100+ Free, Nearly Free Summer Movies in Ventura County!

Local Beaches in Ventura County and Adjacent Areas

Wedding Reception Venues in Ventura County and Nearby Areas

Kids Eat Free in VC!

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Stay Cool in the Pool! Community Pools In/Around Ventura County

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Aerial Views of Dos Vientos Ranch in Newbury Park in 1956

Aerial View of Dos Vientos Ranch in 1956 (Photo Credit: Howard D. Kelly, Kelly-Holiday Collection of Negatives and Photographs/Los Angeles Public Library)

According to several Oxnard Press-Courier articles in September/October 1958, evangelist O.L. Jaggers purchased the 5,415 acre Dos Vientos Ranch from M.S. Clark Enterprises on June 21, 1957 for $2.9 million, with the goal of creating the "World Church City."

According to a 1994 L.A. Times article, Jaggers and his wife Velma talked about making Dos Vientos (now part of Newbury Park/Thousand Oaks) a 26,000 resident city, "situated under a perpetually hovering 'glory cloud' that would emit a pillar of smoke by day and fire by night. Airliners would be diverted so passengers could witness the phenomenon."

After years of lawsuits brought against Jagger and his World Church by investors in the project, the land was acquired in 1965 by Louis Lesser Enterprises of Beverly Hills.

Another Aerial View of Dos Vientos Ranch in 1956 (Photo Credit: Howard D. Kelly, Kelly-Holiday Collection of Negatives and Photographs/Los Angeles Public Library)

The Thousand Oaks City Council approved development of Dos Vientos Ranch as a 2,350 home residential project in 1988 and construction began after years of planning and lawsuits in 1997. At the time, the land was owned by Courtly Homes Inc. and Operating Engineers Pension Trust Inc.

A 1997 Los Angeles Times article noted that Dos Vientos was the largest residential project ever in Newbury Park and the third-largest in the city's history. Dos Vientos is surrounded by two connecting roads that form a loop: Rancho Dos Vientos and Via Las Brisas. Lynn Road fronts the development on the south and Borchard Road serves as its main artery.

A more recent view of Dos Vientos from one of the many trails surrounding the area.

There are some nice hiking trails in Dos Vientos, including Sierra Vista Trail, Park View Trail, Vista Del Mar Trail, El Rincon, El Cerro and Las Brisas Trails, El Encanto Trail and Conejo Mountain Edison Road Trail.

Also located in Dos Vientos is The Village at Dos Vientos retail/business center, Miller Family YMCA, Dos Vientos Community Park and the newer Del Prado Playfield.


4th of July Fireworks, Parades and Other Events Around Ventura County

America's 239th birthday is July 4, 2015! Here is our annual list of local fireworks, parades and other festivities throughout Ventura County and surrounding areas planned for Independence Day 2015!

There are fireworks planned in Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, Moorpark (July 3rd), Simi Valley, Calabasas, Channel Islands Harbor, Ojai, Santa Paula, Fillmore, Agoura Hills (July 5th), Woodland Hills, Camarillo, Ventura and Santa Barbara.

4th of July celebration parades to take place in Westlake Village, Channel Islands Harbor, Ventura, Ojai, Santa Barbara and Newbury Park.

Other family festivities and fun includes concerts, carnivals, swimming, games, tournaments, kids' fun zones, 5K/10K runs, etc.!

(Contact us with updates)

Thousand Oaks/Newbury Park

The annual Conejo Recreation and Park District and City of Thousand Oaks 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular is launched from the hill behind the Hillcrest Center of the Arts in Thousand Oaks. Best viewing will be at the Janss Marketplace and The Oaks parking lots. Fireworks start at 9 p.m.

Other CRPD 4th of July events around town include a pancake breakfast and Home Run Derby in Newbury Park, Concert in the Park featuring the Conejo Pops Orchestra and free swimming at local high schools!

Janss Marketplace in Thousand Oaks once again will be hosting a free viewing of the fireworks along with live music and family activities starting at 5pm on the 4th. A DJ will be on hand in the Fountain Courtyard.

Stop by the 5th Annual Miller Family YMCA 5K/10K, Classic Car Show and Parade the morning of July 4th in the Dos Vientos section of Newbury Park!! Kids fun zone, entertainment, car show, pancake breakfast and more.

Ice Cream Social and Patriotic Celebration at Stagecoach Inn Museum in Newbury Park from 1-4pm on July 4th. Free barbershop music, ice cream and more!

