Historic Dudley House Museum in Ventura

San Buenaventura Heritage, Inc. (SBH) is a non-profit educational and charitable organization founded in 1978 with a primary focus of preserving the Dudley House, an 1892 Victorian farm house, located at 197 N. Ashwood, Ventura. The Dudley House is one of 35 Ventura County properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

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The house is a living history museum reflecting the life of the Dudley family. The terraces and pergola for outdoor events have been installed on the north side side of the house, and the lavender garden with some 100 plants featuring over 20 varieties is on the south side of the house. The basement is used as a community room and visitor center with cooking facilities and is available for small events and receptions. Larger events can be held outside on the grounds.

The Dudley House is open for tours the first Sunday of the month from 1pm to 4pm from January to November. Visit dudleyhouse.webs.com or call 805.644.3286 for more information.  Admission is free but donations are accepted and appreciated.

Victorian Holiday Boutique 2019

The 25th Dudley House Victorian Holiday Boutique will be open from 10am to 6pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday starting the Friday after Thanksgiving. The 2019 dates are November 22-24, November 29 to December 1 and December 6-8. The House is beautifully decorated by dozens of crafters who will be selling their items.

Historic Recording Series

During open houses, pre-1930 recordings transferred to CDs are played. A new recording is played each month on the Victrola console in the parlor.

Old Time Radio Series

CDs of radio shows are performed in the radio console on the 2nd floor hallway.

Wildwood Park in Thousand Oaks

The main entrance into the 1,765 acre Wildwood Park is at the corner of Avenida de los Arboles and Big Sky Drive in Thousand Oaks. The Chumash Indians lived in Wildwood Park for nearly 8,000 years, until the early 19th century, when the Spanish colonized California. Eventually the park became owned by the Janss Corporation, which sold it to the Conejo Recreation and Park District in 1967.

Main trailhead accessible from the parking lot at Ave de los Arboles and Big Sky.

Main trailhead accessible from the parking lot at Ave de los Arboles and Big Sky.

Wildwood Park is an extremely popular hiking and cycling spot and CRPD frequently hosts nature hikes there. The park has 14 trails covering 17 miles, including two year-round waterfalls, Paradise Falls and Little Falls.  Wildwood is known for its spring wildflower displays from January to June.

The park hosted a number of movie/TV productions in the 1930s to the 1960s, including Spartacus, Wuthering Heights, Wagon Train, The Rifleman and Gunsmoke.

Call the CRPD at 805.495.2163 for more information about the park. But for lots of detailed information about Wildwood Park, including trail maps and pictures, visit the Conejo Open Space Foundation website at www.cosf.org/website/html/wildwood.html.

As far as facilities in the park, there are drinking fountains at the main parking lot as well as at the Teepee, at Paradise Falls and the two restroom areas in the park. One of the restrooms are located at Meadows Center, a small building located across the bridge that is adjacent to the short trail to the Indian Cave. CRPD often hosts short hikes from the main parking lot to Meadows Center for fun, games and s'mores.

Bridge over creek that connects Wildwood Canyon Trail to Meadows Center, which has restrooms and a drinking fountain.

Bridge over creek that connects Wildwood Canyon Trail to Meadows Center, which has restrooms and a drinking fountain.

The other restrooms are at the bottom of Wildwood Canyon. You can get there by taking the Tepee Trail roughly 1/2 mile to the bottom of the canyon, or alternatively from Paradise Falls about 1/4 mile down the Wildwood Canyon Trail. The Arroyo Conejo Creek runs down from Paradise Falls to here and is fun to explore (keeping in mind still that this is partially urban runoff and thus you don't want to play around in it too much).

Additional restrooms at the bottom of Wildwood Canyon.

Additional restrooms at the bottom of Wildwood Canyon.

Sign at Paradise Falls indicating this particular water is partially urban runoff and best not to swim in.

Sign at Paradise Falls indicating this particular water is partially urban runoff and best not to swim in.

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Ventura Pier

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The Ventura Pier was originally constructed in 1872 and is a favorite spot for local fishermen. The Pier is 1,600 feet long and underwent a $2.2 million renovation in 2000 that added an 80 foot octagon shaped extension, benches and more. The Pier can be accessed off of East Harbor Boulevard, close to the Crowne Plaza hotel off of California Street. Beach House Fish restaurant and a MadeWest Brewing Company taproom (2nd floor of Beach House) is located on the pier.

