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Live Beehive on Display at the Museum of Ventura County Agriculture Museum

The Museum of Ventura County Agriculture Museum in Santa Paula contains nearly a thousand vintage farm items ranging from tractors, machines and tools as well as rotating art and photo exhibits as well as educational sessions for all ages. One other unique aspect of the Agriculture Museum is this live beehive exhibit, which bees can access through the exterior wall. Fascinating to see in person! This is a permanent display at the museum.

General public admission to the Agriculture Museum (as of November 2014) is $5 adults, $3 seniors, students and AAA members and $1 for children 6-17. Kids 5 and under are free. Open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ADMISSION FREE on FIRST SUNDAYS of the month.

For more information, visit the Museum of Ventura County website at or call 805.653.0323.


Visit the Camarillo Ranch House for a Taste of Local Ventura County History

Built in 1892, the Camarillo Ranch House is a grand, three-story, 15-room home built by Adolfo Camarillo in the Queen Anne Victorian style. It was named to the National Register of Historic Places in February 2003. The home features seven bedrooms, a grand staircase, tower bay, wooden refrigerator, wrap-around exterior balcony, hardwood floors and turrets.

The exterior and interior of the Camarillo Ranch House were restored by the City of Camarillo and Camarillo Ranch Foundation in 1999-2001.

The White Horse Stables were built in 1966 for the famed Camarillo White Horses. Breeding of the horses began in 1920 when Adolfo Camarillo acquired Sultan, a Spanish stallion, and bred him with a Morgan mare. The White Horses are now owned by members of the White Horse Association. Learn more about the White Horses at

Renovation of the historic 1905 Mule Barn at the Camarillo Ranch was completed in 2009.

Today the Camarillo Ranch is owned by the City of Camarillo and operated by the Camarillo Ranch Foundation. The Camarillo Ranch House operates as a museum, featuring rotating exhibits, along with historic home and school tours.

The 3 1/2 acre site is host to a number of community events each year and is available to private parties for weddings, parties, fundraisers and other eve

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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

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.

Also at the Camarillo Airport is the annual Wings of Camarillo Air Show in the August time frame. This is a weekend display of restored World War II military aircraft in flight, aerobatic, vintage and experimental aircraft displays, classic cars and plenty of family fun. This is one event in Camarillo that you have to see up close at least once. Visit for more information.

Photo Credit: Scott Harrison

The Camarillo Ranch House is a 3-story, 14 room, 6,000 square foot Victorian home built by Adolfo Camarillo in 1892. The City restored the beautiful home to exhibit what it looked like during the 1914 to 1930 time frame. Today the house is a popular event venue and is open for docent-led tours several days a week. The Camarillo Ranch was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.

The Camarillo Ranch House is a popular wedding and other special events destination.

I'm amazed at how few of the people I talk to have heard of the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology, more popularly known as the Camarillo Bird Museum. The 22,000 sq ft non-descript facility in an industrial office park hosts a collection of ove

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Free Admission Days at Museums in Ventura County and Adjacent Areas

The "Do Something" section of Conejo Valley Guide highlights over 250 things to do throughout Ventura County and surrounding areas, including over four dozen museums. Let's take a closer look at the museums on the list that offer free admission days. The information below of course is subject to change, so be sure to contact the museums first to confirm.

Historic Dudley House Museum in Ventura is open the 1st SUNDAY of the month most of the year and admission is free (donations encouraged).

Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center at Channel Islands National Park is open year-round free of admission.

Admission is free year-round at the Reagan Ranch Center Exhibit Galleries in Santa Barbara on State Street in front of the Amtrak Station.

Ojai Valley Museum offers free admission the 1ST FRIDAY of each month.

Santa Barbara Historical Museum offers free admission year-round; donations are welcomed.\

Santa Barbara Maritime Museum offers free admission the 3RD THURSDAY of each month.

Museum of Ventura County’s Agriculture Museum in Santa Paula offers free admission on the 1ST SUNDAY of the month.

The unique Woolworth Museum in Downtown Oxnard is free to enter year-round.

Channel Islands Maritime Museum offers free admission on the 3RD THURSDAY of each month.

Nethercutt Museum in Sylmar offers free admission year-round to its showcase of vintage cars.

Admission to the Conejo Valley Art Museum is free year-round.

