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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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

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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Janss Marketplace in Thousand Oaks

Janss Marketplace in Thousand Oaks

Janss Marketplace at 275 North Moorpark Road in Thousand Oaks (corner of Moorpark Road and Hillcrest) is an open air mall that has a large outdoor eating area, interactive water fountain, monthly Kids Fun Zone and outdoor kids play area.

Retailers and other businesses at Janss Marketplace include Gold's Gym, Ulta Beauty, Old Navy, Burlington Coat Factory, Nordstrom Rack and others.

Eateries include Buca di Beppo, Panera Bread, Karma Indian Cuisine, Crazy King Kong Sushi, Lucky's Dog House, Sunset Terrace Restaurant, Greco's New York Pizzeria, Cold Stone Creamery, Sharky's, The Dudes' Brewing Company, Matcha Tea and Boba and Janchi Korean BBQ.

And for entertainment, there’s Regal Cinemas, Dojoboom Extreme Sports, Dave & Buster’s and the Conejo Valley Art Museum.

COMING SOON! Aldi and California Fish Grill.

Visit www.janssmarketplace.net/coupons for special offers/coupons at Janss merchants.

For more information visit www.janssmarketplace.net or call 805.495.4662.

In 2009 the Janss Marketplace added a NEOS Wall, a fun interactive game right outside the Golds Gym.  This game is free. 

Some former occupants of Janss Marketplace: Toys R Us (summer 2018) Wachovia Banking Center (closed April 2011), Akio’s Sushi (Oct 2012; now Crazy King Kong Sushi), Sizzler/Fuddruckers/Hooters (currently vacant), TGI Fridays (2012)/DISH (Nov 2013) (now Janchi), Aaron Brothers (2018), Tuesday Morning (June 2012), Radio Shack, Marshalls, Mervyn’s, Mann 9 Theatres/Regency Theatres (now Regal Cinemas), Burger King/Salad Gourmet (2016)/Poke Tiki (Apr 2019). Subway (August 2019).

Conejo Creek Bike Path in Thousand Oaks

Conejo Creek Bike Path (Courtesy City of Thousand Oaks)

Conejo Creek Bike Path (Courtesy City of Thousand Oaks)

The Conejo Creek Bike Path is a 1.2 mile path in Thousand Oaks that connects Gainsborough Road on the south to Conejo Creek Park South (the playfields), Thousand Oaks Library and Thousand Oaks Teen Center.  This path was opened to the public in Spring 2011 and provides a nice, flat alternative to city streets as it goes under the 23 Freeway.

The paved path on Paige Lane ends at Janss Road across the street from the Library but you can cross at Janss Road at the crosswalk and from there get to a wide, fairly flat horse trail that takes you up to Avenida De Los Flores. I'd love if this path was longer.

The east end of Gainsborough Road has an access point to the Conejo Creek Bike Path

The east end of Gainsborough Road has an access point to the Conejo Creek Bike Path

Nice flat path adjacent to city streets and neighborhoods

Nice flat path adjacent to city streets and neighborhoods

The path takes you under the 23 Freeway

The path takes you under the 23 Freeway

The path ends at Janss Road, across from the Thousand Oaks Library Conejo Creek Park North.

The path ends at Janss Road, across from the Thousand Oaks Library Conejo Creek Park North.

The City of Thousand Oaks maintains approximately 80 miles of bikeways, including about 3 miles of bike paths, roughly 54 miles of bike lanes and another 20 miles or so of bike routes. The City takes bicycling very seriously...the City Council adopted a comprehensive Bicycle Facilities Master Plan in November 2010 to help prioritize future improvement projects around town.

Visit www.toaks.org/government/depts/public_works/streets/bicycle/home.asp for more information about City of Thousand Oaks bike routes, lanes and paths as well as a detailed map.

Santa Rosa Loop Hike in Wildwood Park

The Santa Rosa Loop Hike at Wildwood Park in Thousand Oaks is a 6 1/2 mile trek with moderately challenging uphills and downhills. You’ll be rewarded with beautiful views of the Conejo Valley and Santa Rosa Valley.

Start at the main Wildwood trailhead at the west end of Avenida de Los Arboles. Take the main Mesa Trail towards Lizard Rock. You'll soon reach the Santa Rosa Trail sign, which points you north.

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As you crest the hill, follow the arrows toward the Lower Santa Rosa Trail.

As you crest the hill, follow the arrows toward the Lower Santa Rosa Trail.

Views of Santa Rosa Valley

So you're heading east and almost feeling like maybe you're getting lost, but this indeed is the Santa Rosa Trail. Just stay towards the left. It is single track much of the way over here. Then, you'll see the following sign as you get closer to the bottom of the Santa Rosa Valley.