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On the west side of the pier is a playground area with some unique play equipment. My kids always enjoy it here because of the great combination of the beach, pier, playground, quick access to bike rentals and food.

The Ventura Wharf (Pier) was designated City of Ventura Historic Landmark #20 on March 29, 1976.

The former Eric Ericsson's (now Beach House Fish) next to the playground on the pier.

The former Eric Ericsson's (now Beach House Fish) next to the playground on the pier.

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Dog Parks In and Around Ventura County

Here's a compilation of parks in and around Ventura County as well as adjacent areas that have off-leash opportunities for your pooches. The days and times indicated below are subject to change; links to the local recreation and park districts have been provided below.

Thousand Oaks

Conejo Creek Dog Park at 1350 E. Avenida de las Flores is a 3 1/2 acre dog park with separate sections for large and small (30 lbs or less) dogs. Open daily 7 am to 8:30 pm; closed Thursdays 7-9 am and all day the 3rd Thursday of each month. www.crpd.org/parks-reservations/dog-parks.

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A bit brown at the Conejo Creek Dog Park due to the drought. But there are grassy sections too.

A bit brown at the Conejo Creek Dog Park due to the drought. But there are grassy sections too.

Additionally, Conejo Recreation and Park District opened three smaller off-leash area dog parks in 2015 at Estella Park, 300 Erbes Road, Thousand Oaks, Kimber Park, 3295 Bear Creek Road, Newbury Park and Walnut Grove Park, 400 Windtree Avenue, Thousand Oaks. These areas do not have grass. More details at www.crpd.org/parks-reservations/dog-parks.

Westlake Village

The 1.2 acre Westlake Village Dog Park opened to the public on July 21, 2018. The park features small and large dog areas, shade shelter with seating, pet wash stations and more. Located at the southwest corner of West Oak Crest Drive and Agoura Road. On street parking available. More info at www.wlv.org/420/Westlake-Village-Dog-Park.

Camarillo

The Friends of Camarillo Dog Parks is a volunteer organization that looks out for the needs of pooches and their owners in the Camarillo area. Learn more at www.camarillodogparks.com. They work with the Pleasant Valley Recreation and Park District to support dog parks in the city, which include:

Mission Oaks Park at 5501 Mission Oaks Boulevard has a designated off-leash area open the following time frames: Monday - Friday: 4pm-Dusk; Saturday - Sunday: Dawn-Dusk. Learn more at www.pvrpd.org/parks/park_list/mission_oaks_park.asp.

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Camarillo Grove Park at 6968 E. Camarillo Springs Road has a dedicated dog park that is open daily from 7am to dusk. The entire park is also an off-leash park Mon-Fri. On Sat/Sun, dogs are allowed off-leash only in the enclosed dog park area. You must pay to park here; $3/day weekdays, $5/day weekends and $55 for an annual permit. www.pvrpd.org/parks/park_list/camarillo_grove_park.asp.

The Springville Dog Park opened in September 2012 at 801 Via Zamora, Camarillo. Open 7 am to dusk daily; closed Fri mornings until 10:00 am for lawn maintenance.  www.pvrpd.org/parks/park_list/springville_park.asp

Simi Valley

The Simi Dog Park at 2151 Lost Canyons Drive is open daily from 7 am to dusk and is closed for maintenance on Thursdays from 7 am to 10 am. There's a separate area for large and small dogs. To get to the dog park, enter through Big Sky Park. www.rsrpd.org/simi_valley/parks/simi_dog_park.php

Oak Park

The Oak Canyon Dog Park is located towards the top of Oak Canyon Community Park, 5600 Hollytree Drive. Open 7 am to dusk daily; closed 7 am to 10 am Fridays for maintenance. There are areas for large and small dogs. www.rsrpd.org/oak_park/parks/oak_canyon_dog_park.php.

A view from above of the nicely appointed Oak Canyon Dog Park in Oak Park.

A view from above of the nicely appointed Oak Canyon Dog Park in Oak Park.

