There are thousands of things to do in and around Ventura County with or without the kids. Here are some of my family's favorites. For more options, visit the Kid Fun, Do Something and Local Events - Kids sections of CVG!
1. The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is a fun getaway up north because in addition to the permanent exhibits, there's usually a great temporary exhibit that is educational and fun, like the annual Butterflies Alive! display during the summer months. My kids love the outdoor "backyard" area of the museum, with its trails, rocks, stream, tadpoles and other fun activities. It is just a nice place to get out and explore.
2. Malibu beach areas along PCH, including Leo Carrillo and Malibu Lagoon State Beach are great places to check out the tidepools and play around. The Malibu Lagoon area is also close to the Malibu Pier, Malibu Country Mart and Legacy Park, which provides a variety of things to do in close proximity to one another.
3. As a reward for good behavior we frequent local frozen treateries (Is that a word?). There are over 80 places focused on selling ice cream, frozen yogurt, gelato and other frozen treats around Ventura County. One of my kids is a big Baskin Robbins fan, another is a Tutti Frutti connoisseur and both of them are raving Dippin Dots fans (there is a store in Ventura). Paciugo Gelato at The Oaks mall is also a fantastic place. But frankly, we love most all of the places on this list.
4. Golf N' Stuff, unmistakably adjacent to the 101 freeway off Victoria in Ventura, has a diverse assortment of fun activities and is open literally 365 days a year (yep, all holidays included). Though my 6 year old's temper is legendary on these mini golf courses, we still have a great time. And after he tosses his golf club into the pond, we blow off steam in the large arcade, knock into things in the bumper boats and cars and partake in other fun. And even in the heat of the summer, it stays cool here!
5. It's always fun to see a movie at a local movie theater with the kids, and here's a list of over 150 movie screens in 17 theaters around Ventura County. Not only is it a great way to beat the heat, but it's great for temporarily getting them to stop beating on each other! And you can't beat the experience of seeing a movie in a large movie theater. Always a treat that my kids love.
6. You can't go wrong with Conejo Creek Park North in Thousand Oaks because of many reasons...it is quite large and flat, making it an optimal place for riding bikes and scooters and playing on the grass, it has several decent play areas geared towards younger/older kids, the ponds and creek that run through the park are awesome and the ducks are quite entertaining and the park is adjacent to the awesome Thousand Oaks Library, Teen Center and Senior Center, linking it with so many other activities and things to do.
7. I am not ashamed to admit that I'm OK with going to Chuck E. Cheese's in Thousand Oaks and Ventura. The kids of course love CEC for the obvious...games, win tickets and cash them in for junk they'll never use. I get that. It's fun, loud and exciting in there. I don't mind so much because a) I can order a beer and a chicken sandwich and I'm pretty content, b) some of the games...skeeball, basketball, football tosss...I myself enjoy playing (hey, guess I'm just a kid at heart) and c) if I want to read the paper or mess around on my iPad, I can do so and not worry too much about the kids.
There you have it. Perhaps I will be following this up with another list soon...