So now you are zig zagging down the Shooting Star Trail, which eventually merges into the Lower Santa Rosa Trail.

(That said, you can continue east from the above juncture and make your way to Cal Lutheran.)

Now you're going to turn left (west) on Lower Santa Rosa Trail for some gentle slopes alongside private residences and farms in the Santa Rosa Valley for about a mile or so.

Some old farming equipment on the side of the Lower Santa Rosa Trail.

Some old farming equipment on the side of the Lower Santa Rosa Trail.

Then soon you come to the end of the trail and there's a sign that tells you to get back into Wildwood Park via the Box Canyon Trail, take the road up ahead 4/10ths of a mile. You're actually in Camarillo now on Rocky High Road.

The trail ends at the juncture of Talal Ct (private) and Rocky High Road.

The trail ends at the juncture of Talal Ct (private) and Rocky High Road.

At the end of the short stretch of road is the trailhead back into Wildwood Park.

And soon you'll see the Box Canyon Trail sign. Veer left (although I think if you go right it loops around to the main trail also).

Box Canyon Trail Sign

It's about a 300 foot climb over less than half a mile up the Box Canyon Trail that gets you back to the main Mesa Trail artery in Wildwood Park. Take your time...you're almost there!

Box Canyon Lizard Rock Sign Wildwood Park

Then you'll see the Lizard Rock / Box Canyon sign that signifies you are back at the Mesa Trail to head about half a mile back to the parking lot. Or turn right to check out the views from Lizard Rock before you go.

To see a map of this hike, visit www.cosf.org/website/html/santa-rosa-loop.html.

OK, so if you're looking to take a break and sit back and enjoy the view near the juncture of the Mesa Trail and Box Canyon Trail?  Then head back (west) from the "Lizard Rock/Box Canyon" trail sign above toward Box Canyon and take the trail on the left to the Box Canyon Overlook, where you will find the following place to park your rear end. Not a bad view, eh?

Bench at Box Canyon Overlook.

Bench at Box Canyon Overlook.

California Museum of Art Thousand Oaks

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The California Museum of Art Thousand Oaks (CMATO) will provide a world-class cultural experience for visitors and locals alike. Artists, educators, lovers of art, tourists, students and the general public will appreciate the world-class exhibitions of paintings, sculpture, photography, music, drama and dance. CMATO will be located at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, west of City Hall and the Performing Arts Center.

Until the new museum is completed, CMATO will operate on the 2nd floor of The Oaks - a Macerich property - in a 5,500 square foot location across from JCPenney. The facility showcases the work of established and emerging contemporary artists. It is also host to artist lectures and educational programs geared towards all ages.

Museum hours are Thu 3-7PM and Fri-Sun 12-7PM, excluding U.S. public holidays. Admission is a suggested donation of $6.

Learn more at cmato.org.

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Conejo Valley Botanic Garden - Thousand Oaks

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The Conejo Valley Botanic Garden is a 33 acre retreat of hiking trails and natural habitat adjacent to Conejo Community Park off of Lynn Road and Gainsborough. 

CVBG now offers plant sales (weather permitting) every Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. featuring California native and drought tolerant plants. Reasonable prices! Enter at the Kids' Adventure Garden entrance (400 W. Gainsborough Road).

This is really a special place to bring the kids for low key hike.  There are numerous trails and a short walk/hike to the top of the mountain rewards you with sweeping views of the entire Conejo Valley, from Westlake Village to Thousand Oaks to Newbury Park.

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Here is what you'll find at the CVBG:

  • The Nature Trail is 3/4 of a mile long and meanders above the creek through oaks and willows. This is a moderate trail.

  • The Little Loop Trail leads you above the creek, through chaparral and around a meadow.

  • The Native Plant Section and Lower Meadow feature southern and northern California plants.

  • Lillian's Meadow showcases perennials, shrubs and trees that thrive with minimal water.

  • The Salvia Garden delights hummingbirds and butterflies.

  • The Butterfly Garden is a safe haven that provides nectar and food sources for butterflies and caterpillars.

  • The Nursery houses workspace for the plant propagation team and hosts plant sales.

  • The Herb Garden exhibits an extensive and unusual collection of medicinal, kitchen and aromatic herbs.

  • The Bird Habitat has a fresh water source and is planted with native plants that provide year-round food source for birds.

  • The Australian Section features collection of plants from down under.

  • The Desert Garden hilltop landscape features cacti, succulents and desert trees and provides a panoramic view of the Conejo Valley.

  • The Rare Fruit Orchard holds an extensive collection of trees.

