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 oxnard.levitylive.com/calendar.

DISCOUNTED TICKETS TO UPCOMING LEVITY LIVE SHOWS AT GOLDSTAR.COM

The Collection at RiverPark in Oxnard

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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 Goldstar.com

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.

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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

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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.

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Visit www.thecollectionrp.com 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

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 www.cosf.org/website/html/lake-eleanor-open-space-hike.html.

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.

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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 ci.thousand-oaks.ca.us/living/historical.asp.

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.

CLICK HERE FOR DOZENS OF OTHER GREAT HIKING TRAILS AROUND VENTURA COUNTY

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 www.cafsocal.com or call 805.482.0064 for more information.

You can rent out the hangar for events! Visit www.cafsocal.com/HangarRental 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 www.cafsocal.com/rides 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!

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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.

The Canyon Club - Agoura Hills

Looking for some of the top music acts of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s nearby in an intimate setting with a great dinner?  Visit the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills!

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Tickets vary in price based on the artist and reserved seating requires dinner reservations.  Unreserved seats typically require a two drink minimum.

The dinner menu includes prime rib, salmon, sauteed chicken breast, filet mignon, with a variety of mouth watering starters, salads, sides and desserts.  Dinners range in price from roughly $20 to $40.

Performers have included Kansas, Styx, Cheap Trick, Berlin, Peter Frampton, Blues Traveler, Boys II Men, Hootie and the Blowfish, Pat Benatar, Bonnie Tyler, Don Rickles, Davy Jones of the Monkees, The Smothers Brothers, B-52s, Air Supply, Rick Springfield, John Hiatt, Frankie Valle, Leon Russell, Jonny Lang, Foreigner and more.

You will also find some well-known comedians visiting The Canyon Club from time to time, Paul Reiser, Adam Carolla, Dana Carvey and Craig Shoemaker.

Visit www.canyonclub.net or call 818.879.5016 for schedules, ticket sales, menu and other information. Located at 28912 Roadside Drive, Agoura Hills.

DISCOUNTED TICKETS FOR UPCOMING CANYON CLUB SHOWS AT GOLDSTAR.COM.

One of the most recognizable features of the Canyon Club...the blue star thingys hanging from the ceiling:

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The Woolworth Museum in Downtown Oxnard

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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.

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.

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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.

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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 bottles...at 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 www.thewoolworthbuilding.com.

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Throwback time seen in the men's room

Throwback time seen in the men's room

Rancho Potrero Open Space in Newbury Park

The Rancho Potrero Open Space area is located in Newbury Park off of Lynn Road, just east of the intersection with Rancho Dos Vientos. The area includes an equestrian center where Rocking K Horse Rentals is located and is adjacent to the Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa area in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

Map excerpt courtesy of Conejo Open Space Foundation (www.cosf.org)

Map excerpt courtesy of Conejo Open Space Foundation (www.cosf.org)

A new parking lot and restrooms was built in 2015 allowing for easier access to the Rancho Potrero Open Space (although notably the parking lot closes at 4pm, well before sunset). It is accessible just west of Rocking K off of Lynn/Potrero Road.

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There is a trailhead further west of the parking lot, just before Potrero (Lynn) Road takes a sharp right turn.  You can usually find parking off pavement here. A short (1/4 mile) walk up the hill gets you pretty darn nice views looking towards Camarillo and the Channel Islands. Take the adjoining trail east towards Rancho Sierra Vista and the Satwiwa Native American Indian Cultural Center.

The entrance is further east off of Potrero/Lynn Road

The entrance is further east off of Potrero/Lynn Road

About a 1/4 mile gets you to the top of a hill that gives you views as far as the Channel Islands.

About a 1/4 mile gets you to the top of a hill that gives you views as far as the Channel Islands.

Can you believe this view!? Anacapa Island seen clearly through from Rancho Potrero

Can you believe this view!? Anacapa Island seen clearly through from Rancho Potrero

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The views towards Boney Mountain from this area are quite nice too.

The views towards Boney Mountain from this area are quite nice too.

