Corriganville Park in Simi Valley

NOTE: Corriganville was severely burned in the Woolsey Fire of November 2018 and was closed until 1/11/19. It is open again.

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Corriganville Park is a historical 206 acre park located at 7001 Smith Road in Simi Valley that is owned and operated by the Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District. The park has over four miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails, sandstone cliffs, an oak forest, seasonal stream, shaded picnic areas, Camp Rotary Youth Campground, picnic shelter and more.

The park is named after Ray "Crash" Corrigan, a stuntman/actor who owned the park from 1937 to 1965, when over 3,500 movies, TV shows and commercials were filmed there. In 1949, the Corrigan Movie Ranch opened as a Western-style amusement park with a train ride and stagecoach ride that in the late 1950s had greater weekend attendance than Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm.

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Bob Hope bought the property in 1965 and renamed it Hopetown, but filming stopped after a year. The ranch burned down in the 1970s and all that is left are the cement slabs and exterior rock walls of the barn. You've got to visit the Santa Susana Depot Museum around the corner from Corriganville and see the model of what Corriganville looked like in 1960, then visit the park to see the slabs and imagine what it was like back then.

There is an interpretative trail at Corriganville with 20 markers that provide information about the vegetation and surroundings as well as some of the history. Visit www.rsrpd.org/simi_valley/parks/corriganville_park.php for a link to pdf brochures with information about the history and trails of the park. Or call 805.584.4400.

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Ojai Playhouse

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NOTE: The Ojai Playhouse has been closed since January 2018 to restore the theater due to a water main break causing damage and flooding to the building. Check www.facebook.com/ojaiplayhouse for updates.

The Ojai Playhouse is located in the heart of Ojai at 145 East Ojai Avenue (at the Signal Street intersection). This landmark originated as a single screen theater called The Isis in 1914 and has changed hands numerous times since then. The theater has also changed names over the years but is now called the Ojai Playhouse. It has been restored to its original deco-style look inside and upgraded and now shows first run movies in a theater that seats over 200 people.

The Ojai Film Society hosts eclectic, independently produced movies here every Sunday afternoon at 4:30pm. Visit www.ojaifilmsociety.org for more information.

The theater is also available for birthday parties, events, private bookings and other special occasions. Visit www.ojaiplayhouse.com or call 805.646.1011 for more information and movie showtimes.

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Peter Strauss Ranch in Agoura Hills

NOTE: PETER STRAUSS RANCH SUSTAINED MAJOR DAMAGE IN THE WOOLSEY FIRE OF NOVEMBER 2018 AND WILL BE CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. CHECK THEIR WEBSITE FOR UPDATES. WE WILL ALSO STAY TUNED FOR UPDATES.

Peter Strauss Ranch sign on Kanan Road southbound before Troutdale.

Peter Strauss Ranch sign on Kanan Road southbound before Troutdale.

The 64 acre Peter Strauss Ranch is located at the juncture of Troutdale Drive and Mulholland Highway in Agoura Hills. The property is managed by the National Park Service (NPS) and is part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. It features a ranch house, .6 mile hiking trail, restrooms and an amphitheater area.

Parking lot access off of Mulholland Highway on northeast side of ranch.

Parking lot access off of Mulholland Highway on northeast side of ranch.

The Ranch has quite a history. According to the NPS, auto manufacturer Harry Miller bought the ranch at the turn of the 20th century as his weekend retreat. He built many of the structures on the site in the 1920s, including the stone ranch house, lookout tower and aviary.  He lost the ranch in the Depression.

Warren Shobert and Arthur Edeson purchased the ranch in the 1930s and created “Shoson”—a fairyland of charm and a paradise for children and adults. Later, a dam was constructed on Triunfo Creek, creating a small lake. The resort was renamed “Lake Enchanto.” Competition from other, larger amusement parks and resorts led to the decline of “Lake Enchanto.” It fell into disrepair and closed around 1960.

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Actor Peter Strauss purchased the property in 1976, restored the site, lived there until 1983, and later sold it to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.  The NPS purchased the ranch in 1987 and the site will be preserved as part of our local natural and cultural history.

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Here is the ruins of the 640,000 gallon Lake Enchanto pool on the Peter Strauss Ranch site. The pool is said to be the largest of its kind west of the Rockies.

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More on the history of the Peter Strauss Ranch at peterstrauss.net/storyofranch.html.

Visit the NPS Peter Strauss Ranch page at www.nps.gov/samo/planyourvisit/straussranch.htm.

