The Oaks Mall in Thousand Oaks

The Oaks in Thousand Oaks is located between the 101 Freeway and Lynn Road at 350 West Hillcrest Avenue, running east to Wilbur Road. Originally constructed in 1978, the 1.3 million square foot shopping mall was renovated in 1993 and again in 2008. In total, there are over 170 stores and services at The Oaks.

Well known brands at The Oaks include Nordstrom, Macy’s, JCPenney, The Apple Store, Anthropologie, Pottery Barn, Williams Sonoma and J.Crew.

Restaurants include The Cheesecake Factory, STACKED Food Well Built, The Lazy Dog Café, Red Robin, Olive Garden, Urban Plates, Chipotle and PizzaRev as well as numerous options in the food court area.

The 2008 remodel brought a multi-level parking structure with over 1,300 parking spaces and digital signs that tell you how many spaces are available. There's a beautiful outdoor shops area on the east side of the mall that leads to AMC Thousand Oaks 14 and adjacent restaurants.

For more information, visit www.shoptheoaksmall.com or call 805.495.2032.

California ScienCenter - Exposition Park

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My kids and I visit California ScienCenter in Exposition Park from time to time, roughly a 1 hour drive from Thousand Oaks. It is worth the drive. The ScienCenter is built in the location where the first State Exposition Building that opened in 1912.  The redeveloped building is modern and beautiful, with several floors of scientific exhibits of interest to all ages, including Ecosystems, Creative World, World of Life, Air and Space and Science Court. Entrance to the museum is FREE, although donations are greatly appreciated.  Parking is $12 (as of December 2017).

The "World of Life" exhibit on the third floor is a perennial favorite in our family, where we get to see everything from brains and lungs to live cockroaches, termites and animals. There's also a kids' "Discovery Room" with additional fun activities for the younger one.

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If you have more time and energy on your trip to Exposition Park, visit the adjacent Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the California African American Museum as well as the Exposition Park Rose Garden (where they have 16,000 or so rose plants).

California ScienCenter is located at 700 State Drive at the corner of S. Figueroa and 39th Street in Exposition Park.  Visit www.californiasciencenter.org or call 323.SCIENCE (724.3623) for more information.

The Space Shuttle Endeavor went on a flyover trip to the West Coast atop a Boeing 747 on Friday, September 21, 2012. The Endeavor completed 25 successful space missions between its first mission on May 7, 1992 and its final mission in May 2012 to the International Space Station, now resides at the ScienCenter in the Samuel Oschin Pavilion. It is so popular that you must reserve a time slot to visit. There is a $2 convenience fee for reserving a spot at www.californiasciencecenter.org/GenInfo/PlanningYourVisit/Hours/endeavour/endeavour.php.

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NASA named California ScienCenter one of only three museums in the U.S. to permanently exhibit a retired space shuttle.  We have visited the Endeavor and the exhibit is extraordinarily impressive. Learn more about the Endeavor at www.californiasciencecenter.org/Exhibits/AirAndSpace/endeavour/Endeavour/Endeavour.php.

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Conejo Recreation & Park District - Thousand Oaks

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The Conejo Recreation and Park Districthas served the Conejo Valley since 1963 and covers 66 square miles with a population of over 140,000 people in Thousand Oaks, Newbury Park and the Ventura County portion of Westlake Village. 

The Recreation Division conducts over 3,000 organized recreation and leisure programs each year.  The Parks Division maintains over 50 parks, over 1,000 acres with a variety of recreation amenities, including tot-lots, lighted sports fields, picnic areas, and community centers.  Additionally, the Parks and Planning Division, through the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency (COSCA), maintains approximately 15,000 acres of open space and a 140-mile multi-use trail system including a disabled accessible trail segment on Oak Creek Canyon.

CRPD releases its Recreation Program Guide four times a year (Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall) and has hundreds if not thousands of activities for adults, seniors, kids and teens.

Visit the CRPD website at www.crpd.org or call 805.495.6471 for more information or to access community class schedules, park listings, facilities, sports and other information about local Conejo Valley events and activities. 

Conejo Recreation and Park District is located at 403 W. Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks

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Make Meaning in Thousand Oaks (Closed Feb 2016)

Make Meaning closed its doors on February 7, 2016.