Free 4th of July Party at First Baptist Church in Thousand Oaks, 1250 Erbes Road, from 12-3pm. Games, bouncy houses, face painting and much more in store. Fun for all ages.

Westlake Village

The 46th Annual Westlake Village 4th of July Parade starts at 9:45am followed by music, inflatables, games, popsicles, etc. at Berniece Bennett Park until noon. Boy Scout pancake breakfast before the parade!

The City of Westlake Village presents its 2nd Annual Fireworks Spectacular Show from the Westlake Village Golf Course, with additional viewing locations at Calvary Community Church, Westlake Village Inn and Berniece Bennett Park. Activities begin at 6pm at the Westlake Village Golf Course Driving Range and Parking Lot, including family-friendly games and contests and food trucks. The 18 minute show will start at 9:10PM.

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Free Concerts and Live Music All Summer Long Around Ventura County

Summer 2015 is upon us and we're in for another outstanding summer of free live music throughout Ventura County and surrounding areas! Rock, jazz, pops, R&B, reggae, Celtic, classical, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, Classic Rock, Latin, tribute bands, etc. The compilation below has links to more detailed information.

Concerts subject to change. List will be updated regularly as new events are added.

Thousand Oaks/Westlake Village/Newbury Park

Agoura/Oak Park/Calabasas/Woodland Hills

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Free and Nearly Free Movies All Summer Long Around Ventura County 

Stay cool this summer of 2015 with several hundred free and nearly free ($1 to $4) movies in and around Ventura County and surrounding areas! These movies are at local movie theaters, parks, libraries and other locations!

Agoura Hills: Regency Theatres (Agoura Hills Stadium 8) Kid's Summer Movie Series is a 9-week series on Tues/Thurs mornings at 10:30am that runs from June 16 to August 13. $1 admission. Snack trays are $3.

Calabasas: City of Calabasas Free Summer Movies, Friday nights (6/19, 7/17, 7/31)

Camarillo: Regency Theatres (Paseo Camarillo Cinemas) Kid's Summer Movie Series is a 9-week series on Tues/Thurs mornings at 10:30am that runs from June 16 to August 13. $1 admission. Snack trays are $3.

Camarillo: Free Movies in the Park at Community Center Park on Wednesday nights 6/17 to 8/19

Camarillo: Free Movies in the Park on Wednesday Nights at Mission Oaks Park (6/26 and 7/24) and Pitts Ranch Park (7/10 and 8/7)

Camarillo: Camarillo Arts Council Free Movies at Constitution Park on 6/27 and 8/29

Camarillo: $1 Movies at Edwards Camarillo Palace Stadium on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at 10AM from 6/16 to 8/12

Malibu: CineMalibu Saturday Night Movies at Malibu Bluffs Park on 6/27 (Jurassic Park), 7/25 (Harry and the Hendersons) and 8/29 (Toy Story)

Newbury Park: Free Movie in the Park at Dos Vientos Community Park - opens at 7am with games and fun

Oxnard: Century RiverPark Summer Movie Clubhouse $1 Family Movies o

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Stay Cool in the Pool! Community Swimming Throughout Ventura County

Stay cool this summer and year-round at some of these community swimming pools, water parks and splash pads in Ventura County and surrounding areas. For updates and additions, contact us!

Conejo Valley (Conejo Recreation & Park District)

Community Pool at Cal Lutheran University Samuelson Aquatics Center is a year-round facility, offering recreational and lap swimming 7 days a week. Call 805.241.0894 or visit www.crpd.org. Only $2 ($1 for 62+). Current schedule at www.crpd.org/parkfac/aquatics/hoursnfees.asp. Water is heated to 80 to 84 degrees year round.

Newbury Park High School Community Swimming Pool is at 456 Reino Road and offers recreational swimming 6 days/week from mid-June to Mid-August. Only $2 ($1 for 62+). Call 805.498.6906 or visit www.crpd.org/parkfac/aquatics/hoursnfees.asp.

Thousand Oaks High School Community Swimming Pool is at 2323 N. Moorpark Road and offers recreational swimming Mon to Fri from mid-June to mid-August. Only $2 ($1 for 62+). Call 805.496.8564 or visit www.crpd.org/parkfac/aquatics/hoursnfees.asp.

Free open swim at all of the above CRPD pools took place from noon to 4pm on the 4th of July!

Conejo Valley/Agoura - Other

Daland Swim School in Thousand Oaks offers group and individual lessons.

