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 8/11/18. 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

Counting Crows in the Conejo Valley and Nearby Communities

Counting crows. Maybe not literally, but figuratively, in the skies of the Conejo Valley, Simi Valley and beyond. We see the crows in the hundreds flying west in the morning and east in the evening ever so frequently here. These fellows were seen from the Conejo Valley Plaza, Moorpark and Janss Roads, the night of August 9, 2018.

Speaking of birds, the Conejo Valley Audubon Society hosts birding activities year-round.

Go Bowling in Ventura County - Fun For All Ages!

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As you can see in Conejo Valley Guide, there is no shortage of things to do in Ventura County.  But how many of you have bowled recently?

Archaeologists found ancient bowling balls and bowling pins in an Egyptian grave site in the 1930s that date back to 3200 B.C., thus making bowling the world's oldest documented sport.  The first indoor bowling alley was Knickerbockers of New York City in 1840.

But who cares!  Here are six reasons to go bowling:

  • You don't have to dress up. In fact, you can rent ugly shoes to bowl.
  • Retractable bumpers make bowling more fun little ones and terrible bowlers alike.
  • Bowling teaches kids math and geometry skills. Well, kind of.
  • Bowling is a great team building activity.
  • Bowling is an activity where striking is a good thing.
  • Beer and bowling go together nicely (and in my case actually seems to improve my score).
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So go support one of these local bowling alleys.  You will have fun.  Bring the little ones.

Bowling in the Conejo Valley!? Nope. Not since, 1995, when the 40 lane Conejo Village Bowl closed. It was located where Borders was until January 2010 and various county medical services now reside. Conejo Village Bowl opened in June 1960, as did the short-lived Acorn Bowl, which was located at 3089 Ventura Boulevard (subsequently renamed Thousand Oaks Boulevard).

 Acorn Bowl Thousand Oaks in the early 1960s (Photo Credit: City of Thousand Oaks Library, Pat Allen Slide Collection - Thousand Oaks Boulevard Survey)

Acorn Bowl Thousand Oaks in the early 1960s (Photo Credit: City of Thousand Oaks Library, Pat Allen Slide Collection - Thousand Oaks Boulevard Survey)

Farmers' Markets and Farm Fresh Produce Around Ventura County

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Looking for fresh produce in Ventura County? "Lettuce" help you! There are over a dozen farmers' markets in and around Ventura County each week, not to mention another dozen or so stores and Community Supported Agriculture programs that sell organic produce.

Times, dates and places subject to change. Let us know of any updates!

FARMERS' MARKETS (In "day of the week" order)

VENTURA: Wednesdays 9 am to 1 pm at Pacific View Mall in front of Red Robin. Call 805.529.6266. vccfarmersmarkets.com/ventura

OXNARD: Thursdays 9 am to 2 pm at Plaza Park, 5th and C Streets. Call 805.247.0197. www.oxnardfarmersmarket.com

THOUSAND OAKS: Thursdays 1:30 pm to 6 pm at the The Oaks Mall east parking lot. Produce, flowers, food and more! vccfarmersmarkets.com/thousand-oaks 

VENTURA: Thursdays 3 pm to 7 pm at Ventura Community Park, 901 South Kimball Road Visit www.facebook.com/EastandWestVenturaFarmersMarket for more information. Open rain or shine.

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SIMI VALLEY: Fridays 11 am to 3:30 pm at Simi Valley Civic Center Plaza, 2757 Tapo Canyon Rd., next to TGI Friday's. www.coastalpacific.info/simi_valley.php or 805.643.6458 

VENTURA: Saturdays 8:30 am to noon at corner of Palm and Santa Clara Streets. Call 805.529.6266 or visit vccfarmersmarkets.com/ventura

CAMARILLO: Saturdays 8 am to noon 2220 Ventura Boulevard camarillofarmersmarket.com. Proceeds benefit Camarillo Hospice. Call 805.386.3584.

CALABASAS: Saturdays 8 am to 1 pm in Old Town Calabasas on Calabasas Road west of El Canon Avenue (across from Sagebrush Cantina). Call 818.591.8161.