Make Meaning opened at The Oaks Shopping Mall in February 2013. Located in the outdoor shops area of the mall, upper level, south side, first store outside of the mall, Make Meaning offers seven creative experiences to both kids and adults, including customized soap, candles, paper, ceramics, glass, jewelry and cake decorating. Walk in and start creating something unique. No admission or membership fees. Speciality classes and events are also available.

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This is quite a large store, open, light and airy, with an upbeat atmosphere. How do I know? Because we checked it out! My son painted a piggy bank he hand-selected and at the table next to us I admired a pretty neat looking customized candle and cake. Everyone was happy in there!

The staff are called Associate Creativity Enthusiasts (ACEs), there to help you through the process. And that they were. I was able to just walk in and they kind of took over with my son while enjoyed watching him in his creative efforts. And they took care of the prep and the mess.

For more information, visit www.makemeaning.com or call 805.582.1107.

My son's froggy piggy bank masterpiece in it final stages. Make Meaning glazes it and fires it, then you pick it up in 4 days.

My son's froggy piggy bank masterpiece in it final stages. Make Meaning glazes it and fires it, then you pick it up in 4 days.

Selection of supplies to individualize your cake!

Selection of supplies to individualize your cake!

Or customize your own soap. Quite a unique concept and very well done.

Or customize your own soap. Quite a unique concept and very well done.

City of Agoura Hills Community Programs and Activities

The City of Agoura Hills Community Services Department includes both parks maintenance and recreational classes and events. Toddlers to teens, adults and seniors all enjoy high quality recreation activities.  There are hundreds of programs, classes and events available in the quarterly catalog at ci.agoura-hills.ca.us. For more info call 818.597.7361.

Michaels Stores Classes in Ventura County

Michaels Stores is North America’s largest specialty retailer of arts, crafts, framing, floral, wall décor, and seasonal merchandise for the hobbyist and do-it-yourself home decorator. Michaels is one of the funnest stores to visit for arts, crafts, framing, floral, home décor, scrapbooking and much more.

Local area Michaels Stores are in Westlake Village at 5780 Lindero Canyon Road (818.707.0013), Camarillo at 351 Carmen Drive (805.388.5001) and Moorpark at 816 New Los Angeles Avenue (805.552.9140).

In addition to offering up tens of thousands of items for your arts and crafts needs, Michaels offers classes at very low prices! Classes cover a wide range of fun activities, including cake decorating, art painting, jewelry making, paper crafting, knit and crochet, kids' programs and more.

Check out Camarillo classes at classes.michaels.com/OnlineClasses/control/dateView?storeId=9525

Westlake Village classes at classes.michaels.com/OnlineClasses/control/dateView?storeId=9822

Moorpark classes at classes.michaels.com/OnlineClasses/control/dateView?storeId=3848

For more information, visit www.michaels.com.

Community Center Park in Camarillo

Community Center Park in Camarillo is home to the administrative offices of the Pleasant Valley Recreation and Park District, Community Center, Senior Center, classrooms and quite a nice park that is host to numerous community activities year-round, like the Easter egg hunt, Christmas parade, Earth Day, Halloween Carnival, etc!

The park is nearly 13 acres and plenty of parking. And, the playground has some REALLY nice, newer equipment! Check it out!

In addition, the park has some really nice, new exercise equipment adjacent to the playground area on the west side of the park! I've tried (in late March 2013) the equipment and it is some of the nicest "free" outdoor equpment I've been on! Let's just hope they are able to keep the equipment in such nice shape!

Community Center Park is located at 1605 E. Burnley Street in Camarillo. For more information, visit www.pvrpd.org/parks/active/community.asp or call 805.482.1996.

Santa Clara River Valley Railroad Historical Society's Railroad Visitor Center in Fillmore

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The Santa Clara River Valley Railroad Historical Society was established in 1993 to help preserve and restore the railroad corridor between Montalvo and Saugus. This corridor, known as the Southern Pacific Santa Paula Branch, is a unique and historical local community asset. Make sure to stop by the Railroad Visitor Center, located at 455 Main Street, Fillmore, on weekends between 9am and 1pm and check out historical artifacts, information and photographs, a large model train setup, gift shop, theater and more. We've been here several times and both kids and adults alike are mesmerized by the model train.

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More information at www.scrvrhs.com or call 805.524.2254.