Museum of Military History Posters and Memorabilia at the Simi Valley Town Center

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The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10049 and Simi Valley Town Center host an impressive display at the Museum of Military History Posters and Memorabilia

Hundreds of military posters and historical artifacts are on display that were graciously provided by local veterans and collectors. Artifacts include old weapons, munitions, posters, newspapers, uniforms and much more. Several Vietnam Veterans were on hand, imparting stories and background information to us as we strolled around.

Hours are 11am to 4pm on weekends and noon to 3pm on Wednesdays. There is no admission fee, though donations are encouraged to support local veterans.

More info at www.vfwpost10049.com/museum.html.

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Military Mule with armament (not live of course lol) on display.

Military Mule with armament (not live of course lol) on display.

Museum of Ventura County’s Agriculture Museum in Santa Paula

The Museum of Ventura County's Agriculture Museum opened in Santa Paula on September 25, 2011. The realization of more than 40 years of effort and dedication by supporters, the Agriculture Museum is housed in the landmark restored Mill building, at 926 Railroad Avenue, beside the railroad tracks and across from the depot in Santa Paula. The Mill was built in 1888 as an agricultural warehouse, and later served as a feed and grain outlet and an antiques mall.

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Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara

Dolphins greet you at the entrance to Stearns Wharf.

Dolphins greet you at the entrance to Stearns Wharf.

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Stearns Wharf is located at the juncture of W. Cabrillo Road and State Street in Santa Barbara. Originally constructed in 1872 by lumberman John P. Stearns as the longest deep-water pier between Los Angeles and San Francisco, it is now one of the most visible and visited tourist destinations in Santa Barbara. In 1980-81, the City of Santa Barbara restored the wharf, constructed new buildings on it and assumed operation of the facility.

Our family particularly enjoys visiting the Museum of Santa Barbara Sea Center located on the wharf, followed by a stop at the candy store or the ice cream shop. Of course, The Harbor Restaurant and Longboards Grill are crowd favorites. There's also wine tasting, Moby Dick Restaurant, fish and chips, souvenir shops and other places that are fun to stop by.

View from the end of Stearns Wharf back toward the mainland.

View from the end of Stearns Wharf back toward the mainland.

View from Stearns Wharf

View from Stearns Wharf

You can get onto the wharf in a number of ways. There is limited parking on the wharf. Cost (as of August 2018) is $2.50/hour, but the first 90 minutes are FREE. Or you can park along Cabrillo Road or in a local beach parking lot and walk onto the wharf. Or do what we enjoy...park at the Santa Barbara Harbor and ride bikes onto the wharf. The wood planks are a bit bumpy but you'll survive!

Learn more about Stearns Wharf at www.stearnswharf.org.

Beautiful views of the harbor area as you'll see below from the pier. If you walk onto the wharf, you may encounter some locals that "live off the land" with sand sculptures and other monuments on the sand for your viewing pleasure (and perhaps some spare change). They are part of the carnival atmosphere. And of course on Sundays you'll be treated to the Santa Barbara Arts & Crafts Show that has been running since 1965.

Getty Center in Brentwood

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Atop a 900 foot hill in the Santa Monica Mountains adjacent to the 405 freeway, Getty Center is a 24 acre complex that is one of the most visited museums in the United States. Getty Center opened in December 1997 and is part of the J. Paul Getty Museum, which has another location called The Getty Villa.

This is one of those "must absolutely see" places for every local resident and visitor to the Los Angeles area. It is a spectacular and pristine, inside and out.

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There are five main pavilions in the complex. The North Pavilion (on the immediate left after you walk through the Entrance Hall) contains pre-1700 art, including paintings on the upper level and sculptures and decorative arts, illuminated manuscripts and changing exhibitions on the main level. Adjacent to the North Pavilion is the East Pavilion, which contains paintings and sculptures and decorative arts from the 1600 to 1800 time frame.

The South Pavilion also contains art from 1600 to 1800. The West Pavilion contains art post-1800 as well as the Center for Photographs. Finally, the Exhibitions Pavilion contains rotating exhibitions.

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Stroll to the terraces on the south side of the complex and you'll be treated to panoramic views stretching to the San Bernadino Mountains, Century City, and the Pacific Ocean. You'll also be treated to a view of the Cactus Garden desert landscape in the South Promontory. The 134,000 sq ft Central Garden, large grassy area and stream leading into a pool with an azalea maze. You've got to see it to appreciate the beauty.

