Happy Face Hill in Simi Valley Shown in Green and Not So Green Times

"Happy Face Hill" was created by Northridge gardener Sonny Klamerus in 1998, making it 19 years old.  This video documents the changes in its looks over the last several years. The hill is seen by westbound drivers on the 118 freeway just west of Kuehner Drive.

 Happy Face Hill in mid-December 2018 looking happier than ever with some nice, bright, apparently new set of LEDs.

Happy Face Hill in mid-December 2018 looking happier than ever with some nice, bright, apparently new set of LEDs.

Trolley Services in Ventura County and Surrounding Areas

 Trolley seen around town in Westlake Village

Trolley seen around town in Westlake Village

The term "trolley" is derived from a grooved conductive wheel attached to a pole that "trolls," or pulls along, an overhead wire to transfer electricity to a streetcar. The first large-scale trolley line in the world, the Richmond Union Passenger Railway, was a 12 mile system that opened on February 12, 1888 in Richmond, Virginia. This trolley service operated until November 25, 1949. 

You don't see many trolley buses anymore (San Francisco's historic streetcars are a well known exception), but here in Ventura County and adjacent areas we do have some electric trolleys in operation!

Camarillo: The City of Camarillo provides free trolley bus service seven days a week, with 10 stops at various shopping centers in town.

Ojai: The City of Ojai's Ojai Trolley Service has operated since 1989, providing low cost fixed route service with 45 stops over roughly five miles in Ojai, Meiners Oaks and Mira Monte.

Ventura:  The Downtown Ventura-Harbor Trolley provides year-round free service to local shopping, tourist and hotel locations over an hour-long route, Wednesday through Sunday.

Calabasas: Just east of us, City of Calabasas offers free trolley service on Saturdays at 24 stops at various shopping and other venues.

Westlake Village: A free trolley service is offered by the City of Westlake Village from time to time on Friday/Saturday nights, including the winter holiday time frame and summer months.

Santa Barbara: The Santa Barbara Trolley Company is a commercial service that provides trolley tours to some of the area's great tourist venues seven days a week, year-round.

Birthday Party Places In and Around Ventura County

Trying to figure out what to do for your kids' birthday parties in and around Ventura County? We've got you covered with this compilation of over 150 birthday party options in and around Ventura County, spanning from Ventura to Camarillo, Thousand Oaks, Moorpark, Simi Valley, Westlake Village, Newbury Park and surrounding areas. We have categorized venue by "type" as best we can.  Contact us if you have something to add!

Wedding Reception Venues In Ventura County and Surrounding Areas

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Conejo Valley Guide focuses primarily on events, activities and things to do in the Conejo Valley, Ventura County and surrounding areas.

Since we're out and about so much, we thought it might be helpful to have a comprehensive list of over 170 local wedding, wedding reception and meeting venues.

(Contact us for additions/edits to this list.)

Simi Valley Wedding Reception Venues

Moorpark, Somis Wedding Reception Venues

Ojai, Santa Paula, Fillmore, Piru Wedding Reception Venues

Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, Goleta

The Twin Ponds Conservation Area in the Conejo Open Space is Protected Land

The Twin Ponds Conservation Area in the Dos Vientos section of Newbury Park is part of the public open space lands of the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency and is protected by a conservation easement to the California Department of Fish and Game.

 July 2014

July 2014

 January 2015

January 2015

 May 2016

May 2016

The ponds were originally constructed in the 1920s as part of the irrigation system for agricultural and cattle ranching operations at Dos Vientos Ranch. Today they serve as important habitat for Two Striped Garter Snakes and larger animals such as deer, bobcat, coyote and mountain lions that depend on a reliable source of water. Migrating waterfowl are occasionally abundant, especially in winter.

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COSCA and Fish & Game ask that we enjoy this scenic area but protect the ponds for the future and ask that we do not enter the water or allow dogs/horses to enter the water, disturb or remove any animal or plant or place any plants or animals, including fish, into the ponds.

