Mission San Juan Capistrano, the Birthplace of Orange County, was founded more than two hundred years ago. Today it is a monument to California's multi-cultural history, embracing its Native American, Spanish, Mexican and European heritage. Originally built as a self sufficient community by Spanish Padres and Indians, the Mission was a center for agriculture, industry, education and religion. Visitors will discover many areas of interest within the Mission walls. You can hear the tolling of century old bells and walk down its time worn paths. The serenity and peace amid the 10 acres of lush gardens and cool fountains, cloistered by old adobe walls, offers visitors seclusion from the sights and sounds of a busy world. Visit the Serra Chapel, Padres Quarters, Industrial Area, Soldiers Barracks, Cemetery and The Great Stone Church. The historic mission is the site to which the famous Swallows of Capistrano return every spring. Every year around the 19th of March, the world pauses momentarily and focuses on that compelling phenomenon of nature, the return of the Swallows to Capistrano. Romanticized in Leon Rene's famous song "When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano," the return of the little birds to Capistrano every Spring has captured the imaginations of millions and provides a major media event every year. The Old Spanish Mission has become world famous as the haven of the swallows, those romantic symbols for nature's migration with the seasons. Visit the website for hours and admission pricing.