Ojai

The County of Ventura maintains the Mitchell Edelson Dog Park at Soule Park, 1301 Soule Park Road, Ojai. Open at 7:30 am daily and closes at 5 pm Nov-Feb, 6 pm Mar and Oct, 7:30 pm Apr, May, Sep and 8 pm Jun-Aug. Parking is $2 per vehicle on weekday; $4 on weekends/holidays. There are areas for larger dogs and dogs under 20 lbs. www.ventura.org/gsa/parks/mitchell-edelson-dog-park-at-soule-park

Oxnard

There is a designated dog park at College Park, 3250 South Rose Avenue, Oxnard. It is open 7 am to dusk daily. An additional dog park is at Campus Park at 5th and H Streets. Also open dawn to dusk daily.

Ventura

There is a non-gated off-leash dog park area at Arroyo Verde Park at the corner of Foothill and Day Roads in Ventura. It is available for off-leash use Tuesday through Sunday from 6 am to 9 am. 

There's a fenced in dog park at Camino Real Park at Dean Drive and Varsity Street in Ventura. Open every day from dawn to dusk.

More information at THIS LINK.

Calabasas

The Calabasas "Bark Park" is located at 4232 Las Virgenes Road. Open 5 am to 9 pm daily. www.cityofcalabasas.com/recreation/barkpark.html.

Moorpark

The City of Moorpark Dog Park is located within College View Park, 15400 Campus Park Drive. The entrance to the dog park is located at the south endpoint of College View Avenue on the southeast corner of the park. It is about 3/4 acre in size, with separate areas for small and large dogs. Open 7am to 5pm daily (7pm during Daylight Saving Time). Closed for maintenance Wednesdays from 7am to noon. There are age restrictions: kids under 6 years old not allowed in the dog park. Ages 6 to 15 are permitted, with adult supervision. More details at www.moorparkca.gov/Facilities/Facility/Details/Dog-Park-7.

View of the Calabasas Bark Park from the Bark Park Trail.

View of the Calabasas Bark Park from the Bark Park Trail.

Rancho Potrero Community Equestrian Center in Newbury Park

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Ride On Therapeutic Horsemanship has taken over management of the former Rocking K Horse Rentals and Boarding at 4790 Lynn Road in Newbury Park. The new facility is called the Rancho Potrero Community Equestrian Center.

The 20 acre facility adjacent to the Rancho Potrero Open Space is home to about 100 horses. And, beginning in October 2019, the facility will start offering guided trail rides again. Great fun here in backyard!

More information at ranchopotrero.org or call 805-491-1230.

Ventura Flea Market - Ventura County Fairgrounds

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The Ventura Flea Market features antiques, used and new merchandise sold by over 500 vendors and thousands of visitors. It is held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. six Sundays a year 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 September 2019.) Pets are not allowed. Event is held rain or shine! Parking is $5.

Upcoming Dates as of 9/27/19:

  • September 29, 2019

  • November 17, 2019

  • February 23, 2020

  • April 19, 2020

  • May 31, 2020

  • September 27, 2020

  • November 22, 2020

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

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Conejo Canyons Bridge and 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.

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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.

Sign on Santa Rosa Road at Hill Canyon (coming from Camarillo)

Sign on Santa Rosa Road at Hill Canyon (coming from Camarillo)

Parking area on Hill Canyon Road, as seen from the Canyon Overlook Trail leading to Lizard Rock

Parking area on Hill Canyon Road, as seen from the Canyon Overlook Trail leading to Lizard Rock

Park and you'll see the Conejo Canyons bridge just south, which takes you to the Hill Canyon Trail. Or go west to the steep Canyon Overlook Trail, a zig zagging hill that takes you to Lizard Rock in Wildwood Park. The hill is a fun challenge with the kids and you'll be rewarded with great panoramic views towards Boney Mountain, Camarillo, Ojai and Simi.

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Conejo Canyons Bridge that takes you to the Hill Canyon Trail

Conejo Canyons Bridge that takes you to the Hill Canyon Trail

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Conejo Canyons views

Conejo Canyons views

View towards Lizard Rock

View towards Lizard Rock

Camarillo Bike Path Next to Calleguas Creek

Looking to take the kids on a nice, flat bike path unimpeded by cars? A great choice is the roughly 2 mile Calleguas Creek bike path from Pleasant Valley Fields at (100 Village at the Park Drive in Camarillo off the Dawson 101 exit) up to the corner of Flynn and Upland Roads in Camarillo.