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Indian Creek and Wildwood Canyon Trails in Wildwood Park, Thousand Oaks

Sign on the west side of the Wildwood Park parking lot after walking down some steps

Sign on the west side of the Wildwood Park parking lot after walking down some steps

If you enjoy the sound of running water, the Indian Creek Trail and Wildwood Canyon Trail at Wildwood Park in Thousand Oaks are for you.

The Indian Creek trail can be accessed from the main Wildwood Canyon trailhead area parking lot at the east end of Avenida de los Arboles as well as at a separate trailhead on Arboles, slightly west of the parking lot.

Indian Creek Trail entry point from Avenida de los Arboles

Indian Creek Trail entry point from Avenida de los Arboles

There are shady sections hidden among the trees and sections in the sun. Most of the trail runs along a creek that flows into Paradise Falls. This is not a completely easy hike as there are some hilly sections, a number of steps, and a stream crossing. That said, there's enough variety to make this a fun and interesting hike with the kids.

Visit the Conejo Open Space Foundation website at www.cosf.org/website/html/moonridge-waterfall-creek.html for a handy map of these trails.

About half a mile or so into the hike, you'll come across a fairly significant waterfall down below, way below, in the creek. Not as large as Paradise Falls, but definitely prominent. Adjacent to that area is a bench. And from there you have some steps and a stream crossing to make it down to the flatter section of the trail.

The waterfall seen from the Indian Creek Trail. Be careful!

The waterfall seen from the Indian Creek Trail. Be careful!

The bench on the Indian Creek Trail in Wildwood Park

The bench on the Indian Creek Trail in Wildwood Park

Eventually you get to a bridge. If instead of crossing the bridge, you veer left (southwest), you'll be on the Wildwood Canyon Trail along the creek. This is a wide path that can take you on another little sidetrack loop up the Castillo Trail to Castillo Circle (street). A bit of a steep, roughly 3/8ths of a mile trail to Castillo Circle, where you can walk back to a separate trailhead via Velarde Drive north to San Miguel Circle to the San Miguel Trail. You'll end up back at the bridge area.

The Wildwood Canyon Trail is pretty cool. Fairly flat, wide and runs along a creek. The water they say is mostly urban runoff but fun to check out up close with the kids.

The Wildwood Canyon Trail is pretty cool. Fairly flat, wide and runs along a creek. The water they say is mostly urban runoff but fun to check out up close with the kids.

The Meadows Center next to the bridge has restrooms and a drinking fountain. The Conejo Rec & Park District leads many hikes here for s'mores and fun activities.

The Meadows Center next to the bridge has restrooms and a drinking fountain. The Conejo Rec & Park District leads many hikes here for s'mores and fun activities.

The bridge that intersects the Indian Creek Trail and Wildwood Canyon Trail. Lots of options!

The bridge that intersects the Indian Creek Trail and Wildwood Canyon Trail. Lots of options!

Or, veer right (west) over the bridge, continuing on perhaps the Wildwood Canyon Trail southeast towards the top end entry into the Paradise Falls area (pretty cool to go this way). You can also sidetrack a bit by crossing the bridge and making a sharp right (north) to the short Indian Cave Trail and check out the Indian Cave.

The Indian Cave is really easy to get to. Wear good hiking shoes though as it can get slippery. I slipped several times recently because the sole of my sneakers was so worn down.

The Indian Cave is really easy to get to. Wear good hiking shoes though as it can get slippery. I slipped several times recently because the sole of my sneakers was so worn down.

You can return to the parking area by either backtracking up the Indian Creek Trail or by taking the trail directly across from the bridge (basically go straight) up the steep, moderately winding path to a public access road (there is overflow parking available here) to the main Mesa Trail. From there, go right (east) back to the parking lot.

I could go on but there are so many different options in Wildwood Park that we'll stop here for now. Here are links to some other options:

THE TEEPEE, INDIAN CAVE AND PARADISE FALLS

LIZARD ROCK

SANTA ROSA LOOP

SANTA ROSA TRAIL AND LOWER BUTTE TRAIL FROM WILDWOOD PARK TO CLU

Janss Marketplace in Thousand Oaks

Janss Marketplace in Thousand Oaks

Janss Marketplace at 275 North Moorpark Road in Thousand Oaks (corner of Moorpark Road and Hillcrest) is an open air mall that has a large outdoor eating area, interactive water fountain, monthly Kids Fun Zone and outdoor kids play area.

