Casitas Water Adventure in Ventura

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Casitas Water Adventure is a water park at the Lake Casitas Recreation Area that is open throughout the summer, generally from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.

There are two distinct areas. For younger children, there is a multi-level jungle gym with waterfalls, bridges and slides in a lagoon with water up to 18" deep.

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The 1,200 foot long Lazy River offers a cool water ride on inner tubes along a scenic waterway featuring waterfalls, fog filled bridges and jet sprays. The inner tubes are available on a first-come, first-served basis, but usually there are plenty of them on hand.

The 1,200 foot long lazy river at Casitas Water Adventure is my kids' favorite.

The 1,200 foot long lazy river at Casitas Water Adventure is my kids' favorite.

For the very youngest tots, a zero-depth pool sprays water from all angles, providing a safe, fun play area.

Shaded decks, lounge chairs, showers, restrooms and a snack bar are available, but food is not allowed inside the park (though you can bring bottled water). Certified lifeguards are on hand at all times and life jackets are available at no extra charge while supplies last. Locker rentals are available for a nominal fee.

Do take note that they don't heat the water here. It is a bit on the cold side for many, though on hot days this can be a good thing.

Lake Casitas Recreation Area is located at 11311 Santa Ana Road, Ventura. Take Highway 33 from Ventura towards Ojai, make a left turn on Santa Ana Blvd, then a right on Santa Ana Road 3 or 4 miles to the park entrance. Visit www.casitaswater.org/lower.php?url=water-adventure for more information, including operating schedule/hours and prices or call 805.649.2233.

For summer 2017, operating hours are Sunday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday/Saturday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Pricing is $12 per person on weekdays ($14 on weekends and holidays) (free for under 1 year of age), $22-26 for a 2 consecutive day pass and $65 for a full-season pass. 

They offer "late day" passes for $6.50 (subject to cancellation) during the last 3 hours of operation each day. Casitas Water Adventure is open generally from late May through Labor Day weekend, so take advantage during the summer months!

2017 Schedule: Opening day is Saturday, May 27th. Final day of the year is September 16th.

Parking inside Lake Casitas is $20 on weekends/holidays and $10 on weekdays. There is parking available on Santa Ana Road if you don't mind walking.

My kids particularly enjoy the Lazy River. There are some shady areas but do bring plenty of sunscreen as the sun beats down pretty hard out there. The water playground is definitely geared towards younger kids, with a large assortment of slides, water spouts and fun. My boys seemed to quickly get bored in the water playground around age 7-8, but they continue to enjoy the lagoon, which propels you round and round in a gentle current.

The Lakes at Thousand Oaks

The Lakes at Thousand Oaks is a 7 1/2 acre, 50,000 square foot development next to the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza where you can relax and enjoy park-like landscaping, two lakes with ducks and koi, fountains, waterfalls and a children's play area, while shopping at high-end stores and grabbing a bite.

Shopping and dining options at The Lakes includes California Pizza Kitchen, PF Changs, Sabor Cocina Mexicana, Lassens Natural Foods, Umami Burger, Sunlife Organics, Kalologie Spa, BCBC Nail Spa and Drenched Fitness.

There is a kids club that meets every Wednesday morning from March through November. And in mid-November through early January, The Lakes hosts a very popular outdoor ice skating rink. The kids always enjoy it here because there is a lot of room to run around, run across the bridge, around the lake, etc.

The little ones stay occupied at this play area at The Lakes at Thousand Oaks.

The little ones stay occupied at this play area at The Lakes at Thousand Oaks.

The Lakes is located at 2200 E. Thousand Oaks Boulevard. Visit www.shoplakes.com or call 805.497.9861 for more information.

Previous tenants at The Lakes include: 9021Pho (2016), Nate 'n Al Deli (now Umami Burger), Claim Jumper (now Lassen's), Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (closed in 2011), Ben & Jerry's, Blizz Frozen Yogurt, Tommy Bahama and International Organic Treats, among others.

Samuelson Aquatics Center Community Pool at CLU in Thousand Oaks

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The Community Pool at Samuelson Aquatics Center is the result of a unique collaboration between the University, the Conejo Recreation and Park District and the City of Thousand Oaks.  This year-round facility includes a nice shade structure, picnic tables, outdoor showers, classes and more. The seven-lane pool serves as a warm-up pool for CLU athletes during competitions.  It is available to the local community, swim clubs and masters swimmers.

Also available for parties of up to 90+ people. Includes shaded picnic area with 1-5 tables, party attendant and lifeguards, flat screen TV use, DVD player, music/iPod adapter, games, refrigerator, toys and floats. Rent the whole pool to yourself or share with the public.