Look at how nice and flat this bike path adjacent to Calleguas Creek is!

Look at how nice and flat this bike path adjacent to Calleguas Creek is!

This is a nice, smooth and flat bike path that goes under several bridges, including the 101 freeway, so that you don't have to worry about cars! You can park your car at Pleasant Valley Fields and ride up and back down the path. This is a comfortable path to learn on as well as just enjoy.

At the north end of the path, you can detour off the path to Pitts Ranch Park at 1400 Flynn Road, just a short block northwest of the path, and enjoy lunch.

More information about Camarillo bike paths, lanes and routes at www.cityofcamarillo.org/Administrative%20Services/GIS/Bikepath.pdf

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Calleguas Creek

Calleguas Creek

San Buenaventura State Beach in Ventura

San Buenaventura State Beach is a two-mile stretch of beach from the Ventura Pier on the north down south past the homes of the Ventura Keys to just north of Marina Park on the south.

This beach features swimming, surfing and picnicking. There are two miles of sandy beach, sand dunes, picnic sites, a parking lot, restrooms and the Jolly Oyster. San Buenaventura features the largest day-use picnic area at a state beach in Southern California.

Looking to ride a bike but didn’t bring one? Rent one near the pier at Wheel Fun Rentals.

There’s a nice mile-long hike and bike trail along the beach stretching from the park entrance at San Pedro Street and Pierpoint Blvd to the Ventura Pier. This trail continues northward up the boardwalk past Surfers’ Point and beyond. CLICK HERE for more details on the Omer Rains Trail.

The 1,700-foot pier has a snack bar, Beach House Fish restaurant and bait shop. Wheel Fun Rentals is right near the pier if you need a bike. Visit www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=600 or call 805.585.1850. Campfires not allowed at this beach.

Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza

The Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza is one of the largest performing arts centers between Los Angeles and San Francisco at over 200,000 square feet.

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The City of Thousand Oaks Cultural Affairs Department oversees theatre productions for the Civic Arts Plaza, which encompasses two theatres – the 1,800-seat Fred Kavli Theatre and the 394-seat Janet and Ray Scherr Forum Theatre. The Plaza originally opened in 1994.

The performing arts center combines outstanding arts and entertainment with state-of-the-art technology and acoustics. Over 200,000 patrons and 35,000 children attend more than 350 performances annually. The Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza is funded through a unique public/private partnership between the City of Thousand Oaks and the Alliance for the Arts.

Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza

Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza

There is something for everyone at this venue....musicals, cabaret, Broadway musicals, dance, concerts, big bands, the New West Symphony, ballet, plays, well known speakers and events for the kids. In front of the plaza is the Mary and Richard Carpenter plaza park.

Next door to the Plaza is The Lakes of Thousand Oaks, a great place to grab a bite to eat, do some shopping and enjoy the lakes and playground on the property.

Between 1926 and 1968 this location housed the 170 acre Goebel's Lion Farm (later called Jungleland), where many of the famous wild animals in Hollywood pictures lived.  There were elephants, lions, tigers, hippos, you name it.  Leo, the MGM lion, Mr. Ed the Talking Horse, and Getta, Tarzan's chimpanzee all lived there at some point.  Jungleland was a major draw in its day that played a large role in making Thousand Oaks what it is today.

A photo of Jungleland after it closed in 1969 (Image courtesy of Conejo Through the Lens, Thousand Oaks Library)

A photo of Jungleland after it closed in 1969 (Image courtesy of Conejo Through the Lens, Thousand Oaks Library)

The Civic Arts Plaza is located at 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Boulevard (take the 101 East, left on Rancho exit, right on T.O. Blvd, and turn right into parking structure at Dallas Drive.  Visit www.civicartsplaza.com for more information or call 805.449.2787.

It takes good luck and timing for a novice photographer like me to capture the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza while driving south on the 101 freeway.

It takes good luck and timing for a novice photographer like me to capture the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza while driving south on the 101 freeway.

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Wheel Fun Rentals - Bike Rentals - Ventura

With a number of locations in Ventura and Santa Barbara, Wheel Fun Rentals provides an assortment of bicycles, quads, coupes, surreys, tag-alongs and other 2 to 4 wheel human powered vehicles for rides along the beach. They also offer a wide assortment of water vehicles...boats, surfboards, boogie boards, etc.