  • The Tranquility Garden is planted in the Japanese style featuring California native plants.

  • The Oak Tree Grove has many species of North American and other oak trees.

  • The Trail of Trees exhibits 50 trees with a variety of genera.

If you have small kids, they will love the Kids' Adventure Garden and treehouse, open on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  They'll enjoy hiking through the trails and exploring the streams and bridges.

Conejo Valley Botanic Garden is located at 400 West Gainsborough Road, Thousand Oaks.  For more information visit www.conejogarden.org.

Desert Garden at the top of the hill, featuring cacti, succulents, etc.

Desert Garden at the top of the hill, featuring cacti, succulents, etc.

Japanese style Tranquility Garden featuring native California plants

Japanese style Tranquility Garden featuring native California plants

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Disc Golf in Ventura County

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Looking for disc golf options in Ventura County? You’ve come to the right place. These are all available to the public, free of charge.

The newest disc golf option is at Sapwi Trails Community Park in Thousand Oaks. The course has 19 holes. Hole #1 is located off the parking lot on Avenida de los Arboles at Kensington Drive. The park and course opened in March 2019. and is managed by the Conejo Recreation and Park District (CRPD).

Rabbit Flats Disc Golf Course is located on the west end of Thousand Oaks Community Park, 2525 N. Moorpark Road (next to Thousand Oaks High School). This course opened to the public in May 2010. Park managed by CRPD.

Coyote Point Disc Golf Course is an 18 hole course located at Lake Casitas, 11311 Santa Ana Road, Ventura.

Chaparral Park, located at 217 N. Medea Creek Lane in Oak Park, has a newer 10 hole course. Course map at THIS LINK (that link also provides detailed instructions on how to play!). Park is managed by the Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District (RSRPD).

Also managed by RSRPD is a 12 hole disc Sycamore Park Disc Golf Course at Sycamore Park, 855 N. Planetree Avenue, Simi Valley. Detailed map and instructions at THIS LINK.

There is yet another disc golf course located at Sequoia Park, 2150 Tracy Avenue, Simi Valley. Also managed by RSRPD, this is a 9-hole course. Course map and instructions at THIS LINK.

Finally, there is a 9-hole disc golf course located at Lake Piru Recreation Area, 4780 Piru Canyon Road, Piru.

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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Hunt Olive Tree - Historical Landmark in Thousand Oaks

When Richard Orville Hunt and his wife Mary Jane Hunt planted trees in their orchard on the Salto Ranch (currently Lynn Ranch) over 130 years ago, they probably never contemplated that one of their trees would be thriving next to the Circuit City (now Sprouts Farmers Market) parking lot. 

Well, that's where this beautiful old timer is.  I'm not exactly sure why the Hunt Olive Tree was moved here from its prior home in 1993, but she looks like she is doing o.k.  This tree near the entrance of the Sprouts parking lot at 600 West Hillcrest was designated a Ventura County Historical Landmark #64 on January 25, 1982. It is also Historical Landmark #4 in the City of Thousand Oaks.

Richard Hunt served as postmaster of the Newbury Park Post Office (which at the time was located at his ranch) for 18 years, beginning in 1891.

So go pay homage to this lovely link to our local history en route to buying some fresh fruits, veggies and other health foods at Sprouts!

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Ventura County Wine Trail

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Ventura County Wine Trail offers 14 family-owned, award winning wineries right here in Ventura County and adjacent areas! Unique wine tasting tours, five star restaurants, luxury hotels, wine events and attractions, make an amazing wine country destination getaway.

Visit www.venturacountywinetrail.com.

Here are the 14 wineries (updated April 2019) that are part of this trail.

Alma Sol Winery in Thousand Oaks www.almasolwinery.com

Back Patio Cellars in Camarillo www.backpatiocellars.com

Boccali Vineyards and Winery in Ojai www.boccalivineyards.com

Camarillo Custom Crush Winery www.camarillocustomcrush.com

Clos des Amis in Ventura www.closdesamis.com

Herzog Wine Cellars in Oxnard www.herzogwinecellars.com

Labyrinth Winery and Tasting Room in Ventura www.LabyrinthWinery.com

Magnavino Cellars in Oxnard www.magnavino.com

Malibu Sundowner in Westlake Village www.malibusundownerwines.com

Millesime Cellars in Camarillo www.millesimecellars.com

Panaro Brothers Winery in Ventura www.panarobrotherswinery.com

Rancho Ventano Cellars in Oxnard www.ranchoventavo.com

Strey Cellars in Oxnard www.StreyCellars.com

Sunland Vintage Winery and Tasting Room in Thousand Oaks www.SunlandVintageWinery.com

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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