The World's Biggest Bounce House Comes to Santa Barbara August 23-25

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The Big Bounce America, featuring the world’s largest bounce house, will be featured at Ellings Park in Santa Barbara Friday through Sunday, the weekend of August 23-25, 2019.

There are three featured attractions:

  • The World’s Biggest Bounche House is the largest bounce house in the world, featuring ball pits, climbing towers, live DJs, confetti blasts and more.

  • The Giant is a 900+ foot tall inflatable obstacle course.

  • AirSPACE is a bouncy attraction with friendly aliens, spaceships, giant planets, moon craters and more.

Three hour access tickets are available for a timed session on The World’s Biggest Bounce House and unlimited access to the other attractions at thebigbounceamerica.com/family/tickets.

Options include a Toddler Session (ages 3 and under) for $16 (Friday only), Junior Session (ages 7 and under) for $25 (Sat/Sun only), Bigger Kid Session (ages 15 and under) for $25 (Fri-Sun) and Adults Only Session (ages 16+) for $30 (Sat/Sun only).

Must wear socks at all times.

Kids Bowl Free This Summer at Various Ventura County Bowling Centers

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Here's a great summer deal that will bowl you over! Bowling alleys across the country are offering Kids Bowl Free deals during the summer months once again this year!

Up to two games per kid on designated days and times, subject to lane availability. Note that applicable ages for Kids Bowl Free vary up to 15 to 18.

The deal also does not apply to parties, camps and other organized events. And lastly, the deal does not include bowling shoe rental. With no further ado, here are local alleys in Ventura County and nearby areas that are participating in Kids Bowl Free!

NOTE: You first must visit www.kidsbowlfree.com and register with specific bowling alleys. After registering your children, you will receive coupons via email or through mobile devices, and in turn redeem them at the time of purchase. In addition to the 2 FREE Games, you may be able to purchase a family package (at participating centers) and generally must pay for standard shoe rental rates at the time of bowling.

Buena Lanes in Ventura will offer Kids Bowl Free Monday through Thursday from 10am to 2pm for kids 15 and under, from May 28 to August 28, 2019

Harley's Camarillo Bowl will offer Kids Bowl Free Monday through Friday from 9am to 4pm for kids 18 and under, from June 3 to August 30, 2019.

Harley's Simi Bowl will offer Kids Bowl Free Monday through Friday from 9am to 4pm for kids 18 and under, from June 3 to August 30, 2019.

Harley's Valley Bowl will offer Kids Bowl Free Monday through Friday from 9am to 4pm for kids ages 18 and under, from June 3 to August 30, 2019.

Winnetka Bowl in Canoga Park will offer Kids Bowl Free May 1 to August 30, 2019, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 9am to 4pm and Thursday from noon to 4pm for kids 15 and under.

Zodo's Bowling and Beyond in Santa Barbara will offer Kids Bowl Free June 1 to September 1, 2019, 7 days a week to kids 16 and under from 9am (8:30 Sat/Sun) to 4pm.

Click this link to pin down information about all the local Ventura County area bowling alleys.

2017 Summer Meal Service Sites in Ventura County

If you know of folks with school aged children in need of a meal during the summer months, there are some useful tools available to help them. 

An example of what you receive when you text "food" to 877877. 

An example of what you receive when you text "food" to 877877. 

No Kid Hungry has made this simple. Just text “food” to 877-877 (or “comida” for a reply in Spanish). You will receive a prompt reply asking for your address or zip code. After submitting that, you will be given local meal site options. No Kid Hungry developed this system with the USDA.

Or you can visit www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks to find a meal site via on online map.

Lastly, you can also visit the California Department of Education website at www.cde.ca.gov/ds/sh/sn/summersites17.asp to find local meal sites throughout California. Or drill down specifically to Ventura County sites at www.cde.ca.gov/ds/sh/sn/ap/summersites.asp?year=2017&countyname=Ventura.

Generally the sites are open from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm but contact the specific site to verify. The Conejo Valley USD sites are open until 1 pm. There are no income parameters associated with this program. You just need to be between the ages of 2 and 18.

(Special thanks to Katrina R, who tipped us off to the handy No Kid Hungry text system.)

New Playground Equipment at Walnut Grove Park in Thousand Oaks

The Conejo Recreation and Park District recently introduced new and improved, raceway-themed playground equipment at Walnut Grove Park, 400 Windtree Avenue, Thousand Oaks.

This 6 acre neighborhood park also has an off-leash dog area, basketball courts a handball court (not many of these around town) and a large grassy area. No restrooms, however. www.crpd.org/parkfac/parks/walnutgrove.asp

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Self-Sealing Water Balloons are Saving Me Hours of Time This Summer!

As a parent of two boys and trusty husband, willing to be at the beck and call of serving the needs of my family, one of the most dreaded requests I receive is, "please fill up the water balloons." 

Yes, even here in drought-stricken Southern California, we're entitled to some fun with water balloons every now and then. They actually don't take a lot of water to fill them. But filling them and tying them rank fairly high on my list of dreaded tasks. It just takes awhile to do, some of them pop in my face, tying them is a pain in the next, etc.

So when I came across these "self-sealing" water balloons, I was intrigued. Do they really work? Are they worth it? (They are a bit more expensive than buying a standard package of water balloons.) 

So with little ado, I purchased several packages of these Zuru "Bunch O Balloons" and hid them away in the garage. Then finally I decided to surprise the kids with them.