To explore the ponds, take the Vista Del Mar Trail from one of several access points in the Dos Vientos area, including the corner of Via Ricardo and Via Rincon and the corner of Rancho Dos Vientos and Via El Cerro. This is a fun little hike to take the kids on and the ponds are only about a mile from the Via Ricardo/Via Rincon trailhead.

 Twin Ponds? What ponds? The ponds are completely dried up as of August/September 2016.

Twin Ponds? What ponds? The ponds are completely dried up as of August/September 2016.

Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream, Gelato and Other Frozen Treats Around Ventura County

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Here's a handy list of frozen yogurt, ice cream and gelato places in and around Ventura County for your dining pleasure. There are over 90 such establishments in Ventura County and surrounding areas.

(Current as of 10/23/18. Things change...call to confirm....let us know of any changes!)

Conejo Valley (TO/WLV/NP)

Ventura/Ojai/Santa Paula

Thrifty Ice Cream, a brand that brings me visions of childhood joy, is still around at Rite Aid stores throughout Ventura County.

Frozen Yogurt/Ice Cream Graveyard

Volunteer Opportunities in Ventura County

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Looking for a job? Why not help yourself by filling in the gaps in your resume with new experiences while helping others! Or if you are just looking to give back to the local community, there are hundreds of opportunities to volunteer throughout Ventura County. Here's where to find volunteer opportunities:

The United Way of Ventura County hosts www.VolunteerVenturaCounty.org, which lists numerous upcoming volunteer opportunities.

Since 1998, VolunteerMatch.org has helped volunteers find over 4 million volunteer matches at over 60,000 non-profits across the country. You type in your zip code and in my case today it identified over 200 volunteer opportunities within a 20 mile radius of Newbury Park.

Or visit the Local Charities section of Conejo Valley Guide and you'll find over 100 Ventura County area non-profit organizations, most of which could use your help. I clicked a few and found plenty of volunteer needs publicized on each entity's website, like MANNA Food Bank, L.I.F.E. Animal Rescue in Agoura, Hospice of the Conejo, Friends of the Thousand Oaks Library, and CareGivers - Volunteers Assisting the Elderly.

You could also join one of over 80 service organizations in the Service Clubs section of CVG. The Rotary, Kiwanis, Optimist, Assistance League, Lions Club and other organizations provide needed services to others in need. 

The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary seeks volunteers ages 17 and up to join its local Channel Islands flotilla. Bring the USCG AUX your skills or join to develop your leadership skills through numerous free classes and workshops offered. The USCG AUX was established by Congress in 1939 to assist the Coast Guard in promoting boating safety. Volunteers assist the Coast Guard in non-law enforcement programs such as safety patrols, search and rescue, maritime security, vessel safety checks, public safe boating classes and watchstanding. Visit www.d11s.org for more information.

Habitat for Humanity of Ventura County seeks volunteers for its ReStores, with shifts available Tuesday through Saturday. Visit www.habitatventura.org/habitat-restore-merchandising to learn more and sign up.

Volunteer opportunities in Thousand Oaks: toaks.org/departments/human-resources/volunteer

Volunteer opportunities in Simi Valley: www.simivalley.org/index.aspx?page=355

Volunteer opportunities in Ventura: www.cityofventura.net/volunteeropportunities

Volunteer opportunities in Camarillo: www.cityofcamarillo.org/departments/city_clerk/volunteer_citizen_appointment.php

Volunteer opportunities in Moorpark: moorparkca.gov/389/Volunteering-in-Moorpark

Volunteering in the City of Westlake Village: www.wlv.org/index.aspx?nid=320

City of Agoura Hills Volunteers on Patrol: www.ci.agoura-hills.ca.us/department/police-and-fire/volunteers-on-patrol-vop

Volunteer opportunities in Calabasas: www.cityofcalabasas.com/volunteer.html

Volunteering for the County of Ventura: www.ventura.org/employment/volunteering-for-the-county-of-ventura

How about the National Park Service? Check the local Santa Monica Mountains volunteer opportunities and Channel Islands National Park volunteer opps.

Also check out the volunteer opportunities with the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.

There are shelters and meal providers throughout Ventura County that could use your help too.