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A Visit to the Newly Opened Discovery Cube Los Angeles Science Center

Discovery Cube Los Angeles is a 71,000 sq ft hands-on science and education museum that opened on November 13th in Lakeview Terrace at the Hansen Dam Recreational Area.

This is a beautiful, two-story, open, airy and fun facility geared towards children but fun for all family members. We stopped by and explored the various interactive exhibits and wow, what an impressive array they have!

There's a great array educational exhibits on display at Discovery Cube LA. In the Inspector Training Course, kids receive touch screen tablets and learn to conserve resources and in a real-life home. Fun, educational and very interactive! The Aquavator is a virtual elevator that takes you into the earth's crust for a tour. Race to Zero Waste is a game-based exhibit teaching guests the correct way to sort trash and divert materials from the landfills.

Children are given tablet computers as they inspect this home for resource efficiencies!

The Discovery Market is an impressively put together supermarket where kids use computer-equipped shopping carts to learn how to read package levels, learn about nutrition and make healthy choices. The Making the Grade Gallery provides grade-specific interactive, scientific exhibits. The Planetary Research Station uses a suspended, animated globe to highlight information about the solar system, natural disasters and climate change.

The Discovery Market is an interactive learning experience that almost looks like a real store!

The Helicopter Tour gives a simulated birds-eye view

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Conejo Valley Meal and Shelter Program Providers

The following Conejo Valley locations take part in a program that provide year-round meal on designated nights of the week.  And from  December to March, both dinner (6:30 pm) and overnight shelter is offered.

This is a wonderful program and a benefit to all. This information is current as of November 2014. Subject to change. Call in advance to confirm.

Sleeping facilities for up to 15 people during winter months. Visit for more information.
Visit for more information 

 Chinese Christian Church of Thousand Oaks
218 W. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks
Meal and overnight site from December-March


St. Julie Billiart Catholic Church
2475 Borchard Rd, Newbury Park
805.498.3602 or specifically - meals served for up to 50 people and shelter for up to 30 during winter months

St Patrick's Episcopal Church
1 Church Rd, Thousand Oaks
Meal site from April-November
Temple Adat Elohim
2420 E. Hillcrest Dr, Thousand Oaks
Meal and overnight site from December-March

Ventura County Area Listings in the National Register of Historic Places

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate and protect America's historic and archeological resources.

As of March 2014, there are over 89,500 listings in the Register, with 1,175 additions in fiscal year 2013. The five general categories for National Register properties are: building, structure, site, district and object.

To be considered eligible for the Register, a property must meet the National Register Criteria for Evaluation. This involves examining the property’s age (generally at least 50 years old), integrity and significance.

To learn more about the National Register of Historic Places and to search its database, visit

Now let's highlight Ventura County area properties listed in the Register as of March 2014. Most of these you can visit (links provided where applicable):

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Old Mission Santa Barbara is a Cultural and Historic Local Landmark

The Santa Barbara Mission was established on the Feast of Saint Barbara, December 4, 1786 and was the 10th of 21 California Missions to be founded by the Spanish Franciscans. The Mission continues to be the chief cultural and historic landmark in the city of Santa Barbara. Home to a community of Franciscan friars, the Mission also has a retreat center with guest rooms, conference rooms, a fully equipped commercial kitchen and dining room, a beautiful church with a large and active parish, a museum and gift shop, a cemetery and mausoleum and ten acres of beautifully landscaped gardens.

The Santa Barbara Mission in July 2013

Old Mission Church, Santa Barbara (1876), by Carleton Watkins, via Wikimedia Commons

Mission Santa Barbara is California Historical Landmark No. 309. According to the California State Parks Office of Historic Preservation website: Portions of five units of its extensive waterworks, built by Indian labor and preserved in this part, are a filter house, Spanish gristmill, sections of aqueducts, and two reservoirs, the larger of which, built in 1806, is used today as part of the city water system. The fountain and lavadero are nearby, in front of the mission, and a dam built in 1807 is located in the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, one and one-half miles up Mission Canyon. Only ruins remain of the mission's pottery kiln, guard house, and tanning vats.

The Mission, located at 2201 Laguna Street, is open daily from 9am to 5pm. Admission as of November 2014 is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors (65+) and $2 youth ages 5-15. Parking is free. There's also a docent guided tour Thursday and Friday at 11:00am; Saturday at 10:30am. Tour admission is $9 adults, $7 seniors, $4 for youth; children age 4 and under free. Roughly 60 minutes. Visit or call 805.682.4713 to learn more.


