The Pond is Back Near the Rancho Sierra Vista - Satwiwa Parking Area in Newbury Park

After weeks off and on rains in the area, the pond is back next to the main parking area at Rancho Sierra Vista - Satwiwa in Newbury Park, part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

Having lived in the Conejo Valley for over 20 years, I remember years ago when the pond seemed to fill up most every year and gradually dry up by early summertime. But this hasn't been the case over the last five or six years.

Based on how it looked today, and with another big storm on the way on Sunday, this pond is looking good to go for awhile.

And this means other ponds in the area are filling up, like Twin Ponds in Dos Vientos, as well as the waterfall in the Boney Mountain Wilderness.

The Waterfall in the Boney Mountain Wilderness earlier this week (Photo Credit Vanessa C.)

The Waterfall in the Boney Mountain Wilderness earlier this week (Photo Credit Vanessa C.)

Rare Images of Ventura County History on Display at CSUCI Beginning January 26th

Ladies in feathered hats boarding the first train from Oxnard to Hueneme; a Model T Ford clattering through a beet field and the opening ceremony for the Conejo Grade are some of the images available in a newly-digitized collection at CSU Channel Islands’ John Spoor Broome Library.

About 40 historic photos of Ventura County from the collection will be on display in the John Spoor Broome Library art gallery beginning Jan. 26 in “Ventura County: Places, Voices and Histories,” a series of photographs, penny post cards, and posters that show Ventura County over the last 100 or so years.

The opening for the exhibit will be Thursday Jan. 26 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the gallery at One University Drive in Camarillo.

Professor of Art and Broome Gallery coordinator Irina D. Costache, Ph.D., curated the show, which is organized in collaboration with CSUCI’s Head of Unique Collections Matt Cook and Professor of Chicana/o Studies Jose Alamillo, Ph.D.

The show will be organized into sections that highlight different aspects of Ventura County’s history such as cars and roads, people, places, fields and farms.

Historic “voices” in the show will be in the form of a video of Ventura County’s “braceros,” a term to describe Mexican laborers who worked in the fields on a seasonal basis. 

Cook said it took staff and student volunteers several years to digitize all 1500 images in the collection, much of which was housed at the E.P. Foster Library in Ventura.

Limited parking is available on campus with the purchase of a $6 daily permit; follow signs to the parking permit dispensers. Free parking is available at the Camarillo Metrolink Station/Lewis Road with bus service to and from the campus. Riders should board the CSUCI Vista Bus to the campus; the cash-only fare is $1.25 each way. Buses arrive and depart from the Camarillo Metrolink Station every 30 minutes from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday. For exact times, check the schedule at www.goventura.org.

About California State University Channel Islands
CSU Channel Islands (CSUCI) is the only four-year, public university in Ventura County and is known for its interdisciplinary, multicultural and international perspectives, and its emphasis on experiential and service learning. CSUCI’s strong academic programs focus on business, sciences, liberal studies, teaching credentials, and innovative master’s degrees. Students benefit from individual attention, up-to-date technology, and classroom instruction augmented by outstanding faculty research. CSUCI has been designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is committed to serving students of all backgrounds from the region and beyond. Connect with and learn more by visiting CSUCI’s Social Media.

Dorothy's Chuck Wagon Cafe Captured in Oil Painting by Local Artist, Linda Dark

Dorothy's Chuck Wagon Cafe is located in Old Town Camarillo at 2344 Ventura Boulevard, serving home-style breakfast and lunch Monday through Saturday. Their phone number is 805.987.2167.

Linda Dark is an artist has lived in Camarillo since 1978. She enjoys capturing local landmarks in oil on canvas, including her latest work piece above. Check out her work at www.camarillolandmarks.com.

The Chuck Wagon Cafe has been here for quite some time. According to the Pleasant Valley Historical Society, the building was built in 1944 and was owned by Larry Logue, who opened Larry's Malt Shop in 1946. It soon became Carmen's Snack Bar, owned by Ed and Carmen Quinn. Dorothy Johnson took over as new owner in 1983.

