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Waterway and Maritime Transportation
Balboa Fun Zone yielding to educational space
Balboa Fun Zone yielding to educational space

For generations, the scruffy but lovable Balboa Fun Zone was a whirl of lights and bumper cars and waterfront amusement rides. But then ExplorOcean bought a chunk of the property facing Newport Harbor and exchanged the kitschy Scary Dark Ride and bumper cars for a learning center focused on science education. But as the new owners continue to remold the area into a place for learning, longtime merchants and wistful residents wonder whether the fun has gone out of the Fun Zone. The nonprofit ExplorOcean — formerly known as the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum — has been a key player in the transformation of the Balboa Fun Zone from a 1950s-style seaside amusement park to an...

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