VENTURA: Saturdays and Sundays from 8 am to 3 pm at Ventura College, 4667 Telegraph Road is the Ventura College Foundation Marketplace. Fresh produce, nursery plants, flowers and more offered. www.venturacollege.edu/departments/administrative/foundation/marketplace

WESTLAKE VILLAGE: Sundays 10 am to 2 pm at 2797 Agoura Road (Village Glen). Call 818.591.8161. www.facebook.com/WestlakeVillageFM

OJAI: Sundays 9 am to 1 pm at 300 E. Matilija Street year-round, rain or shine. Produce, flowers and gourmet food. Call 805.698.5555. www.ojaicertifiedfarmersmarket.com.

OXNARD/CHANNEL ISLANDS HARBORSundays 10 am to 2 pm at 2805 South Harbor Boulevard year-round. Call 805.643.6458.

MALIBU: Sundays 10 am to 3 pm at Malibu Library Parking Lot, 23555 Civic Center Way. www.malibufarmersmarket.net

LOCAL STORES WITH FRESH PRODUCE:

Underwood Family Farms Market at 3370 Sunset Valley Road, Moorpark has farm fresh produce, pickled items, honey, nuts, juices, dried beans, farm fresh eggs and fresh cut flowers. Moorpark location is usually closed from late December through February. Open 9am to 6pm March to November and weekends in December (5pm after DST). Call 805.529.3690.

Underwood Family Farms Market at 5696 E. Los Angeles Avenue in Somis is open every day year-round 9am to 6pm (5pm after DST) with the exception of some holidays. Call 805.386.4660.

 Underwood Family Farms Market in Moorpark.

Underwood Family Farms Market in Moorpark.

McGrath Family Farm at 505 North Wood Road, Camarillo is open March through December 9am to pm and offers organic fruits, flowers and vegetables.  Freeway convenient off the Central Avenue offramp of the 101. Call 805.983.0333.

Lassen's Natural Foods, with locations in Thousand Oaks, Oxnard, Camarillo, Ventura and Simi Valley, has offered fresh produce since 1971.

Sprouts Farmers Market sells local farm fresh produce as well as a full range of other grocery items, with local area locations at:

Whole Foods Market organic fresh produce and a full range of grocery items, with local locations in Thousand Oaks (740 N. Moorpark Road, Thousand Oaks) 805.777.4730 and Oxnard at The Collection (650 Town Center Drive) 805.751.4300

Green Acres Farm Market (2918 Los Angeles Avenue, Simi Valley) opened in 1968 and offers farm fresh produce, meat, fine wines and gourmet groceries. Call 805.526.1312.

A & F Country Market is at 4550 Olivas Park Drive in Ventura. From Thousand Oaks, take Victoria offramp from 101 south to Olivas Park and make a right. Store is on your left. Nice stop on your way to/from the Olivas Adobe and Ventura Harbor Village. 805.644.5470.

The Berry Best stand at 3030 Dodge Road (at Pleasant Valley Road, just east of Rice Avenue) is strawberry, fruit and vegetable stand. Call 805.271.4490.

Francisco's Fruits is located at 1782 E. Telegraph Road in Fillmore. Fruits, nuts, snacks, and more. Great place to buy citrus! www.facebook.com/FranciscosFruit 805.524.4616

Lil Red Barn is located at 100 S. Victoria Avenue in Oxnard, with seasonable produce like strawberries, avocados, vegetables and more. 805.382.0799

CSA (COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE) AND LOCAL DELIVERY PROGRAMS

Join the Farm! CSA delivers farm-fresh organic produce to your home. located at 4710 E. Hueneme Road, Oxnard. Call 805.246.1070.

Farmer and the Cook (339 W. El Roblar, Ojai) has a CSA with weekly organic produce pickups. Call 805.640.9608.

Rio Gozo Farm (1651 S. Rice Road, Ojai) has a CSA with weekly organic produce pickups. Call 805.272.8170.

Local Harvest Delivery is based in Santa Barbara and delivers harvest boxes to homes as far as Ventura and Ojai.

Deardorff Family Farms in Oxnard's CSA is called "Fresh Picks by Deardorff Organics."  Call 805.487.7801 x122 or visit www.deardorfffamilyfarms.com/fp

Hello Harvest local delivery service has been serving Ventura County since 2010. Visit their site or call 805.551.3454 for more information.

Abundant Harvest Organics offers local delivery service and several produce pickup sites in the Conejo Valley and Ventura county. Visit www.abundantharvestorganics.com.

The Camarillo Health Care District has partnered with Food Share to distribute a variety of free produce items on the 2nd Thursday of each month from 11am to 1pm. Supplies are limited.

