America's Teaching Zoo at Moorpark College

Moorpark Teaching Zoo Sign

Don't want to drive 45 minutes to the nearest zoo?  Well then, stop by local Moorpark College to visit the student-run America's Teaching Zoo

This five acre zoo housing nearly 200 exotic animals is part of the college's Exotic Animal Training and Management Program and is open each weekend from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (excluding holidays).  This interesting collection has included all sorts of animals, like alligators, geckos, monkeys, tigers, camels, snakes, ocelots and more. Animal show times at 12 pm and 2 pm. Animal demonstrations from 3:30-4 pm.

Galapagos Tortoise at America's Teaching Zoo

Galapagos Tortoise at America's Teaching Zoo

Students in the program are required to work most days and weekends.  For a truly unique wild animal experience, stop by and check it out. Don't expect anything fancy. This is a very low key place, but lots of fun as it is usually not very crowded and you can get really close to the animals. This huge Galapagos Tortoise is Clarence. Learn more about him here.

Admission (as of July 2019) $9 for adults and $7 for kids and seniors (checks and cash only). Under age 2 is free.

Visit or call 805.378.1441 for more information.

Another handsome occupant of the zoo - “Ghost,” the bald eagle.

Another handsome occupant of the zoo - “Ghost,” the bald eagle.

The Zoo is located at 7075 Campus Road in Moorpark.  Take the 101 North to the 23 North to the 118 East.  Exit Collins and turn left at the stop sign.  Go through 2 stoplights and turn right into the 2nd entrance past the stoplights.  Turn right in the parking lot and continue up the short hill to the right.

A zoo volunteer feeding the lion.

A zoo volunteer feeding the lion.

Excido Escape Room in Moorpark

Excido Escape Room at 6593 Collins Drive, Ste D 13, Moorpark is a live-action game where a group of up to 6 players are locked into a room and must find clues and solve a series of puzzles to find a way out. But don't worry, if you can't figure it out in 45 minutes, they do let you out of the room.

There are currently (June 2019) two room choices: "The Cabin,” “The Music Studio” and “Dr. Frankenstein’s Laboratory.”

Pricing is $30/person Thursday/Friday and $35/person Saturday/Sunday. Learn more at

Butera's Billiards in Moorpark

Butera's Billiards is located at 476 West Los Angeles Avenue in Moorpark, offering 10 nicely maintained pool tables, dartboards, trivia (Wed nights) and a nice selection of beers as well as snacks. A popular place for professionals, local dart leagues and the community.

Visit for more information or call 805.523.3088.

Happy Camp Canyon Regional Park in Moorpark

Happy Camp Canyon Regional Park in Moorpark is a 3,000 acre wilderness area with 12 1/2 miles of trails maintained by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. I've hiked back here from time to time and rarely see anyone in these quiet canyons!


There are a couple entry points to Happy Camp Canyon. The one shown above is adjacent to Rustic Canyon Golf Course, 15100 Happy Camp Canyon Road, Moorpark. The other, main entry point shown below is at 14105 Broadway Avenue, Moorpark. Park here and hike to the canyon entrance point.


If you're looking for relatively flat trails well suited for comfortable hiking, mountain biking and horse riding, Happy Camp Canyon is a good choice.

You can take the main Happy Camp Canyon Fire Road for quite a ways and either head back the way you came or take the more strenuous Middle Range Fire Road back and catch some great views. I veered north up a steep maintenance road to some power lines shown below.


Or try the 8 mile, strenuous, South Ridge Loop (via the Middle Ridge Fire Road).  Begin at the canyon gate; about 100 yards beyond, turn right and follow a dirt road up to the ridge top. Continue east along the Big Mountain Ridge to a junction, enjoying views on your right of Moorpark, Simi Valley, the Santa Monica Mountains, and all the way to Channel Islands. At the junction, turn north and drop down into Happy Camp Canyon. When you reach an old corral (and picnic area), turn west and walk back to the entrance gate on Happy Camp Canyon Fire Road (in the canyon bottom), approximately four miles. 

There is no cost for parking here. For more information, visit

NOTE: Because of sensitive habitat, dogs are not allowed past entrance gate.

It greens (and purples) up quite nicely after the winter rains in Happy Camp. March/April/May are the months to check it out.

It greens (and purples) up quite nicely after the winter rains in Happy Camp. March/April/May are the months to check it out.

Moorpark College Art Gallery


The Moorpark College Art Gallery is located in the Moorpark College Administration Building at 7075 Campus Road, Moorpark. The gallery is open Monday to Thursday from 9am to 9pm and Friday from 9am to noon.

Get there as follows: Take Collins Drive exit from the 118 north towards Moorpark College. Turn right at Campus Park Drive and park in Lot A. Parking is $2 (pay at machine). The Administration Building is located next to the President's Office.

Learn more about exhibit on display at the gallery at

Underwood Family Farm - Moorpark

For a great time and for fresh produce, visit Underwood Family Farm in Moorpark.  My family loves the annual Fall Harvest Festival in October.  There are rides and activities for the kids, music and entertainment, tractor rides, special events, tasty food, farm animals galore and lots and lots of pumpkins, squash, gourds and other Fall goodies.

This is also a great place for kids' birthday parties.  There are animal shows, tractor rides, pony rides, mini train ride, play area, hay stack, animal feeding and other really fun activities for the kids.  We love feeding carrots to the goats, donkeys, alpacas, emus and horses.  Feeding the chickens, birds, rabbits and other animals is also great fun.

There are other great events at Underwood.  From the day after Thanksgiving to a week before Christmas the farm is festively decorated and there are cool tractor rides with Santa and other goings on.  There's also usually a large Easter event geared towards the kids each year.  The Moorpark location is generally closed from late December through February during the winter season.

Underwood Farms Goat Area

Underwood Family Farm is located at 3370 Sunset Valley Road, Moorpark (805.529.3690). 

Hours are: 9:00 am - 6:00 pm (daylight savings time), 9:00 am - 5:00 pm (standard time), weather and farm conditions permitting. Admission is $3.00 per personMonday-Friday and $6.00 per person weekends and major holidays. Children under 2 are free. Visit for more information. 

Admission to the Fall Harvest Festival is $15 in 2015. A wide variety of activities are free at the Farm Center, while others, such as pony rides, train rides, petting corral, and others have individual prices. See details at

Underwood also has a location at 5696 Los Angeles Avenue, Somis (805.386.4660), which includes a farm market, animal center and pick your own berries.  The farm center in Somis is open every day, year round. Animals on hand at the Somis location include sheep, alpacas, chickens and pygmy goats. Stop by and picnic with them! There is no admission charge at this much smaller location.

Alpacas at the Somis Animal Center

Alpacas at the Somis Animal Center

High Street Arts Center - Moorpark


The High Street Arts Center at 45 E. High Street in Moorpark is a jewel of a theater located in old town Moorpark.  Owned by the city of Moorpark since 2005, the theater now provides high quality theatrical performances at a very reasonable price!  For more information about the theater and upcoming performances, visit or call 805.529.8700.

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

Westlake Village classes at

Moorpark classes at

For more information, visit

City of Moorpark Arroyo Vista Recreation Center Programs

The Arroyo Vista Recreation Center, located at 4550 Tierra Rejada Road in Moorpark, offers a variety of recreational programs for all ages. Activities include sports, library programs, seniors programs, community events, teen events, camps and more.  The facility can also be rented for private parties.

Visit or call 805.517.6300 for a quarterly program brochure or more information. Or download the recreation guide at