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Samuelson Aquatics Center is located on the Cal Lutheran Campus at 100 Overton Court, Thousand Oaks (Click here for map).  Visit crpd.org/programs/aquatics or call 805.241.0894 for more information.

Recreational swim hours vary but the pool is open 7 days per week during the spring/summer. Pool heated up to 84 degrees.

Pool hours and fees are at crpd.org/programs/aquatics/hoursnfees.asp. As of May 2017, $3 admission for ages 2 to 61, $2 for ages 62+, CLU students and veterans (with ID). Open 6 days a week during the winter months (closed Sundays) and 7 days/week during spring/summer months, generally March 1 through Labor Day weekend.

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Kids Fun Zone and Outdoor Play Area at Janss Marketplace

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The enhanced monthly Kids Fun Zone program in 2017 at Janss Marketplace in Thousand Oaks will get youth moving and offer new educational activities. Upcoming Kids Fun Zone event dates: May 27, Jun 24, Jul 29, Aug 26, Sep 30, Oct 38, Nov 25 and Dec 30.

The FREE Kids Fun Zone is held on the last Saturday of each month from 12 noon to 3 p.m. near the Toys R Us store at Janss Marketplace, located off the Moorpark exit on the 101 Freeway at the intersection of Moorpark Road and Hillcrest Drive in Thousand Oaks. 

The Kids Fun Zone will continue the popular seasonal craft activity. NEW in 2017 are FREE Zumba classes for kids.  The Zumba classes, held during the three-hour Kids Fun Zone, will be held at 1 p.m. near the interactive fountain.   Kids who take part in the Zumba class will have a chance to win a free Janss gift card just for joining in the fun! 

Janss will host Martial Arts Fitness classes, Computer, Robotics and “Fun with Food Healthy Meal Planning” activities at various Kids Fun Zones during the year.   Each month children celebrating a birthday will receive a gift from Janss Marketplace.  The Kids Fun Zone also features family interactive events and merchant discounts.  

Scooter, the lovable Kids Fun Zone costume character Mascot will host Kids Fun Zone events, handing out prizes to kids during the “Spin to Win” wheel on March 25, July 25 and December 30.

Kids Fun Zone membership is FREE for children age 12 and younger.  Families can register children at www.JanssMarketplace.net or at any of the monthly Kids Fun Zone events.

Oak Canyon Community Park in Oak Park

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Oak Canyon Community Park is located at 5600 Hollytree Drive in Oak Park at Kanan. This is a nicely appointed park with a children's splash pad, playgrounds, lagoon/pond with ducks, dog park and plenty of open space.

More information on the Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District website at www.rsrpd.org/oak_park/parks/oak_canyon_community_park.php.

The Oak Park Dog Park at Oak Canyon Community Park opened in May 2010. It is open from 7am to dusk every day (closed 7am to 10am for maintenance on Fridays). For more information, visit www.rsrpd.org/oak_park/parks/oak_canyon_dog_park.php.

Oak Canyon Dog Park on a non-busy day

Oak Canyon Dog Park on a non-busy day

MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation in Santa Barbara

MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation, is a one-of-a-kind museum for all ages designed to ignite learning through interactive experiences in science and creativity.  

The museum opened its doors to the public on February 25, 2017 at 125 State Street, Santa Barbara, adjacent to the Amtrak Station.

The museum's three floors are filled with 17,000 sq ft of hands-on exhibits that encourage open-ended discovery, analytical assessment, experimentation, play and just plain fun.

The interactive exhibits are organized around seven themes that all relate to science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

  • Tech Track: Includes an Innovation Workshop, a makerspace area where you can imagine, design and test your own creations using a wide variety of technologies and tools
  • Sound Track: In this largest exhibit area on the first floor is a Giant Guitar to learn about how your favorite guitar riffs begin, a Sound Machine, the Reactable (part DJ table, part musical instrument), Foley Studios sound studios and more.
  • Fantastic Forces Courtyard: This space is dedicated to gravity, magnetism, propulsion, centripetal force and more. Conduct test flights in our Wind Column Workshop, launch an Air Rocket and discover the power of magnetic fields on our Magnetic Islands.
  • Speed Track: Build your own race car and send it down the race track, play the game of Mindball, prototype designs for a marble roller coaster and more.
  • Light Track: Explore lights, colors, shadows and more. Take the ultimate selfie at Mosaic Faces. Create a bold display of colored lights at Light Patterns. Control the Color Mixing Machine that hangs above the entryway and learn more about color and light waves.
  • Interactive Media Track: Explore a wide range of digital interactive experiences designed in partnership with area artists, educators and scientists. 
  • Sky Garden: The exhibit-filled rooftop includes Whitewater, a fully interactive water feature including a giant Archimedes screw. Create a wind-, sun- and human-powered symphony with the Weather Orchestra. Step inside the Lookout Tower to see the city through the lenses of five different observation scopes. And walk across the glass Sky Deck for a unique view of the courtyard below.

