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Ventura County Runs/Walks!

Compilation of FREE Stuff!

The CVG "Do Something" section contains hundreds of things to do throughout Ventura County and surrounding areas! For listings by category/type, CLICK HERE. Also visit Kid Fun, Fitness & Sports, Local Events, Local Buzz and Events Calendar for even more things to do!

Monday
Jun292015

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 June 2015, the following businesses operate at The Collection:

Stores and other businesses include Century Theaters, REI, Target, Whole Foods Market, H&M, ULTA, 24-Hour Fitness, Bank of America, California Welcome Center, Charming Charlie, Color Me Mine, Massage Envy Spa, Sleep Number, Soma Intimates, Republic of Couture, Windsor, Painted Cabernet, White House Black Market, Polish NailBar, Jos. A. Bank, European Wax, Francesca's, Active Ride Shop, Lane Bryant, GAP, ANGL, It'Sugar and Chico's.

Levity Live Comedy & Dinner Theater is coming to the collecting in late 2015.

The Container Store is coming on November 14, 2015.

Restaurants include Famous Dave's, 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 and Yard House. Sabra Fish Grill and EMC Seafood are coming soon.

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.

For a map of The Collection, click here. 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

Saturday
May302015

Boney Mountain Trail to Hidden Valley Overlook, Danielson Monument and Waterfall

At Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa in Newbury Park is a nice assortment of trails that reward hikers with beautiful views and peaceful surroundings.  Find your way to the Satwiwa Native American Culture Center and from there walk up Big Sycamore Canyon Road where you'll reach a fork in the road. If you go straight you'll be taking Big Sycamore Canyon road about 6-7 miles down to Sycamore Canyon Campground and Sycamore Cove Beach. The road is paved for about 3 miles until it intersects the Backbone Trail, at which point it is dirt trails to PCH.

Benches at the top of Big Sycamore Canyon Road.Views from the benches looking down Big Sycamore Canyon. Photo taken a few months before the Springs Fire of 2013.

View of Big Sycamore Canyon after the Springs Fire of 2013. Looking forward to the day that this area is green again!

Getting back to the benches at the top of Sycamore Canyon, looking off to the east you'll find the Boney Mountain Trail sign that takes you towards the Hidden Valley Overlook, Waterfall and Danielson Monument, a .4 mile, 1 mile and 2.2 mile one way hike, respectively.

Boney Mountain Trail sign in Rancho Sierra Vista post-Springs fire 5/5/13.

So take the trail to the fork in the road. A sharp left takes you directly back to the Satwiwa Center, a "normal" left takes you on a trail towards Wendy Drive and/or back to the Satwiwa Center in a loop, and a right hand takes you up the hill towards the destinations mentioned above.

A short walk up gets you to yet another bench that overlooks Sycamore Canyon from another angle. This is called the Sycamore Canyon Overlook.

I've seen people enjoying the canyon views from this bench in the morning. This photo was taken before the Springs Fire of 2013.

Bench at Sycamore Canyon Overlook on 5/14/13.

The rocky trail from there takes you to a fork, where you can either veer left to the Hidden Valley Overlook trail or right to the Danielson Monument and Waterfall, as well as the Old Boney Trail.

The Hidden Valley Overlook trail is rocky and a bit challenging and gets you some nice views of Dos Vientos off towards Camarillo. It ends with a nice "overlook" of Hidden Valley.

Endpoint of the Hidden Valley Overlook trail gets you, but of course, a peak into Hidden Valley. This photo was taken in April 2014, when it was actually nice a green back there!

Off to the right, a jaunt down the hill gets you to a sign that tells you you're getting close the waterfall.

There's a stream crossing that most of the year is easy to get across as there's not a lot of water in there, although in particularly rainy winters it can get more challenging in the winter/spring.