OldestRestaurants.com has a compilation of the oldest restaurants that are still in operation at the same location in California. Dorothy's Chuck Wagon Cafe is one of the oldest eateries in Ventura County, following the Golden Chicken Inn in Oxnard (the oldest still standing restaurant in Ventura County; founded in 1929) and Familia Diaz in Santa Paula (1936).

Also on that list as opening in 1946 are Casa Escobar (which closed its Westlake Village location last Fall) and El Tecolote in Camarillo.

A more recent view of Dorothy's Chuck Wagon Cafe.

A more recent view of Dorothy's Chuck Wagon Cafe.

Ventura County Area Daily Deals, Coupons and Other Bargain Hunting Websites

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Launched in November 2008, Groupon popularized the deal-a-day concept for daily discounted "coupons" or gift certificates good for deals at local retailers and service providers, such as spa treatments, classes, restaurants, massages, tanning salons, haircuts, offering 50% to as much as 90% off retail price.

There are now hundreds of daily deal sites around the world. Locally here in the Conejo Valley and Greater Ventura County, ConejoDeals.com was the first site to launch a daily deal program, back in April 2010.

Below are websites that offer daily deals, anytime deals and/or good old fashioned coupons in the Ventura County area*:

ConejoDeals.com - Daily deals centered in the Conejo Valley and surrounding areas.

SimiDeals.com - Companion site launched by owners of ConejoDeals.com.

BlueList was launched in 2015 by the technology arm of NewMark Merrill, which develops and manages numerous shopping centers, including the local Janss Marketplace in Thousand Oaks. Download the app and receive local deals on your smartphone or online at getbluelist.com.

Travelzoo.com - Offers a variety of discounted packages for restaurants, activities and getaways in the Central Coast and San Fernando Valley areas.

Conejo Valley Corridor - Offers a discount card fundraising program that benefits local schools and non-profits while offering everyday discounts at numerous local area businesses.

Groupon Ventura County - Groupon started this VC daily deal site in October 2010.

LivingSocial.com Ventura County - Came to Ventura County in April 2011.

Bogopod.com - Has both everyday printable coupons and limited time vouchers that are usually available a day or two. Covers businesses throughout Ventura County.

Restaurant.com - Offers an array of discount gift certificates at local restaurants. Worth checking out. Do be aware of minimum purchase requirements when you buy.

MOGL.com - Sign up and receive 10% cash back when you dine at over 100 local restaurants. For each dollar members earn, MOGL puts 10 cents into a jackpot which then goes to the top 3 customers at every restaurant every month!

LocalFlavor.com offers a number of deals in the Ventura County area.

Sweet Deals Ventura County offers a number of special deals at Ventura County businesses.

The Coupon Shopping Network offers special deals at a variety of Conejo Valley and other Ventura County based businesses.

MoneyMailer.com - Offers printable coupons for hundreds of local businesses as well as a mobile app. Type in your zip code and look for coupons when you need them.

LocalSaver.com - Printable coupons for local restaurants, retailers and service providers.

CouponsAndMoreVentura.com - Printable coupons for businesses in the Ventura area.

CouponsAndMoreOxnard.com - Printable coupons for businesses in the Oxnard area.

* Note that this list is current as of January 2017 but is subject to change at any time. Feel free to CONTACT US with any notable changes.

Amazon Local announced it closed its local deals site effective 12/18/15.

Jumping and Climbing Options In and Around Ventura County

If your kids are bouncing off the walls around the house and need to jump off some steam, perhaps they need a new environment for jumping and/or climbing in and around Ventura County. Here are some options to consider.

Sky High Sports - The Trampoline Place, is located at 166 Aviador Street in Camarillo, offering wall to wall trampolines where you can literally jump off both the floors and the walls to your heart's content. Dodgeball and other fun activities also await you.  There's also a Sky High Sports in Woodland Hills.

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Sky Zone Trampoline Park is located at 2825 Johnson Drive in east Ventura. Similar to Sky High, Sky Zone offers wall to wall trampolines with open jump sessions, a "SkySlam" court and more.

Platinum Sports Center is located at 160 W. Cochran Street in Simi Valley, offering, among many other things, an indoor trampoline court for bouncing off the walls and play slam dunk volleyball, dodgeball and other fun activities during open gym time.

