Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard


Channel Islands Harbor is located in Oxnard; take the 101 Freeway to Ventura. Exit Victoria Avenue. Turn south onto Victoria Avenue. Continue on Victoria for approximately 5 miles until you reach Channel Islands Harbor.

Channel Islands Harbor offers a variety of activities for the entire family. Throughout the year various events are held including the Celebration of the Whales, visits by Tall Ships, Concerts by the Sea, Fireworks by the Sea on July 4th, the Ventura County Boat Show, Ventura Vintage Rods Harbor Run Classic Car Show, and the annual Parade of Lights.

Harbor restaurants include The Waterside Restaurant and Wine Bar, H.C. Seafood & Co., Fisherman's House, Moqueca Brazilian Cuisine and more. You may shop at clothing, gift and accessories stores or cruise the Harbor on the Channel Islands Harbor Water Taxi.

Visitors may rent boats at Hopper Boat Rentals, or Channel Islands Kayak Center, visit the Channel Islands Maritime Museum or just enjoy a beautiful day at one of the local beaches. Weekends offer live musical entertainment. Fresh fruits and vegetables plus arts and crafts may be found at the Harbor's Farmers' Market held at the Marine Emporium Landing from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. every Sunday, rain or shine! Or just ride bikes!

For more information, visit or call 805.985.4852.

We stop by the harbor as often as possible for various events and to walk around, as well as to walk a few blocks over to the beach!  Quite a nice opportunity to beat the Conejo Valley heat...and only 15 to 20 minutes away!

Channel Islands Maritime Museum

The Channel Islands Maritime Museum (formerly known as Ventura County Maritime Museum) is a cultural and scenic haven in the Channel Islands Harbor complete with world class maritime art, ship models and ocean breezes.  It opened in 1991 as an independent, not-for-profit public benefit corporation funded by members, friends, charitable foundations and businesses.

In Summer 2012, the museum moved across the harbor to 3900 Bluefin Circle, Oxnard (off of 3900 Harbor Boulevard).

The museum is open Thursday to Monday from 11 AM to 5 PM except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors (62+) and $3 for children ages 6 to 17, as of October 2016. Admission is free the 3rd Thursday of each month.

The Channel Islands Maritime Museum is home to a permanent collection of extensive marine art, featuring works by the Dutch and Flemish painters, 17th century artists Willem van de Velde and Bonaventura Peeters. Noted modern artists in the collection include John Stobart, Montague Dawson, David Thimgan, Roy Cross and Christopher Blossom.

The museum also houses one of the two largest collections of antique Napoleonic prisoner of war sailing ship models in the US. Three thousand years of maritime history are illustrated by historic ship models, including the life's work of renowned builder Edward Marple. Exhibits on whaling, sailors' arts, the history of the Channel Islands Harbor and Port of Hueneme round out the collection.


In my many visits to the museum, I have been very impressed by how knowledgeable the docents were about the contents of the museum! I learned a lot and was amazed at the collection of nearly 100 intricate ship models on display going back hundreds of years. I was also pleased to see docents take the time to engage my kids in some of the exhibits.


The Museum welcomes about 25,000 visitors annually. The Elementary Education Program, staffed entirely by volunteers, conducts in-house tours for thousands of elementary school students each year. The At Sea Education program supports three day youth sailing expeditions onboard working tall ships.

For more infomation, including current exhibits and upcoming museum events, visit or call 805.984.6260.

Anthony C. Beilenson Interagency Visitor Center in Calabasas


The Anthony C. Beilenson Interagency Visitor Center is located at King Gillette Ranch, 26800 Mulholland Highway, Calabasas. It opened to the public in June 2012.


The Visitor Center is jointly operated by the National Park Service, California State Parks, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.

It features exhibits and interactive displays, the work of local artists, tours of sustainable features and a native plant garden. There is a tremendously comprehensive exhibit covering things to see and do within the Santa Monica Mountains.

The Visitor Center was formerly the horse stable for the Gillette Mansion. It retains some of its original design while achieving LEED Platinum certification as the first "net zero" visitor center in the National Park Service. Cool! (literally and figuratively)

Visitor Center staff and volunteers are very friendly and helpful and have a ton of information to share to help you enjoy what we have in our backyard.

