Santa Barbara Maritime Museum

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The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum is located at the Santa Barbara Waterfront Center and is a beautiful, high tech facility. The mission of the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum is to preserve and celebrate the maritime heritage of the California Coast and present it to the public in an interesting and exciting way.

Exhibits include boat models, surfing artifacts, historic Goleta cannons, interactive environmental displays, rescue and emergency equipment, fishing and diving technology, shipwreck displays, a children's gallery and more. 

My young boys particularly enjoyed 3 things at the museum - the interactive fishing game (combines a video game with an actual fishing pole as you attempt to catch a variety of virtual fish), the kids computer area and the U.S. Navy periscope exhibit. The periscope is interesting for all ages because it is an actual, working example from a submarine that they've set up so that you can check out 360 degree scenes around Santa Barbara.

The museum is bright, packed with numerous items and has a large video viewing room upstairs. Go check it out!

The museum is located at 113 Harbor Way Suite 190, Santa Barbara. Open 10 am to 5 pm daily, except Saturdays (9 am to 3 pm); closed Wednesdays.

Admission (as of May 2019) is $8 for adults (18 to 64), $5 for seniors 65+, kids 6 to 17 and students (with ID). Under age 6 is free of charge. Active military is free. 

More information at www.sbmm.org or call 805.962.8404.

Stagecoach Inn Museum - Newbury Park

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The Stagecoach Inn Museum is a replica of a Monterey style inn, the 1876 Grand Union Hotel. The complex also includes a Chumash Indian village, an early California adobe, a pioneer house and a few other buildings. There is a nice park adjoining the property along with nature trails and a stream that make this a nice place to bring the entire family.

Spanish Adobe structure at Stagecoach Inn is a replica of housing that would be seen in the Conejo Valley in the early 1800s.

Spanish Adobe structure at Stagecoach Inn is a replica of housing that would be seen in the Conejo Valley in the early 1800s.

The Stagecoach Inn Museum is State Historical Landmark No. 659.  The original structure was destroyed by fire in April 1970 but has been rebuilt and relocated.  It was originally located at the corner of what is now Ventu Park Road and the Highway 101, where a historical marker has been placed.

The Stagecoach Inn is located at 51 South Ventu Park Road, Newbury Park.  Call 805.498.9441 or visit www.stagecoachinnmuseum.com for more information. As of May 2019, it is open from 1 pm to 4 pm Wednesday to Sunday. Adults $5, 62+ and ages 13-21 $4, kids 5-12 $2.

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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 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 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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Rancho Sierra Vista / Satwiwa in Newbury Park

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We are fortunate to have such great trails and views of Boney Peak from in Newbury Park. At Wendy and Potrero is the Western edge of the Santa Monica Mountains where Sycamore Canyon cuts through Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa and Point Mugu State Park.

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Roughly a mile easy hike from Wendy/Potrero gets you to the Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center where you can explore some native Chumash items and educational information and chat with rangers. This is a nice little hike to take the kids on. There are restrooms and water at the center, which is open from 9 to 5 on weekends.

Learn more about hiking in Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa at THIS LINK.

You can get easier access to the center by parking in the adjacent National Park Service parking lot via Lynn Road to the access road at Via Goleta in Newbury Park.

Another mile and a half of hiking gets you to a small waterfall, which is fun to check out with the kids but somewhat more strenuous of a hike. Note that in recent years (2012-2015), the waterfall has barely flowed due to low rainfall.

Here is more information about the Boney Mountain Trail, leading up to Hidden Valley Overlook, the waterfall and Danielson Monument.

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Click here for a pdf file describing these and other local trails or go to the National Park Service website at www.nps.gov/samo.  Visit www.nps.gov/samo/planyourvisit/rsvsatwiwa.htm for a map and site information on the National Park Service website.

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Trailhead at the corner of Wendy Drive and Potrero Road in Newbury Park. Park on the dirt on the south side of Potrero or on the street on Wendy.

Malibu Creek State Park

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Malibu Creek State Park is accessible in Calabasas, at 1925 Las Virgenes Road, south of Mulholland. The park contains 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.

Dogs are not allowed in Malibu Creek State Park trails.

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Malibu Creek State Park 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.

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Parking for the day at Malibu Creek State Park is currently $12, or $3 per hour. You can also park at the corner of Mulholland and Las Virgenes and make your way into the park via the Grassland Trail.

The campground at Malibu Creek State Park has 62 campsites and 4 RV sites. Visit www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=614 for more information. It has been closed since June 2018 as a result of a fatal shooting. It was still closed as of 4/18/19 but the ranger I spoke to was hopeful that officials would re-open it next month.

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

Sapwi Bike Park in Thousand Oaks

Beginners’ pump track at Sapwi Trails Community Park.

Beginners’ pump track at Sapwi Trails Community Park.

The Sapwi Bike Park project is a partnership between the Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association (CORBA) and Conejo Recreation and Park District (CRPD). The park is a free, public recreational bicycle skills park facility located in the heart of beautiful Sapwi Trails Community Park in Thousand Oaks.

The park also features several miles of multi-use trails, natural habitat preservation, and other activities such as disc golf, cross-country running, and a non-motorized glider flying area.

The Sapwi Trails Bike Park offers a wide range of trails and features to challenge all ages and skill levels. In addition to a pump track, the park features progressive drop and jump lines – varying in difficulty from beginner to advanced. Outside of the dedicated bike park area, there are several trail side feature areas and a hard-surface beginner level pump track.

This 145 acre Sapwi Trails Community Park is located in the open space between Erbes Road (at Scenicpark Street) on the west and Westlake Boulevard east, with Avenida de los Arboles on the north. There are three parking lots off of Erbes, Arboles and Westlake Boulevard.

