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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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 Ventura Wharf (Pier) was designated City of Ventura Historic Landmark #20 on March 29, 1976.

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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Channel Islands Maritime Museum

The Channel Islands Maritime Museum (formerly known as Ventura County Maritime Museum) is a cultural and scenic haven in the Channel Islands Harbor complete with world class maritime art, ship models and ocean breezes. It opened in 1991 as an independent, not-for-profit public benefit corporation funded by members, friends, charitable foundations and businesses.

In Summer 2012, the museum moved across the harbor to 3900 Bluefin Circle, Oxnard (off of 3900 Harbor Boulevard).

The museum is open Thursday to Monday from 10 AM to 4 PM (noon to 4pm on Sunday) except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors (62+) and $3 for children ages 6 to 17 (free ages 5 and under) as of August 2019. Admission is free the 3rd Thursday of each month.

The Channel Islands Maritime Museum is home to a permanent collection of extensive marine art, featuring works by the Dutch and Flemish painters, 17th century artists Willem van de Velde and Bonaventura Peeters. Noted modern artists in the collection include John Stobart, Montague Dawson, David Thimgan, Roy Cross and Christopher Blossom.

The museum also houses one of the two largest collections of antique Napoleonic prisoner of war sailing ship models in the US. Three thousand years of maritime history are illustrated by historic ship models, including the life's work of renowned builder Edward Marple. Exhibits on whaling, sailors' arts, the history of the Channel Islands Harbor and Port of Hueneme round out the collection.

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In my many visits to the museum, I have been very impressed by how knowledgeable the docents were about the contents of the museum! I learned a lot and was amazed at the collection of nearly 100 intricate ship models on display going back hundreds of years. I was also pleased to see docents take the time to engage my kids in some of the exhibits.

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The Museum welcomes about 25,000 visitors annually. The Elementary Education Program, staffed entirely by volunteers, conducts in-house tours for thousands of elementary school students each year. The At Sea Education program supports three day youth sailing expeditions on board working tall ships.

For more information, including current exhibits and upcoming museum events, visit www.channelislandsmaritimemuseum.org or call 805.984.6260.

Grant Park / Serra Cross Park in Ventura

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For some of the most spectacular views of Ventura you can ask for, stop by Grant Park / Serra Cross Park off of Ferro Drive in Ventura. Grant Park is a 107 acre park of mostly open space. Serra Cross Park is located at Grant Park. It is a one acre parcel that contains the wooden cross shown below.

The land and cross were sold to San Buenaventura Heritage, Inc. in 2003 in order to maintain the historic cross, which was placed on this spot in 1941 to replace the previous cross that was erected in 1912.

Visit www.serracrosspark.org to learn more about Serra Cross Park.

Get there via Brakey Road to the left side of Ventura City Hall or Ferro Drive off of Cedar Street. There are no restrooms, playground, drinking fountains, etc. at this park.

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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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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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CSU Channel Islands University Park in Camarillo

CSU Channel Islands University Park is a 367 acre parcel located adjacent to CSU Channel Islands off of S. Lewis Road in Camarillo. It is a regional educational and recreation area owned and operated by California State University Channel Islands.

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The park is open to the public daily from sunrise to sunset. Do note that there are no facilities at this park, like restrooms and drinking fountains. You can walk, hike, run, bike, etc. and perhaps come across some wildlife.

Disbanded dairy farm in the distance at CSU Channel Islands University Park

Disbanded dairy farm in the distance at CSU Channel Islands University Park

One item of historical interest at the park is the "Scary Dairy," a dairy farm located on the parcel that closed in the 1960s and was disbanded and subsequently vandalized and graffittied upon over the decades.

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"Scary Dairy"

From Camarillo, take Lewis Road south to Camarillo Street and turn left (east).  Cross the bridge over Calleguas Creek and the entrance is on the left. Parking is $6 per vehicle (as of April 2019). Visit www.csuci.edu/cipark for more information.

Bring cash to pay for parking at entrance.

Bring cash to pay for parking at entrance.

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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.

Plummer House Visitor Center

Plummer House Visitor Center

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.