There's also gift shop in the center with a variety of items including books, handmade items, kids' items and more.

Call 805-370-2301 or visit Open 9am to 5pm year-round, except Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.


California Museum of Art Thousand Oaks

The California Museum of Art Thousand Oaks (CMATO) will provide a world-class cultural experience for visitors and locals alike. Artists, educators, lovers of art, tourists, students and the general public will appreciate the world-class exhibitions of paintings, sculpture, photography, music, drama and dance. CMATO will be located at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, west of City Hall and the Performing Arts Center.

Until the new museum is completed, CMATO will operate at its interim museum space next to (west of) the Civic Arts Plaza at 1948 Thousand Oaks Boulevard,.  This interim space houses a small multi-purpose gallery in the front portion of the building and office space area in the back. 

The location is free of charge to visit and is open Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 4pm. 

The museum features 20th and 21st century art exhibitions of varied mediums as well as demonstrations and children's education programs. Additionally, the CMATO Speaker Series takes place at the Hillcrest Center for the Arts in Thousand Oaks.

To learn more, visit

Malibu Lagoon Field Trips Hosted by Santa Monica Bay Audubon Society

The Santa Monica Bay Audubon Society (SMBAS) hosts Malibu Lagoon Field Trips the 4th Sunday of every month.

Adult Walk starts at 8:30 a.m. for 2-3 hrs. The group meets at the metal-shaded viewing area next to parking lot. SMBAS makes a special effort to make our monthly Malibu Lagoon walks attractive to first-time and beginner birdwatchers. Brings binoculars and cameras.

Metal shaded viewing area next to parking lot.

Metal shaded viewing area next to parking lot.

Children & Parents Walk starts at 10:00 a.m. for a 1 hr session. Meet at metal-shaded viewing area next to parking lot. SMBAS leaders are experienced with kids so by all means bring them down to the beach to enjoy nature. Binoculars will be provided.

If you have a Scout troop or other group 7 or larger, please call Lu at 310.395.6235 to make sure SMBAS has enough binoculars and docents on hand.

Visit to learn more.

Directions: Malibu Lagoon is located at the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Cross Creek Road in Malibu. Bring water and sun protection; look around for people wearing binoculars and hats.

Parking: Self-serve parking machine in lot, $3/hr, $12 day ($11 seniors); credit cards accepted. Annual passes accepted. You may also park (read all signs carefully) on PCH west of Cross Creek Road, on Cross Creek Road, or on Civic Center.Way north (inland) of the shopping center. Lagoon parking in shopping center lots is not permitted.

Malibu Creek State Park


Malibu Creek State Park is accessible in Calabasas, at 1925 Las Virgenes Road, south of Mulholland. The park has over 8,000 acres of rugged, beautiful hills, trails and scenery. It stretches from Agoura Hills down to Malibu, down to Malibu Lagoon State Beach, covering much of the 25 mile Malibu Creek that flows from Boney Mountain down to the Lagoon. Malibu Creek is the only stream channel that crosses through the Santa Monica Mountain range.

There are three natural preserves in the park, Liberty Canyon, Udell Gorge and Kaslow, which protect Valley Oaks, rare plants and volcanic formations.

Things to do in Malibu Creek State Park include hiking, running, biking, camping, picnicking, fishing and checking out the wildlife. There are over 35 miles of trails and fire roads throughout the park. A fun added bonus is the old M*A*S*H series set, filmed from 1972 to 1983, that resides there.


Malibu Creek SP contains roughly three dozen different trails, many easy, and some...extraordinarily challenging. such as the Bulldog trail, taking you to 2,500 foot peaks with panoramic views out to the ocean and surrounding peaks and valleys.


Parking for the day at Malibu Creek State Park is currently $12, or you can park at the corner of Mulholland and Las Virgenes and make your way into the park via the Grassland Trail. The park has 62 campsites and 4 RV sites. Visit for more information.