MOXI is open daily, except Christmas and Thanksgiving, from 10am to 5pm. Admission is $14 for adults (13+), $10 for ages 3 to 12 and free for 2 and under. The museum encourages the purchase of timed-entry tickets in advance at www.moxi.org.

Kids Club at The Lakes at Thousand Oaks

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The Kids Club at The Lakes meets every Wednesday of the month at 11 a.m. during the months of March through October. Geared towards kids 10 and under.

Call 805.497.9861 for more information. Events are outdoors; rain generally cancels events but call first.

Events vary from puppet shows to storytellers to musicians, petting zoos, arts and crafts, etc. for preschoolers and their parents. These are outdoor events and are weather permitting. Contact The Lakes for more information at 805.497.9861 or www.shoplakes.com.

In addition to the kids club, The Lakes has a small playground area that is geared toward the younger kids, an expanse of grass and 2 beautiful lakes, waterfall, fountain, etc. This is a nice park-like setting that makes you forget the fact that you are looking straight out at Thousand Oaks Boulevard.

One more bonus: The Lakes is next door to the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, which has an outdoor courtyard with trees and paths that are fun for the kids to explore.

Upcoming events:

May 3 - Reptacular Bugs 

Give your little ones the creepy-crawlies (in a good way!) when Reptacular brings their awesome menagerie of bugs to Kids Club. This will be a fascinating look at the bug world that's sure to amaze the whole family!

May 10 - A Balancing Act

It's a Cirque du Soleil-level juggling and tricks, plus buckle-busting humor, unicycle riding, balancing act, hat and cane acts with Alex! You will absolutely be amazed with Alex's high energy and clever acts! It's guaranteed fun for the young and old!

May 17 - The Amazing Dave

Dave has traveled the world and honed his skills with years of experience in every state of the nation. Join us for his outrageous magic and juggling variety show that is always a hit.

May 24 - Wonderworld Puppets

Ric Morton has been entertaining families with his lively puppet shows since 1974. Your children will be delighted by this former Jim Henson Company puppeteer!

May 31 - Dream Big with the Slipper Princess

Join the slipper princess as she takes your children on a magical adventure through storytelling, dancing, and magic tricks! Children can dress up for the royal ball and take pictures with the princess after the show.

Interpretative Playground at Agoura Hills Recreation and Event Center

There is quite a neat little interpretative play area at the City of Agoura Hills Recreation and Event Center at 29900 Ladyface Court. It has a Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area theme, including a slide, climbing wall, track ride and more. There's a gigantic Rattlesnake Seating Wall, Mountain Lion Climber, Bobcat Climber and Hawk Track Ride. More on the Recreation Center at

Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Conejo Valley

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The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Conejo Valley is a non-profit organization that provides time-tested programs offering leadership training, character development, fine arts, academic support, technology, health and fitness.

Clubs feature Learning Centers, Games Rooms, Computer Technology Centers, Fine Arts Rooms, Multi-Purpose Rooms, and Character and Leadership Centers. For grades 5 through 8.  Visit www.bgcconejo.org for more information. Also spring/summer camps for grades 1 to 12.

Local Clubs:

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Conejo Valley offers a variety of indoor spaces for rent for family events, fundraisers and meetings at the Sequoia, Colina and Los Cerritos clubs listed above. Contact individual clubs for more information about facility rentals.

Orca Youth Rugby Club - Ventura County

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The Orca Youth Rugby Club has teams for Boys and Girls ages 11-18 and for all skill levels. We play teams between San Diego and San Luis Obispo. Many of our club members are current athletes at local schools and high schools who also compete in multiple sports. The ultimate goal of our club is to promote and teach the sport of rugby and become a dominant force in Southern California Rugby. Off the pitch we look to build positive relationships with local business and community organizations. We aspire to be a positive force in the community and spread the love of rugby throughout the County. No experience necessary! We encourage players of all ability levels to come out and join our squad. We emphasize physical fitness and a strong understanding of the fundamentals of rugby. We are always looking for the opportunity to meet new teammates.

Rugby season (January-April) does NOT conflict with football; it is GREAT off-season practice! NO ONE RIDES THE BENCH -- NO RUGBY EXPERIENCE EXPECTED!

Orca Rugby emphasizes SAFETY AND FUN.  Orca Rugby is ALL volunteer; NO ONE is paid. Orca Rugby has teams for 11-18 year olds.  Orca Rugby limits team size; everyone plays. Practices are Tuesday and Thursday 6-8 pm, Games on Saturday.  Get more info and register online now at www.venturacountyrugbyclub.com.