Mostly mud in the stream crossing that gets you to the Danielson Monument in mid-February 2013, but some years there's more water in there. (More recently, this has been completely dry.)So after you cross the stream, you're off on a mostly narrow, single-track trail. Watch out for poison oak on the sides. It is there in the moist areas. I run up there with shorts and do my best not to touch the growth. You're much safer wearing long pants. Just be aware. The next juncture, in the trail, you go straight to the waterfall, or veer left up to the Danielson Monument.

We've been to the waterfall when it had a lot of water flowing in it. This year (2013) there's barely a trickle. More recently (2015) it is pretty much completely dry.So if you take sharp right hand turn, you're on your way to the Danielson Monument (a tribute to Richard K. Danielson, who lived on land in this area for 32 years with his family, until it was sold to the National Park Service in 1980). Awesome views from several vantage points as you head up the trail. A bit of a climb. Be prepared! Check out other photos of the monument HERE and larger pics HERE.

Danielson Monument

About 2/3rds of the way from the bottom of the canyon to the Danielson Monument, you can veer off to the Old Boney Trail, an interesting, mostly single track trail that has great views of Boney and intersects with the Fossil Trail.

Here's the sign at the juncture of the Danielson Road trail and the Old Boney Trail turnoff, about .3 mile away from the Danielson Monument.

Friday
May292015

Ojai Valley Trail 

The Ojai Valley Trail is a 9 to 10 mile trail that parallels Highway 33 from Foster Park on the outskirts of west Ventura, to Soule Park in Ojai. One side of the trail is paved for bicyclists, walkers, joggers and people exercising their pets. Post-and-rail wood fence separates the paved path from a dirt bridle path for horseback riders. Sections wind through wooded areas and past riverbeds. While most of the path is offset from Highway 33 (the main thoroughfare in Ojai), it does have a number of street crossings. If staying in Ojai and you run or bike, you will no doubt cross paths with this path!

Ojai Valley Trail near Foster Park

Friday
May292015

Ventura River Trail

The Ventura River Trail is a 6.3 mile asphalt pedestrian and bike path that follows the old Southern Pacific Railroad right-of-way from Main Street in Ventura to Foster Park inland towards Ojai. The path, originally opened in 1999, connects the Ojai Valley Trail to the Omer Rains Trail along the beachfront for 17 miles of great bicycling. The trail is open dawn to dusk.

Much of the Ventura River Trail parallels Ojai Freeway 33 and as such is also referred to as the Ojai Valley Trail Extension. Here are the various access points from south to north:

OK, so now for some commentary. This is not exactly the most exciting bike path in the world. You are paralleling Highway 33 and kind of off the beaten path in an industrial area, but it is also peaceful. Also, there are several stops you need to make as you cross streets, so your kids (and you) do need to be aware of that. You won't find an ocean view on this path.  But...it is never crowded, quite flat and a great way to get out on the bikes away, for the most part, from automobiles.

One of the more interesting, albeit somewhat creepy scenes along the path is this dormant USA Petroleum Refinery that was closed in 1984 after operating less than 10 years.  A bit of an eyesore this 96 acre, barbed wire fence enclosed section on the north end of the trail is. In the past there have been homeless encampments in the vicinity, but I've never seen them.

What I like to do is park in the free city parking lot near the Omer Rains Trail at the corner of W. Main St and Peking St, then take Main St a block east to N. Olive St, turn left (north) to Rex St. Take a left on Rex to the bike path entrance.

Friday
May292015

Cheeseboro/Palo Comado Canyons in Agoura Hills

Cheeseboro and Palo Comado Canyons include 4,000 acres in the northernmost section of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, in the Simi Hills. Stroll to Sulphur Springs or hike to the top of Simi Peak for panoramic views of Oak Park, Agoura Hills and Simi Valley. The Chumash lived in these canyons for thousands of years. Many trails within the canyons may have originated with the Chumash and then were expanded by the ranchers who followed.

Cheeseboro Canyon has some of the best cycling and running trails in the area. The lower trailhead is accessed from Cheseboro Road and there is plenty of parking. (On a side note, no one has been able to explain to me why Cheseboro Road is spelled differently than Cheeseboro Canyon.)

