Murphy Auto Museum - Oxnard

UPDATE: The museum will be moving to a new location TBA in August 2019. The last day to visit the current museum is August 18th.

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See over 60 vintage and classic cars at the Murphy Auto Museum at 2230 Statham Blvd in Oxnard. The 30,000 sq ft museum was founded in 2000 by retired neurosurgeon Dan Murphy, who formed a non-profit museum for the purpose of displaying automotive history here in Ventura County. In 2014, the museum’s ownership and administration was transferred to Ventura County business owner and car enthusiast, David Neel.

The cars in the "permanent" collection are rotated periodically. There are also temporary exhibitsbrought into the museum over the course of year, such as vintage trailers, vintage pickups and station wagons, vintage corvettes, vintage scooters and more.

There is also vintage clothing on display from each decade, going back to the 1890s. Men's and women's fashons are displayed on mannequins placed adjacent to cars of the same era.  There is also a HUGE 1,800 foot model railroad on display at the museum, courtesy of the Gold Coast Modular Railroad Club.  This is one of the largest model railroad displays I've ever seen.

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The suggested donation to the museum is $10 for adults. Children 12 and under are free. Active military with ID or in uniform are also free.  Open year-round on Saturdays/Sundays from 10am to 4pm. April through December, the museum is also open on Fridays from 10am to 4pm.

For more information visit www.murphyautomuseum.org or call 805.487.4333.

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

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Founded in 1916, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History makes for a great excursion to Santa Barbara with the kids.  There are eight exhibit halls with permanent exhibits featuring birds, mammals, insects, ocean life, a planetarium and more. Many of the exhibits are "hands on" with buttons and interactive features that kids particularly enjoy. There are an additional two halls for changing exhibits.

You and your kids can roam the nature paths and visit the well stocked gift shop, full of educational items. I can vouch for the fascination kids (and adults) have at this Museum. It is a very comfortable museum that in my experience is rarely is crowded. The "Museum Backyard" area and gardens has a picnic area, stream and other enjoyable features. The pond and stream often have tadpoles that captivate the kids.

The museum is open 7 days a week and is closed certain holidays. As of July 2019, admission is $15 for adults, $12 for 65+ seniors and teens (13-17) and $9 for children 2 to 12 years of age. Become a Museum member and you don't have to pay for admission. The Museum also offers birthday parties for members. Tax-deductible family memberships are currently $99/year.

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is located at 2559 Puesta del Sol Road, Santa Barbara. More information at www.sbnature.org or 805.682.4711.

Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center at Channel Islands National Park

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The Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center at Channel Islands National Park features a bookstore, a display of marine aquatic life, including a tidepool, and exhibits featuring the unique character of each park island. Visitors also can enjoy the 25-minute park movie, “A Treasure in the Sea,” shown throughout the day in the auditorium.

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The visitor center is located at 1901 Spinnaker Drive in Ventura at the end of Spinnaker Drive, past Ventura Harbor Village and across the street from the kid-friendly Harbor Cove Beach. It is open 8:30 am until 5 pm daily. The visitor center is closed on Thanksgiving and December 25th.

On weekends and holidays at 11 am and 3 pm rangers offer a variety of free public programs about the resources of the park. Learn more on the National Park Service website at www.nps.gov/chis/planyourvisit/visitorcenters.htm or call 805.658.5730.

Who is Robert J. Lagomarsino, you ask. He was born in September 1926 in Ventura County. He served in the California Senate from 1961 to 1974 and served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1974 until 1992. He is also a former mayor of Ojai. from 1958 to 1961. As a State Senator, he introduced the first legislation authorizing a public university for Ventura County.

Chumash Indian Museum / Oakbrook Regional Park

NOTE: Oakbrook Regional 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. Trails are now back open to the public. Funds are being raised and volunteers are being sought at www.gofundme.com/chumash-indian-museum-wildfire-fund.

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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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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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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.

Mullin Automotive Museum

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Opened in Spring 2010 and located at 1421 Emerson Avenue in Oxnard, the Mullin Automotive Museum is a 47,000 square foot facility that normally** displays a collection of over 50 French Art Deco cars from the 1930s and 1940s. Models from Bugatti, Delage, Delahaye, Hispano Suiza, Talbot-Lago and Voisin. Peter W. Mullin is the founder/owner of the Museum and the collection.

The Museum is open to the public only 1-2 days per month to the public on Saturdays. It is also open more frequently for semi-private tours.. Click here for more RSVP information.

Visit www.mullinautomotivemuseum.com or call 805.385.5400 to learn more and to purchase tickets. As of March 2019, admission is $16 for adults, $14 for 65+ and students 13-17, $10 for ages 3 through 11 and free for 2 and under. Active Military FREE with ID. Private visits also available for $40 per person ($36 for 65+).

This museum and its contents are STUNNING to say the least!! More photos at THIS LINK.

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Leonis Adobe Museum - Calabasas

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The Leonis Adobe Museum in Calabasas was the first designated Los Angeles historic monument on August 6, 1962.  The Leonis Adobe was the home of Miguel Leonis, known as the King of Calabasas, who owned over 10,000 acres of land. The museum features his authentically furnished two-story Monterey-style adobe with original buildings, period livestock, gardens and a vineyard. The house was originally built in 1844, six years before Los Angeles was incorporated and California became a state.

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Also on the property is the Plummer House, the oldest house in Hollywood and in 1935 was named California Historical Landmark No. 160.  The house fell into disrepair and became dilapidated before the salvageable front portion of the house was moved to the Leonis Adobe site in 1983 and subsequently  repaired, restored and refurbished.  It now serves as the onsite Visitor Center and gift shop.