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There are also outdoor sculptures throughout the complex, starting in the area where you wait for the tram that takes you up to the Center, in the Arrival Area in front of the Entrance Hall and in and around the restaurant and garden areas.

The Center displays some of the most recognizable pieces in the world from artists like Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Manet, Monet, Renoir, Gaugin, and so many others. The photography display is also outstanding.

Irises by Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh

Irises by Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh

There are several restaurants on the complex. I've eaten at the Garden Terrace Cafe located between the Exhibitions Pavilion and the Central Garden and it was good. Packaged, fresh sandwiches, salads, soups and other items are available.

To learn more, visit www.getty.edu/museum. Admission is free. Parking in the seven story underground lot near the bottom of Getty Center Drive is $15 ($10 after 3pm). Hours are 10am to 5:30pm Tuesday through Sunday.

There is a free tram that takes you to the top of the hill, or you can walk up the hill (it actually is not that bad, a 15 to 20 minute walk for most). Located at 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles.

I could go on and on...if you are not an art fan, don't worry. The views alone are worth the visit. But once you step foot in this amazing place you will be awestruck.

Museum of Ventura County in Downtown Ventura

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The Museum of Ventura County is the most comprehensive resource for local history in the county.  There are exhibitions, galleries, and an extensive research library with over 140,000 books, newspaper clippings, photographs, maps and other historical materials.

The museum is open from 11am to 5pm, Tuesday through Sunday.  General admission (as of August 2018) is $5 for adults $3 for seniors (62+), students (with ID), $1 for children ages 6 to 17. Kids 5 and under are free. Located at 100 E. Main Street, Ventura.

Free admission the 1st Sunday of each month with a kids arts/crafts activity usually from 1-3pm.

For more information, visit www.venturamuseum.org or call 805.653.0323.

LEARN ABOUT THE MUSEUM'S AGRICULTURE MUSEUM IN SANTA PAULA

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The 3,500 sq ft river-rock walled, state-of-the-art Martin V. and Martha K. Smith Event Pavilion is used for lectures, programs and a variety of Museum events. It can seat 200 for dinner, with the option to tent the front plaza for an additional 140 guests. Could be a great wedding reception venue!!

California Sycamore Tree - Historic Landmark in Newbury Park

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This extremely large and old California Sycamore tree was designated as a Ventura County Historic Landmark (#44) on May 1st, 1978.  The City of Thousand Oaks historical marker (see picture to the right) says the tree is over 250 years old.  It is believed that the Chumash Indians bent the lower branches to mark the location of groundwater.

This beautiful tree is located in the Stagecoach Inn Museum and complex at 51 South Ventu Park Road.  Park at the Stagecoach Inn parking lot and walk your way down the pathway to visit the tree, an Indian house and other old structures.

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The Nethercutt Museum in Sylmar

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The Nethercutt Museum in Sylmar houses a spectacular collection of over 120 antique, vintage, black iron and classic automobiles. This is a place that a surprisingly few number people know about but is a MUST SEE (another "hidden gem," like The Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard). It is a truly gorgeous collection of cars, including numerous winners of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and other famed auto shows.

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Particularly eye opening to an auto novice like me is the sheer number of different car manufacturers on display that I'd never heard of, like Tucker, Simplex, Cord, REO, Maybah, Ruxton, Westinghouse, Pierce-Arrow, Moon etc as well as autos made by Daimler, Rolls Royce, Cadillac, Packard, Lincoln, Ford, Duesenberg, Oldsmobile, Bugatti and others. There is also huge number of hood ornaments, headlamps and other vintage paraphernalia on display.

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Admission to The Nethercutt Museum is FREE of charge and hours are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Closed Sunday, Monday and all major holidays.  Visit www.nethercuttcollection.org for more information. Open to all ages.

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Located at 15151 Bledsoe Steet, Sylmar. When I went I took the 101 east to the 405 south towards Santa Clarita, which becomes the 5 freeway. Get off at Roxford exit east (exit 159A; don't get confused and take the NEXT Roxford exit). Turn right on Roxford, right on San Fernando Road and left on Bledsoe. Museum is a few blocks up on the left hand side. Turn left on Bradley (at Bledsoe) and an immediate left into the parking lot.

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Outside the Museum you can walk through a 1912 Pullman Rail Car and a 1937 Canadian Pacific Royal Hudson Locomotive. Open twice a day (weather permitting) at 12:30 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. for 15 minutes.

