A group of students from Corona del Mar High spent Saturday waving signs and collecting signatures for a petition to save the Balboa Fun Zone.
"It's like our childhood is being taken away," said protester Brittany Delany.
The has been a staple in Newport Beach for decades, but soon will be a memory. The Newport Harbor Nautical Museum purchased the property in 2005, and now plans to transform it into , an educational museum focused on teaching kids the importance of the ocean.
Newport Harbor Nautical Museum President Rita Stenlund said the goal isn't to take the fun away, but to make the area a cleaner and safer environment for everyone to enjoy.
"They are not losing anything, it's just going to be better," Stenlund said.
Stenlund welcomed the protesters, saying "it gave us the opportunity to communicate better what we are embarking on."
But demonstrators weren't buying it. After student organizer Courtney Brown was given a tour of the ExplorOcean project, she said she appreciated the hospitality, but believes the project should be built elsewhere.
"What we love about [the Fun Zone] is it's old and a piece of history," Brown said. "By the youth getting involved, it shows that all generations care about it. It should be restored first as a way to coexist."
Some adults also aren't happy about the museum plans.
Tony George, a Balboa merchant with two stores, said deep-sixing the Fun Zone is bad for business. "It's killing this town slowly," he said of the museum.