The old M*A*S*H site is about 2 1/2 miles from the parking area.

The old M*A*S*H site is about 2 1/2 miles from the parking area.

M*A*S*H site with plenty of picnic tables

M*A*S*H site with plenty of picnic tables

The Visitor Center is only a 10 minute walk from the parking lot and is generally open from noon to 4pm on weekends.

The Visitor Center is only a 10 minute walk from the parking lot and is generally open from noon to 4pm on weekends.

There's also an interesting visitor center about 1/2 mile from the main entrance to the park. It is open on Saturday/Sunday from noon to 4pm, subject to availability of docents. Worth a stop as there are some neat things to see in there, including wildlife and rocks/artifacts and other useful information. You can also purchase drinks in there as well as a small assortment of other items.

Hike to the Rock Pool at Malibu Creek State Park!

Century Lake Hike at Malibu Creek State Park

Mission Historical Park and A.C. Postel Garden in Santa Barbara

Directly across the street from the Old Santa Barbara Mission is the 8 acre Mission Historical Park (at the corner of Los Olivos and Laguna Street). The centerpiece of this park is the A.C. Postel Mission Rose Garden which has a stunning All American Rose Garden with over 1,500 rose plants. It is appealing to both your sense of sight and sense of smell. For more information or to reserve the site for a wedding or event, visit or call 805.564.5418.


The Woolworth Museum in Downtown Oxnard


What is believed to be the only Woolworth Museum in the world is located in the Woolworth Building (circa 1950) at 210 West Fourth Street, Oxnard (4th and A Streets). This small, unique museum contains all sorts of nostalgia associated with the F. W. Woolworth Company, one of the original "five and dime" stores. Woolworth closed its stores in 1997.

The Woolworth Building is a 16,800 square foot building completed in 1950 that was completely redeveloped in 2003. It is now occupied by office tenants.


Many of the old items in the museum exemplify what Woolworths used to sell. Other items relate directly to this building and the people who worked there, including two managers and a woman who worked here on the first day that the store opened in 1950. There are souvenirs from the Woolworth Building in New York, which was the tallest building in the world when completed in 1913.

There is a collection of books related to the Woolworth stores. There are several items from old lunch counters, including dishes and menus, as well as some items that relate directly to the pivotal civil rights sit-in that took place at a Woolworth lunch counter in 1960.

Photos of various Woolworth stores from 1878 through the 1960s are seen throughout the building. There is a working antique dial pay-phone, a take-your-own photo booth from the 1940s and games and vending machines from the 1930s through the 1960s.


There is a vintage cash register, like those found in most stores in the 60's and 70's, displayed so visitors can push down "No Sale" so that the cash-drawer pops open with the familiar ch-ching, bell ringing and all, and the wooden drawer can be examined and closed.

Also seen is a 1959 Cavalier 96 Coke machine, which dispenses ice cold vintage coke a not quite as vintage price of $1.25.

So stop by sometime! Just walk in. No attendants and no entrance fees. The museum is typically open from 7:30 am to 2:30 pm Monday to Friday and 9 am to 2:30 pm on Saturday.

For more information and pictures, visit

Throwback time seen in the men's room

Throwback time seen in the men's room

Levity Live Comedy & Dinner Theater Coming to The Collection at RiverPark in Oxnard

When it comes to having a good laugh nothing beats live comedy, and Levity Live Comedy & Dinner Theater at The Collection at RiverPark is Oxnard's place to catch top stand-ups throughout the week. Whether it's SNL legends like Kevin Nealon and Jon Lovitz; stars of TV and film like Craig Robinson, Mo'Nique and Jay Mohr; or hot national headliners like Ralphie May, Bobby Lee and Carlos Mencia, Levity Live brings the funniest comics around to the stage. The club also features a full restaurant and cocktails galore, so you can make a night of it. Learn more at


The Collection at RiverPark in Oxnard


The Collection at RiverPark is an outdoor shopping center located on the northeast side of the 101 freeway in Oxnard, between the Oxnard and Vineyard exits.