Farmers' Market Websites:

Farm Bureau of Ventura County: www.farmbureauvc.com/consumers.html

California-Grown Certified Farmers Markets: www.cafarmersmarkets.com

Ventura County Certified Farmers Markets: www.vccfarmersmarkets.com

Coastal Pacific Farmers Markets: coastalpacificfm.com

Retired Farmers' Markets:

NEWBURY PARK: Fridays 2pm to 7pm (The Village at Dos Vientos Ranch). www.facebook.com/goldenstatecertifiedfm Announced on 12/9/13 that market is closed.

SIMI VALLEY: The Simi Valley Town Center Market was discontinued effective 11/26/14 after running for a year and a half.

AGOURA HILLS: Sundays 9 am to 2 pm at 5835 Kanan Road (Agoura's Famous Deli parking lot) closed 6/28/15.

CAMARILLO: Wednesdays 3-7pm Pleasant Valley Certified Farmers' Market at the Camarillo Community Center parking lot closed 9/30/15.

NEWBURY PARK: Saturdays 9 am to 2 pm at the Newbury Park Library parking lot (Borchard Road and Michael Drive)  www.facebook.com/newburyparkfarmersmarket is closed Feb 2017

OXNARD: Thursdays 4 pm to 8 pm at The Collection at RiverPark thecollectionrp.com/connect/news/detail/133/farmers-market-thursdays

Restaurant Rewards Programs and Birthday Freebies Around Ventura County

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It's nice finding Kids Eat Free deals around Ventura County but there are also dozens of local rewards programs and birthday clubs that give you something for FREE!!!

This list includes programs where you get something for signing up or for being a repeat customer...a free burger, gift card, dessert, etc. Excluded are programs that do not provide an obvious freebie (i.e. only sends you promotional emails).

These deals often change, so click through to the restaurant website to confirm the deal is still good. Let us know of any changes, broken links or additions!!

VENTURA COUNTY AREA DAILY DEALS AND PRINTABLE COUPON WEBSITES!

Domino's

Piece of the Pie Rewards: Order online and earn points towards free pizza.

Locations: All over the place!

El Pollo Loco

My Loco Rewards: Sign up and get a free taco al carbon and free birthday rewards.

Locations: Newbury Park, Thousand Oaks, Camarillo, Moorpark, Agoura Hills, Simi Valley (2), Oxnard (3), Santa Paula, Ventura

The Habit Burger Grill

CharClub: Receive special treat on your birthday. (I received a CharBurger with cheese for my birthday!)

Locations: Many in Ventura County

IHOP

Pancake Revolution: Free meal for signing up, on your birthday and on the 1 year anniversary of signup!

Locations: Newbury Park, Agoura Hills, Camarillo, Ventura, Oxnard, Fillmore, Carpinteria

Islands

Tiki Link: Free gift on your birthday and special promotions.

Locations: Agoura Hills, Newbury Park, Simi Valley

Jamba Juice

Jamba Insider Rewards: Earn points for each purchase by entering your mobile phone number to cash in for $3 discounts. Free birthday smoothie or juice.

Locations: Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, Camarillo, Newbury Park, Moorpark, Simi Valley, Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Ventura

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at The Commons at Calabasas offers a free ice cream on your birthday. Birthday guests can order any single, standard, or trio size ice cream in a cup or cone of their choice, and get their order free of charge.  The birthday special is only applicable on a customer’s day of birth. Adults must show a valid ID, and kids must be accompanied by an adult who can vouch that the day is their real birthday.

Jersey Mike's Subs

Email Club: Sign up and get special promotions. I was pleasantly surprised when I received an email with a coupon for a regular sub and 22 oz drink redeemable on my birthday).

Shore Points Club: Register and earn points for each sandwich purchased. Redeem points for sandwiches. For example, each regular sub earns you 6 points; with 12 purchases you've earned a free regular sub. Effectively this is an 8% discount.

Locations: Over a dozen locations...Ventura, Camarillo, Newbury Park, Ojai, Oxnard, Calabasas, Simi Valley, Moorpark, Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, etc.

Johnny Rockets

Rocket eClub: Sign up and get a free burger (with purchase of entree and a drink...basically a buy one, get one free) at signup and at your birthday.

Locations: Camarillo, Calabasas

Krispy Kreme

Krispy Kreme Rewards App: Register and get a free Original Glazed doughnut. Earn points towards free doughnuts and drinks and get a free gift on your birthday.