Boulderdash Indoor Rock Climbing is at 880 Hampshire Road, Suite A, Thousand Oaks, 10,000 sq ft climbing area with sections ranging from 25 feet to 45 feet tall. Fun for all ages. We've enjoyed some fun birthday parties here. Boulderdash also has a facility in Chatsworth.

The Agoura Hills/Calabasas Community Center at 27040 Malibu Hills Road, Calabasas features, among other things, a 35 foot rock climbing wall.

Santa Barbara Rock Gym is an 8,500 sq ft facility located at 322 State Street, Santa Barbara.

Not for the inexperienced...rock climbing at Westward Beach in Malibu.

Not for the inexperienced...rock climbing at Westward Beach in Malibu.

For more seasoned climbers, there is a sheer cliff used by rock climbers at Westward Beach in Malibu as well as near the Rock Pool at Malibu Creek State Park.

Free Admission Days at Museums in Ventura County and Adjacent Areas

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The "Do Something" section of Conejo Valley Guide highlights over 250 things to do throughout Ventura County and surrounding areas, including over four dozen museums. Let's take a closer look at the museums on the list that offer free admission days. The information below of course is subject to change, so be sure to contact the museums first to confirm.

Historic Dudley House Museum in Ventura is open the 1st Sunday of the month most of the year and admission is free (donations encouraged).

Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center at Channel Islands National Park located at the Ventura Harbor is open year-round free of admission.

Admission is free year-round at the Reagan Ranch Center Exhibit Galleries in Santa Barbara on State Street in front of the Amtrak Station.

Ojai Valley Museum offers free admission the 1st Friday of each month.

Santa Barbara Historical Museum offers free admission year-round; donations are welcomed.

Santa Barbara Maritime Museum offers free admission the 3rd Thursday of each month.

Museum of Ventura County’s Agriculture Museum in Santa Paula offers free admission on the 1st Sunday of the month.

The unique Woolworth Museum in Downtown Oxnard is free to enter year-round.

Channel Islands Maritime Museum offers free admission on the 3rd Thursday of each month.

Nethercutt Museum in Sylmar offers free admission year-round to its showcase of vintage cars.

1956 Rolls Royce Phantom Saloon at Nethercutt Automotive Museum

1956 Rolls Royce Phantom Saloon at Nethercutt Automotive Museum

Admission to the Conejo Valley Art Museum is free year-round.

U.S. Navy Seabee Museum in Port Hueneme offers year-round free admission.

Free Family Days at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History on the third Sunday of January, February, March, April, September, October, November, and December. No free days in May, June, July and August.

Free admission at the Museum of Ventura County in Downtown Ventura the 1st Sunday of the month.

There is no admission charge at the Pleasant Valley Historical Museum and Botanical Garden in Camarillo.

For the largest collection of skateboards, scooters and related memorabilia perhaps anywhere, visit the Skateboard Museum at Skatelab in Simi Valley! Free admission!

Santa Paula Art Museum offers free admission on the 1ST Wednesday of the month.

The Santa Susana Depot and Museum in Simi Valley is open to the public on weekends, free of charge.

Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles offers free year-round admission.

Aviation Museum of Santa Paula is open the 1st Sunday of each month with no admission charge.

Kidspace Kids Museum in Pasadena offers Free Family Night from 4pm to 8pm the 1st Tuesday of each month, except September.

The Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades is free of charge year-round.

Bank of America offers free admission to over 150 museums around the country the first full weekend of each month.

You like FREE!? Click here for hundreds of other free activities and things in and around Ventura County!

There's an annual "Museums Free-For-All" day at various Los Angeles area museums. Visit www.socalmuseums.org/free-for-all for more information.

Over 40 Things to Do in the City of Simi Valley

The City of Simi Valley was incorporated on October 10, 1969, making it the 2nd youngest of the 10 cities in Ventura County (Moorpark was incorporated in 1983). It is the 3rd largest city in Ventura County in population (approximately 127,000 in 2014), following Oxnard and Thousand Oaks.

What do all those people like to do in the City of Simi Valley? Well here we will tell you things to do there.

Trails and Hikes and Outdoors

View from Mt McCoy Trail Peak

View from Mt McCoy Trail Peak