The 650,000 sq ft center includes a combination of entertainment, retail, restaurants, various services, open space with fountains, parks and playgrounds and quality art. Parking is available on the streets as well as several parking lots.

As of September 2016, the following businesses operate at The Collection:

Retail: Active Ride Shop, ANGL, Charming Charlie, Chico's, The Container Store, Finish Line, Francesca's, Gap, H&M, IT'Sugar, Jos. A. Bank, Lane Bryant, LOFT, LOHO Love & Hope, M. Fredric, Pet Food Express, REI, Sleep Number, Soma Intimates, Target, ULTA Beauty, Verizon Wireless, Victoria's Secret, White House Black Market, Whole Foods Market and Windsor. 

Entertainment: Levity Live Comedy Club & Dinner Theater*, Century RiverPark 16, Color Me Mine, The Painted Cabernet.

* Discounted Levity Live shows at

Other: Bank of America, 24 Hour Fitness Super Sport, California Welcome Center, Elacora Homes, European Wax Center, Kriza Aveda Salon, Massage Envy Spa, Pol!sh Nail Bar, Rouge A Katherine Lazier Salon and Target Optical.


Restaurants include Famous Dave's BBQ, Red Robin, Five Guys Burgers & Fries, Gandolfo's NY Deli, Gen Korean BBQ House, Kabuki Japanese Restaurant, Menchie's Frozen Yogurt, Panera Bread, Starbucks, Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana, Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar, Larsen's Grill, Maria's Italian Kitchen, Ben and Jerry's, Sabra Fish Grill, Copper Blues Rock Pub & Kitchen and Yard House.

Toby Keith's Bar & Grill closed in Spring 2015


There is unique public art placed throughout the center, including metal sculptures, ceramic tile murals, fountains and more. Shea Properties has spent around $1 million on art, bringing in seven artists for 18 individual art installations. Artists include Frank Bauer with his ceramic tile murals and benches and tile sidewalk medallions, and Michael Amescua with his cut metal sculptures.


Visit or visit their Facebook page to learn more. To get there from the 101 North, exit on Oxnard Boulevard and turn right. Turn right again on Town Center Drive.

Playground at The Collection

Playground at The Collection

Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara


Stearns Wharf is located at the juncture of W. Cabrillo Road and State Street in Santa Barbara. Originally constructed in 1872 by lumberman John P. Stearns as the longest deep-water pier between Los Angeles and San Francisco, it is now one of the most visible and visited tourist destinations in Santa Barbara. In 1980-81, the City of Santa Barbara restored the wharf, constructed new buildings on it and assumed operation of the facility.

Placemarker in front of Stearns Wharf facing State Street

Placemarker in front of Stearns Wharf facing State Street

Our family particularly enjoys visiting the Museum of Santa Barbara Sea Center located on the wharf, followed by a stop at the candy store or the ice cream shop. Of course, The Harbor Restaurant and Longboards Grill are crowd favorites. There's also wine tasting, Moby Dick Restaurant, fish and chips, souvenir shops and other places that are fun to stop by.

Facing the wharf from the northeast side

Facing the wharf from the northeast side

View from Stearns Wharf

View from Stearns Wharf

You can get onto the wharf in a number of ways. There is limited parking on the wharf that currently (as of September 2016) costs $2.50/hour up to a maximum of $20 per day...but the first 90 minutes are FREE with validation. Or you can park along Cabrillo Road or in a local beach parking lot and walk onto the wharf. Or do what we enjoy...park at the Santa Barbara Harbor and ride bikes onto the wharf. The wood planks are a bit bumpy but you'll survive!

Learn more about Stearns Wharf at

Beautiful views of the harbor area as you'll see below from the pier. If you walk onto the wharf, you may encounter some locals that "live off the land" with sand sculptures and other monuments on the sand for your viewing pleasure (and perhaps some spare change). They are part of the carnival atmosphere. And of course on Sundays you'll be treated to the Santa Barbara Arts & Crafts Show that has been running since 1965.

Lake Eleanor Open Space Hike in Westlake Village

For a nice, fairly moderate hike in Westlake Village, take Triunfo Canyon Road south to Highgate Road and head up to the southeast endpoint of Highgate, past Hillsbury Road, to the end of the road, where you'll see a trailhead sign.