Live Music and Other Nightlife Options In and Around Ventura County

Are you a night owl that is looking for something to do around town? Here's a list of places in and around Ventura County that have things to do during nighttime hours, including live music, concerts, dancing, darts, comedy, trivia and other activities scheduled on a regular basis.

This compilation includes restaurants as well as some bars. TVs are great, but don't count as "something to do" for the purposes of this compilation.

Are we missing something? Let us know!

For other nighttime fun, check out these compilations of Ventura County area movie theaters, comedy shows and entertainment venues. Or how about bowling. Or how about these inexpensive local area dating options.

(Information is subject to change at any time, so be sure to contact the business to confirm.) 


Conejo Valley (Thousand Oaks, Newbury Park, Westlake Village)

Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Malibu

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Do Good, Feel Good and You Shall Receive - Volunteer Opportunities in Ventura County

Looking for a job? Why not help yourself by filling in the gaps in your resume with new experiences while helping others!? There are hundreds of opportunities to volunteer in Ventura County. Here's where to find volunteer opportunities:

The United Way of Ventura County hosts, which lists numerous upcoming volunteer opportunities.

Ventura County RSVP is an organization that connects volunteers ages 55 and over with service opportunities that match their skills, interests and availability. There are hundreds of opportunities in the Ojai Valley, Oxnard and Thousand Oaks listed HERE.

Since 1998, has helped volunteers find over 4 million volunteer matches at over 60,000 non-profits across the country. You type in your zip code and in my case today it identified over 300 volunteer opportunities within a 20 mile radius of Newbury Park.

Or go directly to the source. Visit the Local Charities section of Conejo Valley Guide and you'll find roughly 100 Ventura County area non-profit organizations, most of which could use your help. I clicked a few and found plenty of volunteer needs publicized on each entity's website, like MANNA Food Bank, L.I.F.E. Animal Rescue in Agoura, Hospice of the Conejo, Friends of the Thousand Oaks Library, and CareGivers - Volunteers Assisting the Elderly.

You could also join one of over 80 service organizations in the Service Clubs section of CVG. The Rotary, Kiwanis, Optimists, Assistance League, Lions Club and other organizations provide nee

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FEMA Website Provides Emergency Preparedness Tips

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) launched to educate and prepare Americans for emergencies, both natural and man-made.  The site is focused on three key activities: having an emergency supply kit, making a plan and being informed.

Here are FEMA's recommendations for a kit of food, water and supplies to last at least 3 days per person should rescue workers not be able to get to you right away after a disaster/emergency.

  • At least 1 gallon of water per day, per person.
  • Wise Emergency Food KitAt least 3 days of non-perishable food per person. Things like ready-to-eat canned items, protein or fruit bars, cereal or granola, peanut butter, dried fruit, nuts, crackers, canned juices, high energy foods, food for infants, etc.
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio and extra batteries
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • First aid kit with 2 pairs of gloves, sterile dressings, cleansing agent/soap/towelettes, antibiotic and burn ointments, bandages, eye wash solution, thermometer, prescription items (other good stuff to consider...scissors, tweezers, petroleum jelly, aspirin, anti-diarrheal, antacid, laxative)
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air; plastic sheeting and duct tape for shelter
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Can opener if you have canned food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with charger

Other items to consider:

  • Prescription medications and glasses
  • Infant formula and diapers
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
  • Cash or traveler's checks and change
  • Emergency reference materials, first aid manual, etc.
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person.
  • Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes.
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When

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The "Scary Dairy" at CSU Channel Islands University Park in Camarillo

CSU Channel Islands University Park is a 367 acre parcel located adjacent to CSU Channel Islands off of S. Lewis Road in Camarillo. It is a regional educational and recreation area owned and operated by California State University Channel Islands.

In 1932, the State of California purchased 1,760 acres of the Lewis Ranch and built the Camarillo State Mental Hospital, which operated from 1936 to 1997 and at one point treated as many as 7,000 patients in the mid 1950s.

Located on the parcel was a dairy farm that produced crops and housed livestock that fed the hospital community. The farm was disbanded in the 1960s and has been left in a state of disrepair, falling prey over the decades to vandals and coined "Scary Dairy."

After closure of the hospital, the land was conveyed to the County of Ventura, which had considered developing a golf course and amphiteater but later abandoned its plans. The land was acquired by the University in 2009.