Cheeseboro Canyon Trail (CCT) is a 4.6 mile, fairly easygoing main artery into the park, whereas the 4.4 mile Palo Comado Canyon Trail, which largely parallels the CCT, is much more challenging. The Cheeseboro Ridge Trail also parallels the CCT and seems to be favored by cyclists with its long, rolling hills, though distance runners also will enjoy this trail.  Take CCT up through Sulphur Springs and you'll be running through a small (usually) stream bed and a brief rotten egg smell. Then soon the trail becomes more desert-like as you make your way up to the Sheep Corral Trail and the Shepherds' Flat area. It is really beautiful up there though it can get pretty hot, so carry some water!

While there are plenty of steep hills in this area, this is also a great place for strollers, as many of the trails are quite wide and flat.

The only bathroom that I'm aware of in these trails is at the Cheseboro Road trailhead and is not particularly pleasurable to use...just a heads up.

Visit www.nps.gov/samo/planyourvisit/placestogo.htm to learn more and to access a nice pdf trail map. The trailhead is located at 5792 Cheseboro Road. Contact the visitor center at 805.370.2301. Dogs are allowed but must be on a leash at all times.

Saturday
May232015

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. The park 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, picnicing, 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.

On a personal note, I love this place. It is beautiful and there and there are roughly 3 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. The park has 62 campsites and 4 RV sites. Visit www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=614 for more information.

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

Thursday
May142015

Over 150 Movie Theater Screens Around Ventura County

Here's a handy list of 18 movie theaters with over 150 screens throughout Ventura County and  adjacent areas. Click the links for theater websites and/or showtimes.


Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, Agoura

Regency Janss Marketplace 9, 255 North Moorpark Road, Thousand Oaks (805.374.9656). This Regency theater offers up birthday party packages ranging from $20 to $25 per child. Packages include movie, party room for an hour, lunch or snack and arcade tokens. CLICK HERE for more information.

Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas at The Promenade at Westlake (100 Promenade Way, Westlake Village) opened in September 2012 (8 screens)

Muvico Thousand Oaks 14, 166 West Hillcrest Drive. Muvico was purchased by Carmike Cinemas in November 2013 but continues to operate as Muvico. Tickets available at www.carmike.com/ShowTimes/Theater/320 or call 805.494.4702.

Regency Agoura Hills 8, 29045 Agoura Road, Agoura Hills (818.707.9966)

Regency Westlake Village Twin, 4711 Lakeview Canyon Road, Westlake Village (818.889.8061)

Camarillo/Oxnard/Ventura

Century Downtown 10, 555 East Main Street, Ventura (800.326.3264)

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
May132015

City of Ventura Community Programs and Classes

The City of Ventura publishes a guide to city news, services, community events, classes and activities in January, May and October each year. Visit www.cityofventura.net/resident_resources/myventura to download electronic copies of this guide or visit www.ci.ventura.ca.us/erecreation to sign up for classes online. Or call 805.658.4726.

Wednesday
May132015

City of Calabasas Community Programs

The City of Calabasas offers a wide variety of community classes and programs year-round.  Includes aquatics, senior programs, sports, camps, mommy and me programs, tot classes, adult programs, workshops, etc.  Visit www.cityofcalabasas.com/recreation.html for more information and for winter and spring/summer and year-round schedules.

Saturday
May092015

Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles

The Griffith Observatory opened to the public in 1935 and is a Los Angeles icon. After 67 years of operation, it was closed for renovation in 2002 and reopened in Fall 2006. The original art deco 27,000 sq ft building built during the Great Depression was expanded by an additional 40,000 sq ft of public space. 

The Observatory is located on the southern slope of Mount Hollywood, 1,134 feet above sea level, with expansive views of the surrounding city, mountains and Hollywood sign. Other than the spectacular views outside, the inside of the Observatory features the 300 seat Samuel Oschlin Planetarium, 200 seat Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon, public telescopes, dozens of exhibits and a cafe/gift shop.

