Brandon's Buddies Free Kids Club in Calabasas

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Brandon's Buddies is a free kids club that meets every month at Brandon's Village at Gates Canyon Park located at 25801 Thousand Oaks Boulevard, Calabasas. This playground is the first fully-accessible playground in the region. The day may include integrated play, face painting, arts and crafts, entertainment and treats.  Feel free to bring a sack lunch.

All children with and without disabilities and their families who want to spend a great day playing in the sunshine and making friends are invited to participate!

Brandon's Buddies gives children with disabilities the opportunity to play with their typically-able peers, while giving their parents a chance to share experiences and advice with other parents/caregivers.  It gives children without disabilities the chance to get to know their peers and gain greater awareness and compassion.

For more information, visit The K.E.N. Project website at www.kenproject.com or call 818.222.8118.  Or visit the KEN Project calendar at www.kenproject.com/calendar

Note from Conejo Joe: The group meets USUALLY (some exceptions noted) the first Saturday of each month from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm. But make sure to check in advance.  Or just show up.

Upcoming dates (as of 12/19/18): Jan 5, Feb 2, Mar 2, Apr 6, May 4, Jun 1, Jul 13, Aug 3, Sep 7, Oct 5, Nov 2, Dec 7.

Duck Pond at Conejo Creek Park North in Thousand Oaks

This is the largest duck pond that I'm aware of certainly in the Conejo Valley if not all of Ventura County. Conejo Creek Park North is a great park in Thousand Oaks with a creek running through it down to a pond full of duckies quacking around. There's also a pond at the top of the creek as the water recirculates. There must be a couple hundred ducks on hand at this park and they're pretty friendly.

You're really not supposed to be feeding the ducks but it is hard to resist. The problem though is that feeding bread to ducks is really bad for them because of all the refined sugar. They need cracked corn, oats and other grains. So while I do mention "feeding the ducks" in the video, if you're really interested in feeding them, stop by a feed store for some duck food if you want to do the right thing.  In any case, these ducks are cute and entertaining so go pay them as visit!

Chase Palm Park in Santa Barbara

Chase Palm Park in Santa Barbara is a huge park that sandwiches East Cabrillo Boulevard.  On the ocean side of Cabrillo the park consists of a palm-lined, narrow strip of park adjacent to East Beach with an oceanfront bike path and walkway from Stearns Wharf to East Beach.  This side of the park is host to Sunday/holiday arts and crafts shows.  The 14,600 square foot Skater's Point skate park is also located on this side of the park.

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Call 805.564.5418 for more information or visit www.santabarbaraca.gov/gov/depts/parksrec/parks/features/playgrounds/chase.asp.

On the other side of Cabrillo is a huge 10 acre parcel that features fountains, creeks, a lagoon, carousel, snack bar and a shipwreck playground modeled after an ocean schooner from the turn of the century.

The park is walking distance to Stearns Wharf, the beach, bike rentals, State Street, etc.

From 1999 to 2017, the park was home to a vintage 1916 40 foot in diamater carousel, The carousel was relocated to Fort Hood, Oregon to a museum.

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.

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

Juan Bautista de Anza Park in Calabasas

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The City of Calabasas' Juan Bautista de Anza Park at 3701 Lost Hills Road (corner of Lost Hills and Las Virgenes) has facility and recreation space available for rent. The rental space is ideal for birthday parties, holiday gatherings, corporate picnics, or company retreats.

There are three separate age appropriate play areas, a water fountain that shoots water streams eight feet into the air during the summer and a large sport court. This is a fun park that my kids always enjoy! Access to trails too!

Three large picnic areas are available. Each area seats 80 (240 combined). The park’s game and basketball courts may also be rented for party use. A multi-purpose room with panoramic views are also available for rental.

More information at www.cityofcalabasas.com/recreation/deanza.html or call 818.880.6461.

Indian Springs Park in Oak Park

Indian Springs Park, located at the corner of Rockfield Street and Hawthorne Drive in Oak Park, is a nice sized, flat residential park with a number of amenities. The park has two playgrounds (bigger kids and little kids), tennis courts, baseball fields, basketball court, restrooms and more. Visit www.rsrpd.org/oak_park/parks/indian_springs_park.php or call 805.584.4400 for more information.

This is one of the only local parks I can think of that has one of these metal spinner things (official terminology). I didn't last long on it as my kids pushed me around.
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Tomol Interpretative Play Area at Carpinteria State Beach

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Located at 390 Linden Avenue, Carpinteria, at the northern corner of Carpinteria State Beach Park, the Tomol Interpretive Play Area opened in 2011 through the cooperative efforts of California State Parks, the Morning Rotary Club of Carpinteria, and the City of Carpinteria.

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The play area, universally accessible by all visitors, features a Chumash Indian village with slides, cave, sandstone boulders, a "tomol" plank boat, rainbow bridge and other play structures. Definitely something to stop by and check out with your little ones when you are in the area.

The interpretive play area was awarded the Universal Access Award by California State Parks for “outstanding achievement in increasing universal access” by all visitors regardless of physical limitations.  www.carpinteriachamber.org/carpinteria-parks