Fences and "No Trespassing" signs now surround what's left of the structures. but you can still get pretty close to check it out Scary Dairy as you can see in these photos.

CSU Channel Islands University Park is open to the public daily from sunrise to sunset. From Camarillo, take Lewis Road south to Camarillo Street and turn left (east).  Cross the bridge over Calleguas Creek and the entrance is on the left. Parking is $6 per vehicle (as of November 2014). Do note that there are no facilities at this park, like restrooms and drinking fountains. Visit for more information.


Geological Wonders at Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park in Agua Dulce

If you're ever driving California State Route 14 (Antelope Valley Freeway) on your way to the high desert, you'll probably notice amazing rock foundations north of the freeway in Agua Dulce and freeway signs that indicate Vasquez Rocks.

The 932 acre Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park, owned and managed by the County of Los Angeles, contains ancient rock sculptures created by 20 to 25 million years of earthquake movement along the Elkhorn Fault, an offshoot of the San Andreas Fault.

The ancient rock layers have slowly been compressed, folded and tilted while erosion has gradually stripped away the soil around the rocks, leaving spectacular jetting slabs. The large rock outcroppings are sandstone beds with areas of shale, basalt and reddish brown layering, sitting at angles of as much as 50 degrees, sweeping up to a peak of nearly 150 feet high.

Although habitation of the area goes back to the Tataviam Indians from 2000 B.C. to the late 1700s, the land has been named after a bandit named Tiburcio Vasquez, who used the rocks to escape from sheriff's posses. Vasquez Rocks may well be the only park in the world named after a notorious bandit who was ultimately caught and hanged.

The park is a popular hiking, picnicking and equestrian area and has been used in many hit movies, television shows and commercials. A sampling of productions filmed at Vasquez Rocks include The Flintsones (movie), Planet of the Apes, Dracula (1931), Blazing Saddles, Austin Powers, Little Miss Sunshine, Power Rangers, Star Trek and many more.

Located at 10700 W. Escondido Canyon Road in Agua Dulce. Take the Agua Dulce Canyon Road exit from the 14 and follow the signs. When you pull into the park, there will be an Interpretative Center with educational displays and a small gift shop on the right. Turn left on the dirt road to get to parking near the rock formations. The Interpretive Center is open Tuesday – Sunday 8:00am to 4:00 pm. Closed Mondays, except holidays.

Visit or call 661.268.0840 for more information. Vasquez Rocks is about an hour drive from Thousand Oaks and 35 to 40 minute drive from the eastern end of Simi Valley.


Veterans Day Services in Ventura County

Veterans Day is celebrated as a Federal holiday on the 11th day November 11th. 

It coincides with other holidays such as Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, which are celebrated in other parts of the world and also mark the anniversary of the end of World War I, which formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when Armistice with Germany took effect.

Here are some local Veterans Day service options to honor those who have served our country:

Reagan Library Veterans Day Services start at 10am on 11/11

Veterans Day Observance in Moorpark at 10am on 11/11

Veterans Day Celebration in Downtown Oxnard at 10am on 11/11

Veterans Day Services in Malibu at 11am on 11/11

Veterans Day Services in Simi Valley at 11am on 11/11

Special Veterans Day deal for Active Military and Veterans with ID: Free entree at California Pizza Kitchen, free meal at Applebees.

The following is courtesy of professional photographer Scott Harrison (

Vietnam veteran David Stull stands guard while supporting a flagpole carrying the American flag at the Garden of Valor at Valley Oaks Memorial Park in Westlake Village. This was one of three 30 minute shifts he stood guard. November 1984 photo by Scott Harrison/The News Chronicle

Back in the 1980s Conejo Valley residents would observe a 24-hour vigil during the Veterans Day holiday. I took photos several times, but this 1984 photo at dusk remains my favorite. The current full name of Valley Oaks is Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks Memorial Park. The flame is still burning at the Garden of Valor.


Upcoming Free Programs at Satwiwa Native American Indian Cultural Center in Newbury Park

The Satwiwa Native American Indian Cultural Center is located in the Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa hiking area in Point Mugu State Park

The Center hosts year-round cultural workshops and programs every other Sunday, including arts and crafts, music, storytelling and much more.  Visit for more information.

Photo at Satwiwa taken by Scott Harrison ( on Monday, February 1st using an iPhone, cropped, saturation added, sharpened and border added using Mobile. Amazing! Note the tip of Mount Boney in the background.