Location: 220 Riverpark Road, Oxnard

Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar

Gossip Hound Email List: Sign up and get free birthday and anniversary treats (dessert or appetizer)

Locations: Thousand Oaks and Oxnard

Maria's Italian Kitchen

Maria's Kitchen Club: Free birthday dessert. Earn $10 for every $200 spent (effectively a 5% discount). 

Locations: Agoura Hills and Oxnard

Menchie's Frozen Yogurt

My Smileage Club: Earn a Smile point for each dollar spent. Cash in 50 smiles for $5 towards a future purchase. That's a 10% rebate in my book!

Locations: The Oaks Mall in Thousand Oaks, The Collection at RiverPark in Oxnard, The Commons at Calabasas

Mimi's Cafe

E-Club: Free slice of crepe cake or two-pack of muffins or croissants for joining and free slice of crepe cake on your birthday.

Locations: Thousand Oaks, Ventura (Pacific View Mall)

MOGL is a rewards program where you sign up your credit card(s) and receive a percentage (usually 10%) cash back when you dine at restaurants in the MOGL program. They pay your rebates directly to your credit card.  As of June 2018, some of the local restaurants in the MOGL program include Greco's NY Pizza, Subzero Ice Cream, Zin Bistro, Petra Mediterranean, Karma Indian Cuisine, Tony's NY Pizza and Cupid's Hot Dogs Simi Valley.

Noah's New York Bagels

E-Club: Get a free bagel and shmear w/purchase with you sign up and a free egg sandwich w/purchase on your birthday

Locations: Thousand Oaks, Camarillo, Ventura

Old New York Deli

Deli Dough Loyalty Program: Earn 1 point for every $1 spent. 75 points  =  $5 in Deli Dough.

Locations: Camarillo and Newbury Park

Panera Bread

MyPanera: Sign up and receive a free "surprise" like a free pastry or sweet. Then receive other surprises as you accumulate points.

Locations: Camarillo, Oxnard, Ventura, Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley

Papa John's

PapaRewards: Earn 1 point for every $5 you order ONLINE (including tax and delivery). Accumulate points for food items.

Locations: Thousand Oaks, Moorpark, Simi Valley, Oxnard, Ventura and Camarillo

P.F. Chang's

P.F. Chang's Rewards gets you a free entree when you earn enough points.

Location: Thousand Oaks

Pieology

PieLife eClub: Receive a free pizza on your birthday (with purchase of an entree) and a free cinnamon churro pizza when you sign up.

Locations: Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks

Pizza Man Dan's

Pizza Lover's Club: Free pizza on your birthday and much more.

Locations: Ventura (2), Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Moorpark and Camarillo

PizzaRev

RevRewards App: Use the PizzaRev app and earn one point for each dollar spent. Exchange 100 points for a free pizza or entree salad. Also receive a birthday surprise.

Locations: Camarillo, Thousand Oaks

Poseidon Brewing Company

Free Birthday Pint! Oh yah, a free pint of craft beer on your birthday, with valid ID showing birthdate (and of course assuming you are of legal drinking age.

Location: 5777 Olivas Park Drive, Unit Q, Ventura

RedBrick Pizza

RedBrick Rewards: Earn 10 points for every dollar spent. Receive $10 reward for every 1000 points. Effectively a 10% discount. Receive a small gelato after registering.

Location: Ventura

Red Lobster

My Red Lobster Rewards: Earn points for your purchases and redeem for food items. Receive something on your birthday too.

Location: Oxnard

Red Robin

Red Robin Royalty: Free burger on your birthday and every 10th item free.

Locations: Simi Valley, Ventura, Thousand Oaks

Regency Theatres

Regency Rewards: Earn points on purchases. 10 points for each adult ticket...100 points gets you a free companion ticket.

Locations throughout the area.

Rita's Italian Ice of Newbury Park

Rita's Birthday Club: Sign up and receive free birthday treat.

Location: 2290 Borchard Road, Newbury Park

Rubio's

Beach Club: Receive free food offers, promotions, etc. via email. First email gets you a free fish taco.

Locations: Newbury Park, Oxnard, Simi Valley, Ventura

Sbarro

Sbarro E-Club: Receive free slice of NY style cheese pizza for signing up, plus special promotions.

Locations: Pacific View Mall in Ventura

Subway

Subway MyWay Rewards: Earn 4 tokens for every $1 spent on food and drinks. 200 tokens = $2 reward.

