Patrons of the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center in San Clemente can learn about the origins and history of surfing in both artifact and photograph form. Photo: Eric Heinz

By Victor Carno

While it is a blessing to have surf and sun here in South Orange County year-round, there are days where the temperature drops below 72 degrees and the cardigan makes its annual debut. On such a day, a museum is a fun and educational way to spend a cold, rainy day. Not all museums are endless hallways of avant-garde art pieces you have to pretend to understand; there are plenty of museums right here in Orange County where you can learn about aerospace engineering or our rich history in surfing and Native American artifacts.

Here are a few must-see museums in the tri-city area and in the greater Orange County area to explore this winter.

 Surfing Heritage and Culture Center

110 Calle Iglesia, San Clemente

Contact: 949.388.0313 www.surfingheritage.org.

The Surfing Heritage and Culture Center (SHACC) is a nonprofit organization with three simple goals—to preserve, present and promote the sport of surfing. Home to four original Duke Kahanamoku shaped and owned boards, SHACC prides itself on preserving even the earliest surf artifacts and photographs.

“We have everything from bins of surfing video games, to wet suits, to the complete Endless Summercollection, including its artwork, posters and film cameras,” said Barry Haun, curator for SHACC. “We even have boards that belonged to Kelly Slater and Andy Irons.”

If photography piques your interest, SHACC has over 100,000 different images displayed throughout the museum.

“My favorites would have to be photos from head photographer of SURFER Magazine, Ron Stoner, circa 1966. He really captured the 1960s era. Also, we have great photos from Tom Blake capturing surfing in the 1930s.”

SHACC is closed on Sundays, and admission is free, but a $5 donation is suggested.

Blas Aguilar Adobe Museum and Acjachemen Cultural Center

31806 El Camino Real, San Juan Capistrano

Contact: 949.751.7258. www.sanjuancapistrano.net

Visitors can see historical artifacts from one of the last plaza adobes to house soldiers and local Native Americans who worked at the Mission San Juan Capistrano in the 18th century at the Blas Aguilar Adobe Museum and Acjachemen Cultural Center. Photo: Victor Carno

Visitors can see historical artifacts from one of the last plaza adobes to house soldiers and local Native Americans who worked at the Mission San Juan Capistrano in the 18th century at the Blas Aguilar Adobe Museum and Acjachemen Cultural Center. Photo: Victor Carno

A work of art in and of itself, the Blas Aguilar Adobe Museum and Acjachemen Cultural Center is one of the last plaza adobes to house soldiers and local Native Americans who worked at the Mission San Juan Capistrano in the 18th century. Originally described as the “House of Hope,” the Blas Aguilar Adobe features a native plants garden along with historical artifacts that portray the interactions between European settlers and the village of Acjachema in the 1760s.

After years of closure and renovations, the museum was reopened in 2017. Visit Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free.

Visitors can see historical artifacts from one of the last plaza adobes to house soldiers and local Native Americans who worked at the Mission San Juan Capistrano in the 18th century at the Blas Aguilar Adobe Museum and Acjachemen Cultural Center. Photo: Victor Carno

Crevier Classic Cars

365 Clinton St, Costa Mesa

Contact: 714.426.0238, www.crevierclassiccars.com.

Unlike most museums, Crevier Classic Cars is not a curated compilation of exhibits, but rather a very active community of gearheads. The space acts as a storage facility for classic, ultra-rare and exotic cars. Almost every vehicle is privately-owned by a member of the museum or is on sale.

“We are really a club. We have a pool table, a bar and members store their cars here,” General Manger Jeff Vitz said.

Besides being an active community, Crevier offers car enthusiasts a trip down automotive history lane, offering the public a place to host events amongst the engineering marvels.

Visit any day of the week; admission is free.

Discovery Cube Orange County

2500 N. Main Street, Santa Ana

Contact: 714.542.2823. www.discoverycube.org.

The Discovery Cube Orange County has been making science fun and engaging for over 35 years with hands-on science exhibits for children of all ages. The museum has over seven interactive exhibits including the shake-shack and the hurricane tube always on display for guests, but new exhibits are continually rolled out. Right now, guests can enjoy a new exhibit featuring a virtual helicopter tour over the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks.

The Discovery Cube is open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and tickets are $17.95 for adults or $12.95 for children.

To read more of the 2017-2018 “Go.See.Do” special section, read here:

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