Retailers and other businesses at Janss Marketplace include Gold's Gym, Regal Theaters, Toys R Us, Sears, Old Navy, Marshalls, Burlington Coat Factory and others.

Eateries include Buca di Beppo, Hooters, Panera Bread, Karma Indian Cuisine, Crazy King Kong Sushi, L&L Hawaiian BBQ, Lucky's Dog House, Subway, Sunset Terrace Restaurant, Greco's New York PizzeriaCold Stone Creamery, Sharky's, The Dudes' Brewing Company and soon, a Korean BBQ.

There's also an interactive fountain, music and light show that operates a number of times each day (call for show times). 

For more information visit www.janssmarketplace.net or call 805.495.4662.

In 2009 the Janss Marketplace added a NEOS Wall, a fun interactive game right outside the Golds Gym.  This game is free. 

Ventura Flea Market - Ventura County Fairgrounds

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The Ventura Flea Market is held near the ocean in Ventura and is a great place to shop. The event features antiques, used and new merchandise sold by over 500 vendors, more than 5,000 buyers visit the Market each time it is held. 

The Ventura Flea Market is held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. A special Early Bird admission is available from 6am to 9am at $10.00 per person. Regular admission starts at 9 a.m. at $5.00 per person. Children under 12 are admitted free when accompanied by an adult.  (Prices current as of January 2016.) Pets are not allowed. Event is held rain or shine! Parking is $5.

Upcoming Dates as of 9/18/16

  • September 25, 2016
  • November 20, 2016
  • January 29, 2017
  • March 26, 2017
  • April 23, 2017
  • June 4, 2017
  • September 24, 2017
  • November 5, 2017

Visit www.rgcshows.com/Ventura.aspx or call 323.560.SHOW (7469) for more information.

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Borchard Park Labyrinth in Newbury Park

Borchard Park Labyrinth & Fitness Equipment Area

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The Conejo Recreation & Park District opened the 60 foot diameter Borchard Park Labyrinth and Fitness Equipment Area in September 2010. Borchard Park is located at 190 Reino Road, Newbury Park. The labyrinth, located in the southeast area of the park, is said to help strengthen memory and concentration and bring clarity by balancing the right brain/left brain.

There are also 3 pieces of outdoor fitness equipment which include a 2 person pull-down, 4 person waist-twist and 4 person leg press.

More information at crpd.org/parkfac/borchard/labyrinth_n_outdoor_fitness.asp.

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Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara

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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 www.stearnswharf.org.

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.

Public Beach Access Between Sycamore Cove and County Line Beach in Malibu

Between Sycamore Cove Beach at 9000 Pacific Coast Highway, which is part of Point Mugu State Park, and County Line Beach, across the street from Neptune's Net and Yerba Buena Road at 42505 Pacific Coast Highway, there are three or four access points to the beach.

Look for the brown "Coastal Access" signs.

The first access point is just over a mile southeast of Sycamore Canyon at about 10302 Pacific Coast Highway. There is parking on PCH and an old staircase adjacent to a Call Box.

The not particularly well taken care of steps to the beach at (approximately) 10302 PCH.

The not particularly well taken care of steps to the beach at (approximately) 10302 PCH.

Another access point is another 1/2 mile east is at approximately 9999 Pacific Coast Highway, near the juncture of Deer Creek Road. You'll see another brown Coastal Access sign and blue Call Box. Park on PCH and look for the staircase.

Staircase at 9999 Pacific Coast Highway

Staircase at 9999 Pacific Coast Highway

The final southeast stretch of PCH between the access point above and Neptune's Net has even less distinguishable areas, but you can pull over to the side and park over most of this stretch (except when there are No Parking signs). 

CLICK HERE FOR PUBLIC BEACHES STRETCHING FROM OXNARD TO MALIBU