Locations: Everywhere

7 Eleven

7Rewards Loyalty Program: Download app on your smartphone, scan when you purchase coffee, Slurpees and other fountain drinks, and get 7th drink free. Not a bad deal!

Sharky's Woodfired Mexican Grill

Sharky's Rewards: Earn 1 point for every $1 spent. 100 points = $7 good toward future purchases. Effectively a 7% discount.

Locations: Calabasas, Camarillo, Newbury Park, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Ventura, Westlake Village and Woodland Hills.

Sprinkles

Sprinkles Perks: Receive free cupcake on your birthday, free cupcake upon registration, buy 15, get one free and more

Location: The Promenade at Westlake

Starbucks

My Starbucks Rewards: Members receive a free birthday drink or treat. Free refills and other items based on number of Stars collected over designated periods.

Locations: Everywhere (where is there NOT a Starbucks?)

SweetFrog Frozen Yogurt

Sweet Rewards: Sign up and get a free cup of frozen yogurt on your birthday. Visit 10 times and get a free cup.

Location: Camarillo

T.G.I. Friday's

Friday's Rewards Program: Earn points and redeem for food awards. Also receive free appetizer or dessert after joining, free dessert w/purchase of entree on your birthday and more.

Locations: Oxnard, Simi Valley

Tilted Kilt

Kilt Clan: Sign up and receive a free birthday burger, boneless wings on your birthday and more.

Location: Thousand Oaks

Urbane Cafe

Urbane Cafe App: Download the app, use it to pay for your purchases, and receive $5 credit for every $100 you spend; a 5% discount. I was surprised to also receive a $10 birthday credit.

Locations: Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Agoura Hills, Camarillo, Oxnard, Ventura

Veggie Grill

VG Rewards: Sign up via the VG Rewards App and earn points towards free food. Receive $5 off after joining.

Email: Sign up and receive a birthday surprise (don't know what this surprise is yet but I shall find out).

Location: Westlake Village

Wienerschnitzel

Wiener Lovers' Club: Get a free chili cheese dog for signing up and other stuff.

Locations: Simi Valley, Oxnard, Ventura

Which Wich Superior Sandwiches

Vibe Club Rewards: Get a free drink for signing up. Earn points and get free sandwiches.

Location: The Shoppes at Westlake

Wingstop

Email Club: Free fries for signing up and a free birthday gift.

Locations: Oxnard, Camarillo, Ventura

Yogurtland

Real Rewards Program: Earn points for each ounce purchased and exchange points for free yogurt and birthday treats.

Locations: Simi Valley, Westlake Village, Oxnard, Ventura and Camarillo

Arby's

Email Club: Free roast beef classic with purchase of drink after signing up

Locations: Thousand OaksVentura

Auntie Anne's

My Pretzel Perks: Free pretzel after signing up. Accumulate 300 points for a free pretzel. $1 spent equals 10 points.

Location: Pacific View Mall Ventura

Baja Fresh

Club Baja: Free taco for signing up and a "special treat" on your birthday.

Locations: Thousand Oaks, Camarillo (2), Simi Valley (2), Calabasas, Oxnard

Bandits Grill & Bar

Bandits' Roundup Club: Free birthday gift, specials and more.

Locations: Thousand Oaks and Camarillo

Barnes & Noble Kids' Club: Free birthday cupcake and $5 gift certificate for every $100 spent on kids' books, plus 30% off one kids book.

Locations: Thousand Oaks, Calabasas, Ventura, Woodland Hills

Baskins-Robbins

Birthday Club: FREE 2.5 oz scoop on your birthday!

Locations: Newbury Park, Camarillo, Westlake Village, Moorpark, Agoura, Simi Valley (2), Oxnard (2), Thousand Oaks, Santa Paula, Ventura (2)

BJ's Restaurant

BJ's Premier Rewards: Earn 1 point for each $1 spent and redeem for discounts. For example, cash in 350 point for $25 off your meal, effectively about a 7% rebate.

Locations: Westlake Village, Oxnard

Buffalo Wild Wings

Blazin' Rewards: Earn 100 points for every $10 spent. Exchange point for food rewards. Examples: 250 pts = soft drink, 650 pts = street tacos, 1,250 pts = burger entrees.

Locations: Simi Valley, Oxnard

BUY 10 (OR 12, or what have you) AND GET 1 FREE PROGRAMS

Quite a number of eateries have rewards cards where you get something for free after purchasing a certain number of items. These are generally not advertised, so we will add to this list as we hear of new programs:

California Pizza Kitchen

CPK Rewards: Free small plate when you register. Earn 1 point for each $1 spent. 75 points equals a $5 reward.