Parking and entrance into the Observatory are FREE! Even if you're not into astronomy, you'll love the scenic views up there. It is located at 2800 East Observatory Road, Los Angeles. More information at www.griffithobservatory.org or call 213.473.0800.

 

The Observatory is owned and staffed by the City of Los Angeles Dept of Recreation and Parks. As of May 2015, hours are noon to 10pm Tuesday to Friday and 10am to 10pm Saturday/Sunday. Closed Mondays. Free public telescopes are available each evening the Observatory is open and skies are clear.

Saturday
May092015

Hill Canyon, Hawk Canyon and Western Plateau Trails in Thousand Oaks

In 2012, the Conejo Canyons bridge was constructed in Thousand Oaks, opening up more trails to explore in the Western Plateau area of Thousand Oaks, which ties into Wildwood Park. Check the map at www.cosf.org/website/html/western-plateau-hikes.html for trail maps.

The Hill Canyon bridge that takes you to all the action!Access the Conejo Canyons bridge to get to the Hill Canyon Trail, a flat path that after a mile takes you to an intersection where you can go straight ahead to the Hawk Canyon Trail, take a right turn to the Western Plateau Trail or veer left to make your way to the Arroyo Conejo Trail that takes you about 2 1/2 miles to the Rancho Conejo Playfields in Newbury Park.

The Hill Canyon Trail is as flat as they come. I see bikers, hikers and runner back here.

This creek parallels the Hill Canyon Trail

One path I enjoy is the Hill Canyon Trail to the Hawk Canyon Trail, which veers right towards the Western Plateau Trail, which loops back to Hill Canyon Trail.  Do take a look at a map first as signs are not always at trail junctures (the sign above is clearly an exception!). You can actually take the Hawk Canyon Trail as well as Western Plateau Trail to Newbury Park.

Western Plateau Trail

When you reach the Western Plateau Trail, if you go just a bit further north/northeast, you'll be rewarded with great views down the Conejo Grade towards Camarillo and the Oxnard Plain.

Views from the Western Plateau Trail on a bit of an overcast June morning.Access the Conejo Canyons bridge via Santa Rosa Road. Coming from Thousand Oaks, take Moorpark Road north down the Norwegian Grade, where it intersects with Santa Rosa Road. Continue about 3.7 miles on Santa Rosa Road and make a left on Hill Canyon Road. Drive down Hill Canyon Road and you will see a large, flat dirt parking area on the right, adjacent to Santa Rosa Valley Regional Park.

Friday
May082015

Western Plateau Trail Loop Hike From Newbury Park

If you're looking for a trail a bit off the beaten path, check out the Western Plateau Loop from Conejo Center Drive in Newbury Park.

The trailhead for this hike is adjacent to the City of Thousand Oaks Household Hazardous Waste Facility at 2010 Conejo Center Drive, Newbury Park. You can actually park in the dirt lot next to the trailhead and head on your way.

The trailhead on Conejo Center Drive. It is mostly downhill over the first half mile or so of this 5 mile round-trip hike until you get to the Hawk Canyon Trail turnoff. You can either go straight from here and do a clockwise loop via the Western Plateau Trail or you can turn right on Hawk Canyon, which is a direct route to the Conejo Canyons Bridge.

Hawk Canyon Trail is a fairly narrow, mostly single-track trail.The Hawk Canyon Trail is a fun, narrow trail surrounding by trees and other vegetatation, like you're in the middle of nowhere. There's an old car in a crevice as you approach the Conejo Canyons towards Santa Rosa Valley.

Odd to see this old car out in the middle of nowhere. Kind of a steep embankment so it would be somewhat challenging reaching this car.Bring a snack and sit at a picnic table in the middle of what feels to be nowhere. Then either head back the way you came or find your way to the Western Plateau Trail and loop back counter-clockwise back towards where you parked.