Conejo Valley YMCA in Thousand Oaks heated indoor swimming pool open 7 days/week.

Triunfo YMCA in Westlake Village heated indoor swimming pool open M-F.

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Where to Play Pickleball in Ventura County and...What IS Pickleball?

Pickleball court at Del Prado Playground in Newbury Park

According to www.whatispickleball.com, pickleball is oversized ping pong played on a badminton sized court with a tennis sized net. Pickleball originated in Bainsbridge Island, Washington in 1965 when congressman Joel Pritchard and his friend Bill Bell created the game for their families to play.

Pickleball is played with a perforated plastic ball similar to a wiffle ball that weighs about an ounce and composite or wooden paddles about twice the size of ping pong paddles. Pickleball is an indoor/outdoor sport that is easy to learn and, like tennis and ping pong, can be played singles or doubles. Learn more about pickleball at www.usapa.org.

Today, the sport of pickleball is governed in the U.S. by the USA Pickleball Association. which was founded in 2005 to promote the sport. There are over 150,000 pickleball players and over 2,000 pickleball courts across the country.

While I have not played pickleball myself, I'm intrigued when I watch the video below. Looks like a lot of fun, and certain does look like playing ping pong while standing on an oversized ping pong table (or undersized tennis court, if you will).

Pickleball is growing in popularity here in the Ventura County area. Here is a list of public pickleball courts in and around Ventura County.


Compilation of Public Beaches Spanning From Oxnard to Hueneme to Malibu 

In a separate post, we highlighted beaches ranging from Carpinteria down south to the beaches at the Ventura Harbor. This is the 2nd installment of local area beaches that stretch from McGrath State Beach on down to the beaches gracing Malibu. We hope these compilations prove useful in guiding you to all the oceanfront fun Ventura County and adjacent areas have to offer!

Additionally, here's a compilation of beaches in the Santa Barbara area (excluding Carpinteria).

McGrath State Beach has 2 1/2 miles of beach that is great for walkers, sunbathers and surf fishers. Swimming, surfing, and water sports are discouraged because of rip currents. McGrath also has a campground with 174 sites, restrooms and coin-operated hot showers. Make reservations by calling 800.444.7275. There's also a .2 mile nature trail through jungle-like vegetation along the banks of the Santa Clara River. McGrath is 5 miles south of Ventura off the 101 freeway via Harbor Boulevard. Visit parks.ca.gov/?page_id=607 or call 805.968.1033 for more information. Parking is $10 as of August 2012.

Mandalay Beach Park is 94 acres of undeveloped beachfront land located south of Reliant Energy's Mandalay Generating Station. The natural sand dunes and the wetlands ecosystem are recognized for their important natural value and houses several threatened bird species. This is a passive, natural open space park with no support facilities. The sandy ocean beach and adjacent coastal dunes are available for public day use only. The beach is managed by the County of Ventura on behalf of the California State Parks Department. Located at the corner of Harbor Boulevard and 5th Street in Oxnard. Visit www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=609.

Oxnard Beach Park has one of the best kids' play areas around town, restrooms, lots of grass, and easy access to miles and miles of beach. The sand dunes are really large in Oxnard. The park is located at 1601 S. Harbor Boulevard. More info at www.visitoxnard.com.

Hollywood Beach is a great spot for swimming, sunning and viewing the Channel Islands offshore. Free public beach volleyball courts, public restrooms on the north end of beach, on-street parking and lifeguards on duty between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Located right next to Channel Islands Harbor off of Harbor Boulevard.

Silver Strand Beach is a 1 mile long sandy beach about 150 yds in width. It is capped by the north and south jetties, which both have small parking lots, one next to San Nicholas Road, the other next to Sawtelle Avenue. Free parking from sunrise to sunset and limited restroom facilities. The coast is a sandy bottom beach break which can sometimes feature rip tides and an undertow. Lifeguards on duty every day during the summer months. Accessed via S. Victoria Avenue. Visit bit.ly/OyXoQE for more information.

Hueneme Beach Park is 50 acres with picnic tables, ba

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Over 140 Summer Camps and Programs In and Around Ventura County

Looking for a summer camp within range of Ventura County? Here's a list of over 140 summer day camps and residential camps and programs in the area. Actually, there are hundreds and hundreds of individual camps available. We've attempted to categorize the camps into 3 main groups; Traditional/Learning, Sports and Music/Arts, though many camps cover numerous fun activities all in one.