Odd little buggers. Basically each package (which costs roughly $11 to $14) comes with 3 bunches of balloons attached to a hose connector. Each balloon has a tiny rubber band pre-attached to it. You screw the connector to the hose, turn the hose on, and the balloons start filling up. Within seconds, they start popping off the connector, each balloon nicely tied up and ready to become a projectile missile!

It was beautiful. Except when the kids started chasing me around the backyard, nailing me repeatedly with them. I was soaked, but thrilled that I didn't have to spend an hour filling the balloons up in back-breaking fashion.

I was amazed at how easy this was and how well it worked. Out of the initial two packages of balloons (200 in total), a single balloon has a leak.

Was it worth it!? Absolutely. For roughly 12 cents per balloon, it saved me hours of backbreaking time filling these up. I'm definitely buying more! Check it out and have fun!

Dinosaur Fossils Exhibit at California Oil Museum in Santa Paula Sept 26 to Jan 24

Skull (Cast) of a Velociraptor (Velociraptor mongeoliensis).  Actual size of the late Cretaceous dinosaur.  Gobi Desert of Mongolia and China. 

Skull (Cast) of a Velociraptor (Velociraptor mongeoliensis).  Actual size of the late Cretaceous dinosaur.  Gobi Desert of Mongolia and China. 

Don’t miss the California Oil Museum’s newest exhibit of fearsome fossils that will take you back to when dinosaurs dominated the planet. Experience that primordial time on earth and learn how these massive beasts lived and died. Come and see actual fossils of T. Rex, Triceratops and Pterodactyls and many more! Included in the exhibit is a replica field excavation site showing how Paleontologists dig up these ancient bones. On Opening day only (September 26th) be sure to join us for exciting family fun junior paleontology activities including unearthing fossils, identifying your find, and creating a fossil cast you can take home.

The exhibit will also include a Color Your Dino station and the movie Dinosaur 13 which documents the story of “Sue”, the most complete T. Rex fossil ever found.

The California Oil Museum is located at 1001 East Main Street in Santa Paula.  Hours are Wednesday through Friday, 10am to 4pm.  Admission is FREE: Suggested donation is $4.  Digging Up The Past opens September 26th, 2015 and runs to January 24th, 2016. For more information call 805-933-0076 or visit www.caoilmuseum.org.

From Jurassic to the Cretaceous, Dinosaurs were the dominate species on Earth. It was during the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event that led to the demise of this diverse and amazing group of animals that are the ancestors of many animals we see today. As currently known, all dinosaurs belong to one of two major groups, the saurischians and the ornithischians. From the onset of their long evolutionary history, ornithischians and saurischians already show the features characteristic of these groups. Ornithischians, like the Edmontosaurus, Triceratops, and Stegosaurus, comprise a series of plant-eating dinosaurs such as the armored stegosaurs and ankylosaurs, the duckbills and their kin, and the horned and dome-headed dinosaurs. Saurischians include the meat-eating theropods (the renowned Tyrannosaurus and Velociraptor among them) and the plant-eating sauropodomorphs (such as the gigantic Apatosaurus). With the discovery of a large deposit of fossils in the 1990’s in China, feathered dinosaurs became much more understood. Many new species were documented and new fossil evidence shows a number of non-avian dinosaurs are now known to have been feathered, such as the Velociraptor, thrilling the scientific world. 

“Terrible Lizards” they are not—instead they represent a separate group of reptiles that did not exhibit characteristics traditionally seen as reptilian such as their posture.  Once to have thought to be sluggish and cold-blooded research has indicated that all dinosaurs were active animals with elevated metabolisms.

Since the early 19th century dinosaurs have been major attractions at museums around the world and collectors worldwide have coveted their bones.  Monstrous and fantastic, these animals have inspired the imagination of many books and films such as the well-known movie Jurassic Park.  Scientific enthusiasm has resulted in significant funding and new discoveries are regularly redefining the world of dinosaurs.

Ribbon Cutting for Phase I of Rotary Dreamcatcher Playground in Thousand Oaks Took Place Today

Working with the Conejo Recreation and Park District, the Rotary Club of Thousand Oaks Sunrise has been working to raise $500,000 by 2016 to expand and refurbish the existing special needs playground at Old Meadows Park in Thousand Oaks. The Therapeutic Recreation Unit of CRPD provides special programs for residents with disabilities and is located at the park. The playground, available to special needs and all children, has been named the Rotary Dreamcatcher Playground.

Today the ribbon cutting for the $300,000 Phase I of the project took place. Phase I expands the size of the playground and contains mat surfacing, rolling turf hills, large shaded areas, tree log swings, seagull swings, harmony chimes, hammocks, pod seats, picnic tables and many other cool features.

Phase I was possible due to the tremendous fundraising efforts of the Rotary, CRPD and Play Conejo and with generous grants from the Tull Family Foundation, County of Ventura, Farmer’s Insurance, City of Thousand Oaks, the TO Rotary Club and the Rotary Foundation, Kenrose Kitchen Foundation, Verizon, CBC Federal Credit Union, and Harrison Industries.

Old Meadows Park is located at 1600 Marview Drive, Thousand Oaks, off of Erbes Road.

Phase I is done but the fundraising continues! Visit www.rotarydreamcatcher.org to learn more and to support the effort.

New Splash Pad and Picnic Shelters at Rancho Tapo Community Park

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A new and improved splash pad was set to premier on Friday, May 22nd BUT HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED TO NEXT WEEK at Rancho Tapo Community Park in Simi Valley. The new splash pad is 55% larger, has a water treatment and recycling system and had three different play areas! Yay!