In addition to the main Museum, next door at 15200 Bledsoe is The Nethercutt Collection, which has over 50 automobiles along with what they call the world's finest assemblage of mechanical musical instruments. Admission here is also free but you must make reservations for the 2 hour docent-led tour, kids must be 12 and older, and no video recording or flash photography is allowed. Tours are currently offered at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

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Albinger Archaeological Museum in Ventura

The Albinger Archaeological Museum, located at 113 E. Main Street in Ventura, is open to the public this summer 2018 from June 16 through September 2, on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am to 4 pm. Admission to the museum is free.

Named after Ventura Mayor from 1969 to 1973, Albert R. Albinger, the museum is built on the home site of saloonkeeper and early mayor Angel Escondon and displays artifacts spanning 3,500 years of Ventura history encompassing five different cultures (Chumash, Spanish, Mexican, Chinese and circa 1850 U.S.) from a single archaeological site next to the San Buenaventura Mission.

In 1973 the buildings which stood at the museum's location were demolished as part of the Mission Plaza Urban Redevelopment Project. Archaeological testing suggested the existence of rich cultural remains beneath the soil. The Redevelopment Agency of the City of San Buenaventura authorized intensive archaeological investigations and during the summers of 1974 and 1975 archaeological excavations uncovered more than 30,000 artifacts. Each artifact was carefully cleaned, numbered, cataloged and studied. In order to protect and preserve this part of the City’s heritage, the property was withdrawn from the redevelopment project. In 1975 it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Ventura Mission Historic District. In January 1980 the City of San Buenaventura opened the Albinger Archaeological Museum. 

Displays of stone bowls, a tomol (plank canoe reproduction), shell beads, arrowheads, bone whistles, crucifixes, bottles, buttons and pottery inside the exhibit building are complemented outside by excavations of the foundations of the lost Mission church, Native American barracks, well and the oldest standing structure in Ventura, the mission water filtration building.

More information at www.cityofventura.net/albinger.

U.S. Navy Seabee Museum - NBVC Port Hueneme

U.S. Navy Seabee Museum - NBVC Port Hueneme

The U.S. Navy Seabee Museum is one of the Navy's eleven official museums. Its mission is to select, collect, preserve, and display historical material relating to the history of the Naval Construction Force, better known as the Seabees, and the U.S. Navy Civil Engineer Corps.

The second oldest of the official Navy museums, the Seabee Museum was established in 1947 in Port Hueneme, which today is part of Naval Base Ventura County.

The Seabee Museum was recently renovated and is quite a beautiful, state-of-art facility. The 38,000 square foot museum features modern exhibit spaces, memorial garden, theater, education room

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Adamson House Tour and Malibu Lagoon Museum

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The Adamson House at 23200 Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu is a National Historic Site and a registered California landmark. The house and grounds share one of the most beautiful beach locations in Southern California, with a view of the Malibu Lagoon, Malibu Beach and the Malibu Pier. In addition to its world-famous Malibu Tile, the house contains hand-carved teakwood doors, hand-painted murals, molded ceilings, hand-wrought ironwork and lead- framed bottle glass windows.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE PHOTOS AND INFO ABOUT THE ADAMSON HOUSE

The Adamson House Tour is a guided tour through the house which contains its original furnishings and is decorated with the renowned Malibu Potteries tile. Trained volunteer docents relate the history of the house, details of its architecture and furnishings, and the history of the family that lived in and created this distinctive home. Admission (as of July 2018) is $7 for ages 17 and up, $2 ages 6 to 16 and under 6 is free. Cash only.

The Malibu Lagoon Museum adjoins the Adamson House and contains a collection of artifacts, rare photographs and documents depicting the colorful history of Malibu. The museum tour takes the visitor from the early Chumash Indian era through the Spanish California culture. Here is an excellent opportunity to relive the genteel and romantic ranching days of the famed Rindge and Adamson families. Learn about dramatic episodes in Malibu's rich history: the Malibu Railroad; the 50-room Castle on the Hill; the 17-year legal battle over a Malibu highway; the Malibu movie colony; the Malibu Dam, and much, much more. Admission to the Museum is free.

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The Adamson House Garden Tour is a docent-led walking tour of the landmark gardens, beautifully preserved in their 1930s appearance. It is offered every Friday of the month, 10:00 a.m. The Adamson House Tour admission fee includes a house garden tour; no reservation is required. Reservations are necessary only for groups of 10 or more at 310-456-8432. Group tours are Tuesdays at 10:00 a.m.

More information at www.adamsonhouse.org or call 310.456.8432.