It doesn't actually say "Lake Eleanor Open Space Hike" but this is indeed the way to get to this trail maintained by the Conejo Open Space Foundation.  Walk past the fence on the pavement, and about 60 steps, the trailhead is on the right. There's no sign. In fact, I've never seen any signs indicating which way to go on this trail. But once you reach this path, for the most part the trail is pretty obvious. COSF has some helpful images and a trail map at

There are some brief, slightly challenging hilly sections on this hike, along with some rocky sections, but for the most part, this trail is perfectly fine for all ages. I generally wouldn't recommend strollers on this trail though because of these sections, but if you have a solid off-road stroller, it is possible.


On the left you'll see the beawutiful Las Virgenes Reservoir for most of the 1 1/2 mile hike (about 2 1/2 to 3 miles round trip).

You can't go swimming in the Las Virgenes Reservoir but it sure makes for gorgeous views.

You can't go swimming in the Las Virgenes Reservoir but it sure makes for gorgeous views.

Towards the endpoint (Denver Springs Drive), on the right you can look down towards Westlake Boulevard/Decker Canyon and see the eight acre Lake Eleanor. Pretty cool to see from above as it is not accessible to the public.

The main trail is on the left; veer right however for best views of Lake Eleanor.

The main trail is on the left; veer right however for best views of Lake Eleanor.

Lake Eleanor along with the Lake Eleanor Dam (also Banning Dam and surrounding 529 acres of open space has been named City of Thousand Oaks Historical Landmark #9. More info at

Lake Eleanor, which is fenced off to protect the wildlife, is clearly visible from the trail.

Lake Eleanor, which is fenced off to protect the wildlife, is clearly visible from the trail.

I love this little hike. It is quiet and peaceful and the views are just wonderful up here. And you are just minutes from civilization.


Commemorative Air Force Aviation Museum at Camarillo Airport

Located at the Camarillo Airport at 455 Aviation Drive, the Southern California Wing of the Commemorative Air Force has hangars devoted to preserving, maintaining, displaying, and flying World War II aircraft.

The Commemorative Air Force Southern California Wing Aviation Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm. Closed New Year's, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Donations of $10 for adults, $5 for ages 10 to 18, $3 for ages 6 to 10 are requested. Kids under 6 and active military are free. Visit or call 805.482.0064 for more information.

You can rent out the hangar for events! Visit for more information.

Also, take a vintage WWII airplane ride on a PT-19 Cornell open cockpit aircraft or aSNJ-5/AT-6 "Texan" aircraft! Get a 20 minute ride on the Ventura County coastline or along the mountains for only $250 (PT-19) or $395 (SNJ-5)! Or try the P-51 Mustang Warbird for $1,495! What a thrill! Visit for more information.

Docents are enjoyable to speak with as they have a lot of history to share at this museum. Two 15,000 sq ft hangars and a new (2016) 32,800 sq. ft. hangar complex serve as a Museum Hangar and a Maintenance and Restoration Hangar.

The Museum Hangar contains some of the many artifacts that are currently on display as well as a gift shop. It also houses any of the aircraft that are not away on a mission or undergoing maintenance.  For safety reasons the maintenance hangar is not available for a walk-through, however visitors can observe any work in progress from behind a safety perimeter.

There are a number of aircraft on display, including several you can physically inspect, which is always fun to do with the kids. There are some interesting WWII exhibits on hand too. 

The only authentic Marine BPJ-1J variant of the famed Mitchell B-25 Bomber. It flew into Camarillo from Midland, TX in 1993 for a 20 year restoration project. It is now flight-ready!

The only authentic Marine BPJ-1J variant of the famed Mitchell B-25 Bomber. It flew into Camarillo from Midland, TX in 1993 for a 20 year restoration project. It is now flight-ready!

The Kakovlev Yak-3 is widely considered the lightest fighter aircraft between 1939 and 1945.

The Kakovlev Yak-3 is widely considered the lightest fighter aircraft between 1939 and 1945.