Nearby locations as of September 2019 are:

Oxnard- Embassy Suites Mandalay Beach Resort, 2101 Mandalay Beach Road (805.984.1994)

Oxnard - Channel Islands Marine Emporium Landing, 3600 S. Harbor Blvd (805.910.7257)

Oxnard - Residence Inn Oxnard River Ridge, 2101 W. Vineyard Avenue (805.278.2200)

Port Hueneme - Holiday Inn Express, 350 E. Port Hueneme Road (805.986.5353)

Ventura - Crowne Plaza, 450 E. Harbor Blvd (805.648.2100)

Ventura - Four Points by Sheraton, 1050 Schooner Drive (805.658.1212)

Ventura Pier 850 Harbor Blvd., Ventura (805.765.5795)

Ventura State Beach Picnic Area, 901 San Pedro, Ventura (805.650.7770)

Ventura Beach Marriott 2055 Harbor Blvd., Ventura (805.643.6000)

Santa Barbara - Hilton Beachfront Resort 633 East Cabrillo Blvd., Santa Barbara (805.966.2282)

Santa Barbara - Near Stearns Wharf 24 E. Mason Street (805.966.2282)

For more information visit www.wheelfunrentals.com or call 805.650.7770.

Leo Carrillo State Park in Malibu

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Leo Carrillo State Park has 1.5 miles of beach for swimming, surfing, windsurfing, surf fishing and beachcombing, as well as tide pools, coastal caves and reefs for exploring. Giant sycamores shade the main campgrounds (though the campground was damaged by the Woolsey Fire of November 2018). The park also features back-country hiking.

Among the many great features of Leo Carrillo, the most engaging activity for me and the kids is the tidepools. They are exposed twice daily at low tide and provide hours of engagement with sea stars, sea anemones, mussels, sea slugs and more.

Nature walks and campfire programs are offered and a small visitor center has interpretive displays.

Trails include Yellow Hill Fire Trail for panoramic views of the beach and the Channel Islands, and the steeper Nicholas Flat Trail, which brings you to a pond.

A view from the Leo Carrillo bluffs as the clouds start rolling in.

A view from the Leo Carrillo bluffs as the clouds start rolling in.

There are 135 family campsites at Leo Carrillo with restrooms and token-operated showers. Visit ReserveCalifornia.com and search for “Leo Carrillo SP” to make reservations.

The park was named after Leo Carrillo (1880-1961), actor, preservationist and conservationist. Leo Carrillo served on the California Beach and Parks commission for 18 years and was instrumental in the state's acquisition of the Hearst property at San Simeon. Leo's greatest fame came from his portrayal of Pancho, the sidekick to Duncan Renaldo's Cisco Kid, an early 1950's TV series.

Leo Carrillo State Park is located at 35000 W. Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. The park office phone is 310.457.8143. Visit www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=616 for more information.

Parking is currently $12 in the parking lot for the day (or $3 per hour)...but free on PCH if you can find a spot. There are plenty of parking spots available in the lot. After you park, you can walk in a tunnel underneath PCH to get to the beach.

The muraled tunnel that takes you underneath PCH to Leo Carrillo Beach.

The muraled tunnel that takes you underneath PCH to Leo Carrillo Beach.

Dogs on a leash are allowed in the Park's day use areas, campground and north beach (north of lifeguard tower 3). Dogs are not allowed on backcountry trails or south beach (south of lifeguard tower 3).

DIRECTIONS

The most direct way of getting to Leo Carrillo from the Conejo Valley is via Westlake Boulevard (CA-23) (aka Decker Canyon) south, which for some is a fun 14 mile drive, but for others, not so much. It is a bit winding, hilly, steep at many junctures. I take this route during daytime hours but coming home I'm not too keen on it. After getting to PCH, turn right and drive 2 1/2 miles to get to Leo Carrillo.

Another more popular, though less direct route is via Kanan Road. Either take Kanan Road straight down to PCH, turn right (west) on PCH about 9 miles to Leo Carrillo, or take Kanan to Encinal Canyon, which is about a 3 mile drive on PCH to Leo Carrillo.

Lastly, if you are in Newbury Park, you can take Potrero Road west to Las Posas down to PCH. In about 11 miles you will reach Leo Carrillo.