See the Conejo Open Space Foundation's map of this trail at www.cosf.org/website/html/western-plateau-hikes.html.

Wednesday
May062015

The Dinner Detective Interactive Murder Mystery Dinner Show in Ventura County

The Dinner Detective® Murder Mystery Dinner Show was voted 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 “Best Dinner Show” in Los Angeles and Denver. Having worked in the professional theater, TV and film industries for over 20 years, our collection of actors and producers have mastered the art of improvisational theatrical role playing and have ultimately created the perfect evening of entertainment for you and your guests. By hiding our actors among the customers and leaving everyone to suspect who is part of the show and who is not, our events are proven second to none.

The show is currently hosted at the Pierpont Inn in Ventura.

Every murder mystery admission ticket includes: An interrogation reception, hors d’oeuvres, fresh rolls and butter, salad, your choice of entree, dessert, wait staff gratuity for food service (beverage service and performer gratuity not included), and a tantalizing prize package for the Top Sleuth who comes closest to solving the crime.  There is also an open bar.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.thedinnerdetective.com/sites/ventura or call 888.963.9123. Other locations can be accessed on the main site at www.thedinnerdetective.com.

On Saturday nights, check-in begins at 6:15 PM, and the show begins promptly at 6:30 PM. On Friday nights, check-in begins at 7:15 PM, and the show begins promptly at 7:30 PM.  Special shows may start earlier or later; if you have any questions, please contact our box office at 888-963-9123.

Tuesday
May052015

Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens in Santa Barbara

Located at 1500 Santa Barbara Street, adjacent to Alameda Park, Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens is a beautiful botanic garden with over 75 tree and plant species. There's also a large koi pond with ducks and turtles floating around, picnic area, gazebo and walking paths. Gorgeous park quite suitable for weddings.

Formerly at this spot was the El Mirasol Hotel, which was purchased and donated to the city in 1975. An anonymous donor provided the funds to acquire the property, which was later was revealed at Alice Keck Park (after she passed away), of William Myron Keck, the founder of Superior Oil Company (now part of ExxonMobil).

Visit the City of Santa Barbara website at www.santabarbaraca.gov/gov/depts/parksrec/parks/features/horticulture/alicekeck.asp or call 805.564.5418 to make reservations.

Lots of turtles in the pond!

Monday
May042015

Ventura County Area Parks

Peppertree Park in Newbury ParkThere are hundreds of parks in Ventura County and surrounding areas. DOZENS of them are described in the Kid Fun section of CVG with pics and videos for you to check out!

But here is a compilation with links to all the various parks that we could track down in the area.

Agoura Hills: ci.agoura-hills.ca.us/government/departments/community-services-parks-recreation/parks-facilities/parks (6 parks)

Calabasas: www.cityofcalabasas.com/recreation.html (8 parks)

Camarillo: www.pvrpd.org/parks/default.asp (27 active and passive use parks)

Malibu: www.ci.malibu.ca.us/Facilities (6 parks)

Moorpark: www.moorparkca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/94 (17 parks)

Ojai: www.ci.ojai.ca.us/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC={12C5B166-5B7C-48DF-AC8A-01D021A0FF7C} (7 parks)

Oxnard: www.oxnardrec.org/17/3/960/ (58 parks)

Port Hueneme: www.ci.port-hueneme.ca.us/index.aspx?nid=553 (5 parks)

Santa Paula: www.ci.santa-paula.ca.us/CommunityServices.htm (12 parks)

Simi Valley/Oak Park: www.rsrpd.org/park/parkaz.html (58 parks)

Conejo Valley (Thousand Oaks/Newbury Park/Westlake Village) crpd.org/parkfac/parklisting.asp (Over 60)

Thousand Oaks Community Park

Ventura: www.cityofventura.net/sub-section/parks-urban-forestry (47 parks)

Westlake Village: www.wlv.org/city_services/parks-rec.asp (6 parks)