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The Leonis Adobe, located at 23537 Calabasas Road in Calabasas (near the Sagebrush Cantina) is open Friday and Sunday from 1pm to 4pm and 10am to 4pm on Saturdays. Visit www.leonisadobemuseum.org or call 818.222.6511 for more information. Suggested donations are $4 for adults, $3 for seniors and $1 for children under age 12.

On a personal note, I've been to the Leonis Adobe and it is an amazingly large piece of property in the heart of old town Calabasas, paralleling, yet nearly invisible to, the 101 freeway.  In addition to the historic buildings, the site has an impressive assortment of vintage wagons and farm equipment. There's also a well manicured garden area and lots of farm animals to see and feed, including some longhorn bulls, sheep, goats, chickens and a horse. Bring quarters to buy food. Plus they have many activities for the kids year-round.

Skateboarding Hall of Fame and Museum in Simi Valley

The Skateboarding Hall of Fame and Museum opened at the Simi Valley Town Center in December 2018. It is located directly across from the Vans store in the mall in a space of over 10,000 square feet.

The International Skateboarding Hall of Fame is a 501(c)(3) non-profit founded by Todd Huber. It was created to honor the passion, dedication and contributions to skateboarding history and culture by skateboarders and cultural icons through the decades.

The Museum displays hundreds of skateboards and other skating artifacts going back decades. There is also an art gallery, gift shop, theater/library (over 600 skating videos as well as skating magazines) and skate shop.

The Museum also has a mini skating ramp with a fun wall ride available to local youth for a fee.

Admission to the museum is free. Donations to the non-profit are always welcome. Hours are currently (January 2019) Thursday/Friday 2-9PM, Saturday 10AM-9PM and Sunday 11AM-7PM.

Visit www.skateboardinghalloffame.org for more information.

California Oil Museum in Santa Paula

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The California Oil Museum at 1001 E. Main Street, Santa Paula (corner of Main and 10th) is the birthplace of Union Oil Company (aka Unocal and more recently acquired by Chevron in 2005). The building was completed on October 17, 1890. The museum was established in 1950, and the building was restored to its original appearance for its centennial celebration in 1990. Click here for an early picture of the building. The building is also a California Historical Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The museum has one of the largest displays of vintage gas pumps in California. There is a turn of the century (20th century, that is) drilling rig, various displays, videos, working models and gas station memorabilia as well as rotating exhibits about science, technology and transportation as well as other more local exhibits on hand.

As of December 2018, admission is a suggested donation of $4. Open Wednesday to Sunday, 10 am to 4 pm.

More information at www.oilmuseum.net or 805.933.0076.

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Left side of California Oil Museum on 10th Street

Left side of California Oil Museum on 10th Street

Display in the rig building

Display in the rig building

Fillmore Historical Museum

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The Fillmore Historical Museum is located at 340 Main Street. Stroll through the Craftsman-style Hinckley home built in 1905 and filled with antique furniture, kitchen items, pump organ and Dr. Hinckley's dental office. Allow time to tour the 1919 Sespe Bunkhouse, a building full of Fillmore history and originally used as a dormitory by farm workers.

Other history on display includes orange and lemon industry history dating back to 1900, military, police and fire department memorabilia, Native American artifacts, Fillmore insectary, antique clothing and toys and more.

The Southern Pacific Railroad Depot, a functioning depot from 1887 to 1970 is also located on site, located adjacent to the Hinckley house. This Depot was designated Ventura County Historical Landmark #48, designated in May 1979. When the Southern Pacific Railroad finished its line between Ventura and Los Angeles in 1887, Fillmore, named after Southern Pacific's West Coast superintendent, Jerome A. Fillmore, was established at the only train stop in the Santa Clara Valley. The town of Fillmore was subsequently founded in 1888 and incorporated on July 10, 1914.

An original Barksdale post office from the late 1800s is also on the site.

As of May 2013, the Museum is open Tuesday to Friday from 9 am to 4pm and Saturdays 10am to 3pm. Donation is Family $10, Adults $4, Students $2 and Children under 5 years, free. Call 805.524.0948 to confirm hours. Visit www.fillmorehistoricalmuseum.org to learn more.

Santa Susana Depot Museum and Model Railroad in Simi Valley

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Visit a fully restored Southern Pacific Railroad depot that was built in 1903 with both freight and passenger trains rushing by at the Santa Susana Depot Museum and Model Railroad. The depot served passengers and farmers in Simi Valley for over 60 years, with a classic passenger waiting room featuring a pot-belly stove, the depot was also headquarters for local freight shipments.

The depot is a museum filled with hundreds of items having both railroad and local historical significance. The depot is owned and managed by the Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District, which took it over from the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1973. The depot was moved to its current location and after 10 years of neglect was restored to its current state by 1996. The depot was restored to what it looked like in 1938.

Also at the depot is the Santa Susana Model Railroad Club’s large operating HO scale model railroad. Located inside the depot's freight room, the layout of the railroad portrays Simi Valley during the mid 1950s. Trains run each weekend, with Sundays being the best day to see several trains operating simultaneously.

The depot is located on the grounds of Simi Valley’s beautiful Oak Knolls Park. For you rail fans, the depot is adjacent to the Union Pacific Railroad’s busy “Coast Line,” which is also utilized by both Amtrak and Metrolink passenger trains. You will standing in close proximity to passing trains, so get ready to wave!

The depot is located at 6503 Katherine Road in Simi Valley. For more information and a map to the depot/parking, visit www.santasusannadepot.org or call 805.581.3462.  The depot is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 pm to 4 pm.

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