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ImmotionVR at The Oaks Shopping Mall in Thousand Oaks

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We were just passing through The Oaks mall recently when we looked up and saw ImmotionVR on the first floor near Aveda. ImmotionVR offers up virtual reality experiences for $8 per ride (5-8 minutes), $25 for 30 minutes and $40 for 60 minutes.

VR experiences offered include Delta Zero, Jinx Thriller, Legend of Lusca Adventure and more.

Hours are 10am to 9pm Mon to Sat and 11am to 7pm Sun. immotionvr.com

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 Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm and Sundays noon to 4pm. Closed Mondays, New Year's, 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 hangarevents.com for more information.

Also, take a vintage WWII airplane rides on the Marine Mitchell B-25 (BPJ), P-51 Mustang, BT-19, SNJ and Aircoupe. Details at www.cafsocal.com/warbird-ride-program.

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 newer (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.

Rocking K Horse Rentals - Newbury Park

Rocking K Horse Rentals, open 7 days a week, is located at 4790 West Lynn Road in Newbury Park. Horses are available for rent, guided tours, birthday parties, summer camps and more. 

Minimum age requirement is 6. Minimum height requirement is 44 inches tall. Maximum weight is 260 lbs. All children under 16 are required to wear protective headgear. Helmets are provided but you may also bring your own.

Visit www.rockingkhorserentals.com or call 805.499.9512 for more information.

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Color Me Mine Paint Your Own Ceramics Studio in Oxnard

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Are you looking for a creative way to spend quality time with the ones you love? Paint ceramics with your friends and family at Color Me Mine Paint Your Own Ceramics Studio located at The Collection at Riverpark, at 2710 Portico Way, Oxnard!

Color Me Mine is a ceramic painting studio where you drop by anytime and paint a pre-made bisque pieces. For the price of a studio fee and the item you choose to paint, you can paint all day using 60+ colors and supplies! They then glaze and fire your work in a kiln and your work of art will be available in 5 to 7 days.

In addition to a vast array of tableware, painters can select from a variety of vases, frames, jewelry boxes, figurines, and more!

More information at www.oxnard.colormemine.com or call 805.981.8631.

Sunset Hills Trail in Thousand Oaks

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The Sunset Hills Trail is easily accessible off of Erbes Road in Thousand Oaks, just 7/10ths of a mile north of Sunset Hills Boulevard, just past Fernleaf Court.

There's a triangular dirt parking lot on the east.

There's a triangular dirt parking lot on the east.

This is a pretty easy mile or so trail that takes you past the Bard Lake Reservoir. The reservoir is of course is fenced in but you'll be treated to its beauty as you make your way up. Lake Bard is owned by the Calleguas Water District for storage of up to 10,000 acre-feet (3.3 billion gallons) of water used to meet peak summer demand and emergency requirements.

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In fact, most all the way up this fairly gentle, hilly slope, you'll get some great panoramic views of the entire area, including the Conejo Valley, Simi Hills and looking west towards Camarillo/Oxnard. Continue east and you will reach the Woodridge Open Space in Thousand Oaks.

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The Sunset Hills Trail is maintained by the Conejo Open Space Foundation. More information at www.cosf.org/website/html/sunset-hills-trail.html.

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An additional, and perhaps more popular hike provides even better view of the Bard Reservoir. Take the additional loop in the shape of Maine (kind of) either clockwise or from the first juncture or counterclockwise after cresting the hill. If you go to the top of the hill take the trail on the left and continue onwards. You will see some steps and a bench to take in the views along the way.

map image courtesy of conejo open space foundation

map image courtesy of conejo open space foundation

After cresting the first hill from Erbes Road, find the loop trail on the left.

After cresting the first hill from Erbes Road, find the loop trail on the left.

A short walk to this bench that overlooks Bard Reservoir.

A short walk to this bench that overlooks Bard Reservoir.

Continue on the trail until it loops around and goes south., parallel to Highway 23

Continue on the trail until it loops around and goes south., parallel to Highway 23

Soon you will be back at the main trail, passing through this tree-tunneled section.

Soon you will be back at the main trail, passing through this tree-tunneled section.

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 these 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.

Upcoming dates: 4/28/19, 5/26/19, 6/23/19, 7/28/19, 8/25/19, 9/22/19, 10/27/19, 11/24/19, 12/22/19, 1/26/20.

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 smbasblog.com 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.

Chumash Indian Museum / Oakbrook Regional Park

Reported 11/11/18: Oakbrook Park sustained fire damage and the replica Chumash village was completely lost in the Woolsey Fire of 2018. However, a majority of the oak trees survived. Many trails are not accessible due to fire damage, however.

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Located in Lang Ranch at the top of Westlake Boulevard near Avenida de los Arboles at 3290 Lang Ranch Parkway, Thousand Oaks, the Chumash Interpretative Center / Chumash Indian Museum contains Chumash artifacts and historical items, nature walks and tours of the beautiful local Oakbrook Regional Park area.  The museum is open Saturdays from 10am to 4pm. Admission price is $5.00 for adults, $3.00 for seniors 65+ and $3.00 for children under 12. There is no charge to walk the trails in the park.

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The Chumash Indian Museum is located on a historical Chumash village site and contains a large collection of Chumash artifacts.

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Stroll around the 436 acre Oakbrook Regional Park, a Ventura County historical landmark #90 (designated in 1983). 

Contact the Center for more information about these and other events, field trips, weddings and birthday parties at www.chumashmuseum.org or 805.492.8076.

To protect the wildlife, dogs are not allowed here.

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