Know of more? Submit them here!

No doubt there will be some typos/errors on this list, so let us know if you find one.

Traditional Day/Overnight/Learning/Misc Camps

  • Adventure Weeks Day Camp at Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village, grades K-5 in the fall, June to Aug, fun trips each Thursday, calvarycc.org/adventure-weeks or 818.575.2257
  • Bizzy Girls Tween Entrepreneur Camp at The Oaks Mall ages 7-12 in June/July. Make line of products, write biz plan, and sell the line www.bizzygirls.com
  • Buddy-Building Camp in Agoura Hills is a 5-week program in June/July for ages 8-13 to help families with young children who struggle in more mainstream camp programs www.drlesli.com
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Conejo Valley offers a variety of camps in Thousand Oaks, Agoura, Calabasas, Newbury Park, Jun to Aug for grades 1 to 9 www.bgcconejo.org/camps-programs/summer-camp.aspx
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme Summer Day Camps, ages 6-13, 3 locations bgcop.org/programs/Daycamps.html
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Simi Valley "Summer Club" June to Aug www.bgcsimi.com/p_summer.html *
  • Cali Camp at Big Rock Ranch in Topanga www.calicamp.com
  • Calvary Community Church summer camps in Westlake Village www.calvarycc.org/events.aspx
  • Camp Calabasas at DeAnza Park in Calabasas for all ages, 4 through teen www.campcalabasas.org 818.878.0162

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Seat Belt Scare on Father's Day 2011 - Keep a Sharp Object in Your Car

Note: This was originally posted on July 13, 2011 but since several commenters have experienced the same issue with seat belts that will not retract, I am moving this front and center once again. Please be extra cautious with kids and seat belts.

Father's Day was outstanding for me and my family. Family lunch in Ojai and bicyling in Ventura. But something happened that could have made this the worst day of my life.

After we finished riding bicycles and playing around at the beach we came back to the car. My wife asked if she could buy something with my older son as my 5 year old, teenage stepson and I waited in the car. We were pretty tired from the day's activities.

Within 15 minutes my 5 year old started doing what 5 year olds do. Goof off. Play around, move around, get into trouble. Before I know it he's sitting in the passenger seat and had the seatbelt on. He knows he's not supposed to be in the front seat. As I was messing around with my phone, I told him to take the seatbelt off and get into the backseat.

Of course he didn't listen. The rest is a blur. We unbuckled the seat belt. I told him to get in the back seat again again, he kept messing around. I look over and the seat belt was wrapped around his belly. One last time, I tell him to take it off as I was relaxing and engrossed in Tweets and Facebook. The teenager was in very back of the minivan, headphones on.

You know the way it goes. I lost my temper and told him ONE LAST TIME to take it off, at which point I realize that he appears to be stuck. The seat belt has retracted with him in it. And he can't get out.

I tug on the belt but realize that isn't helping. The belt is now FI

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Highlights of a Dozen Fun Things to See and Do In and Around Camarillo

Residents voted to incorporate Camarillo as a city on September 29, 1964 (the same day that Thousand Oaks residents voted to do the same). Today Camarillo has the 5th largest population out of 10 cities in Ventura County, with about 66,000 residents.

One neat feature of Camarillo is its revitalized Old Town on Ventura Boulevard, a one mile stretch adjacent to Highway 101 between Lewis Road and Carmen Drive. There is a mixture of eateries, galleries, salons, boutiques and shopping along the pedesterian friendly thoroughfare that has transformed the area. Parking is free. More at www.facebook.com/camarillooldtown.

Here are a dozen other fun things to explore, see and do in Camarillo:

The roughly 2 mile Calleguas Creek Bike Path from Pleasant Valley Fields to the corner of Flynn and Upland Road in Camarillo is a family favorite, providing 4 miles of bicycling round-trip. The path is adjacent to Calleguas Creek with several street undercrossings, keeping the path completely free of vehicular traffic.

Calleugas Creek Bike Path

McGrath Family Farm off the Central Avenue 101 offramp grows organic fruits, vegetables and flowers and is open 7 days a week from spring through fall. McGrath also offers farm tours, visits with the farm animals and "pick your own" produce. A quick, healthy and fun stop with the kids.

The Commemorative Air Force Southern California Wing Aviation Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday at the Camarillo Airport with hangars devoted to preserving, displaying and flying World War II aircraft. Docents are extremely knowledgeable and eager to share information.  This is a Camarillo must-see.

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