valley when it comes to entertainment. Check out the fast-paced racing world at the 600-acre Willow Springs International Motorsports Park complex, or take a chance at Lady Luck at Diamond Jim’s Casino in Rosamond. Fans of the Great American Pastime fill the seats at Clear Channel Stadium to cheer on the Lancaster JetHawks Minor League Baseball team, a Class A affiliate of the Houston Astros. There are also two wineries and numerous communitywide events held throughout the Antelope Valley. Among the popular gatherings are the Antelope Valley Fair & Alfalfa Festival, the Lancaster Chamber Flea Market & Lancaster Chili Showdown, the California Poppy Festival at Lancaster City Park, the Palmdale Fall Festival, the Quartz Hill Almond Blossom Festival, the Quartz Hill Street Fair/Car Show and the Quartz Hill Salsa Festival.