Locations: Thousand Oaks (The Lakes), Simi Valley Town Center, Ventura (Pacific View Mall)

Carrows

E-Club: Free dessert for joining, then another dessert on your birthday.

Location: Ventura

Chili's Grill & Bar

My Chili's Rewards: Get free chips and salsa or non-alcoholic beverage on every visit. Free dessert on your birthday.

Locations: Newbury Park, Simi Valley, Oxnard

Cold Stone Creamery

My Cold Stone Club® Rewards: Earn 1 point for each dollar spent. 50 points can be used as a $5 reward towards purchases of $5 or more. 25 points earned just for registering.

Locations: Thousand Oaks, Camarillo, Oxnard, Ventura, Simi Valley

Dairy Queen

Blizzard Fan Club: Sign up at get a Buy One, Get One free Blizzard® Treat and a special coupon on your birthday.

Locations: Camarillo Premium Outlets, Port Hueneme, Oxnard, Pacific View Mall Ventura, Simi Valley

Daphne's Greek Cafe

Pita Points E-Club Program earn one point for each dollar spent; 100 points = $5 off any purchase. Plus another $5 credit on your birthday.

Locations: Newbury Park, Woodland Hills, Simi Valley

Del Taco

Raving Fan EClub: Get 2 free grilled chicken soft tacos for signing up and a free shake on your birthday.

Locations: Newbury Park, Camarillo, Moorpark, Simi Valley (3), Oxnard (2), Ventura, Santa Paula

Denny's

Denny's Rewards: Sign up and get 20% off your next visit.  Separately, get a free Grand Slam breakfast on your birthday - bring ID!

Locations: Newbury Park, Camarillo, Moorpark, Simi Valley, Oxnard, Ventura, Port Hueneme, Santa Paula

Firehouse Subs

Firehouse Rewards App: Use their app and earn points towards free subs and more. Get free birthday sub too.

Location: Simi Valley Town Center

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!

Rattlesnake Do's and Don'ts in the Trails of the Conejo Valley and Neighboring Areas

I've seen more snakes in the trails of the Conejo Valley in recent years than I can ever recall, some, but not all of which are rattlesnakes.

According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, rattlesnakes are generally not aggressive but can strike when they feel threatened or provoked. If you come across one on the trail, just back off and give them room to retreat. They don't want to mess with you!

 Rattler crossing the Rosewood Trail on a sunset hike.

Rattler crossing the Rosewood Trail on a sunset hike.

It is rare that rattlesnakes cause serious injury to humans. According to the California Poison Control Center, rattlesnakes account for 800 bites each year, with only one or two deaths. Most bites occur during the months of April through October, when both humans and snakes are active outdoors. About 25% of bites are dry (i.e. no venom), but still require medical treatment.

Do's and Don'ts

  • Wear shoes when out hiking in the trails.
  • Stay ON the trails...don't venture out into the underbrush, where snakes may be hiding.
  • Watch what you touch with your hands too...especially if it's dark and hard to see.
  • Leave them alone. They are fun to watch, but do so from a distance. Don't try to pick them up.

Is it a Rattler or a Gopher Snake?

On the trails of the Conejo Valley I've come across rattlesnakes, gopher snakes, king snakes, garter snakes and perhaps a few others I wasn't able to identify. The rattlesnakes are the ones to be particularly wary of because of their venom, so be aware of the following distinctions:

Rattlesnakes are wider/heavier than most of the other local snakes and have a triangular-shaped head, broader at the back than at the front, with a distinct "neck." They have openings between the nostrils and the eyes. There are a series of dark and light bands near the tail, near the rattles, which look different from the markings on the rest of the body.  DO NOTE that rattles may not always be present as they may have fallen off are are not always developed on a young rattler.

For some great information on identifying California snakes, visit www.californiaherps.com/identification/snakesid/common.html.

 Notice the stocky size of this rattlesnake, the clear rattle, and the different series of dark and lights bands leading down towards the rattle.

Notice the stocky size of this rattlesnake, the clear rattle, and the different series of dark and lights bands leading down towards the rattle.

 Beautiful King Snake (known for lunching on rattlesnakes)

Beautiful King Snake (known for lunching on rattlesnakes)

 Gopher snake crossing the trail in Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa.

Gopher snake crossing the trail in Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa.