Fun for the Kids at Local Ventura County Shopping Malls

Shop and plop yourself down while your kids get entertained or, better yet, entertain themselves.  Here is a roundup of kids' activities and play areas at local shopping malls.  In addition to these ongoing activities, seasonal/holiday events are posted regularly here on Conejo Valley Guide.

The Lakes at Thousand Oaks offers a kids club on selected Wednesday mornings.  The Lakes has nicely appointed outdoor playground with swings, slide and sandbox, large grassy area, two lakes and waterfall.

Janss Marketplace in Thousand Oaks has Kids Fun Zone arts and crafts on the last Saturday of the month.  There is a small outdoor kids play area for the little ones and an impressive outdoor water fountain, not to mention a NEOS interactive play wall. The DojoBoom Extreme Air Sports attraction opened in November 2017 and is a huge draw for kids of all ages, not to mention adults!

The Commons at Calabasas offers a Kids Club for kids 10 and under on Tuesday nights at 6pm typically March through October as well as an Edwards Theater.

Simi Valley Town Center has a small outdoor kids play area, dragon structure and $2 mini train rides. There’s also the Rockin’ Kids Play Center and Studio Movie Grill to round out the action.

The Oaks Mall in Thousand Oaks offers an indoor kids play area for little ones, Build-a-Bear Workshop a Gymboree Play & Music and Young Art Lessons Children’s Art Store. The outdoor shops area often has large scale games out.

Pacific View Mall in Ventura has a nice kids' play area near the food court, Le Funland, a Build a Bear and a monthly Kids Club.

Camarillo Premium Outlets expanded by 220,000 sq ft in April 2009 with The Promenade, which has a Spanish style courtyard area.  In 2019, small kids playground area was constructed at The Promenade.

Playground installed at the Camarillo Premium Outlets in 2019.

Playground installed at the Camarillo Premium Outlets in 2019.

The Promenade at Westlake does not have a kids play area but they do have several nice fountains, live music on most summer weekends, the upscale Cinepolis movie theater and a koi pond.

The Village at Dos Vientos Ranch in Newbury Park has a small playground and grassy area with a pond and bridge.

Lakeshore Learning in Ventura is a great store to buy learning toys and products for kids.  It offers free crafts every Saturday from 11am to 3pm.

Malibu Country Mart has a nice outdoor kids' playground area with cool ocean breezes.

The Collection at Riverpark in Oxnard has the 16 screen Century TheatreColor Me Mine ceramics studio and a nice outdoor playground/park area. The Seaside Steamer offers trackless train rides Fri through Sun. The Annex Food Hall at The Collection offers a Kids Club the last Wednesday of the month.

Cookie, Candy and Sugary Snack Food Based Cereals Seem to Be Trending

In a recent visit to the local Walmart Neighborhood Market, I walked down the cereal aisle and noticed what appears to be a new trend…numerous cereals based on other products…cookies, candy and other snack foods. While we generally don’t buy sugary cereals, the sighting of these cereals kind of brought me back to my youth and my days of Cocoa Pebbles.

And speaking of Cocoa Pebbles, I Wikipedia’d (I’m assuming Wikipedia can be used as a verb, like Google) it and learned that Cocoa Pebbles and Fruity Pebbles, introduced in 1971 and based on The Flintstones, is the oldest surviving cereal based on characters from a TV series or movie. And there you have it.

Oreo O’s were originally launched in 1997 and discontinued in 2007. They were re-launched by Post Cereals in June 2017.

Oreo O’s were originally launched in 1997 and discontinued in 2007. They were re-launched by Post Cereals in June 2017.

Nilla Cereal is based on Nilla Waters, with the flavor of banana pudding. This was launched in 2018, along with Golden Oreo O’s Cereal.

Nilla Cereal is based on Nilla Waters, with the flavor of banana pudding. This was launched in 2018, along with Golden Oreo O’s Cereal.

The iconic Chips Ahoy cookies were brought to market in 1963.. Chips Ahoy Cookie Cereal came to Walmart in early 2018, along with Nutter Butter Cereal.

The iconic Chips Ahoy cookies were brought to market in 1963.. Chips Ahoy Cookie Cereal came to Walmart in early 2018, along with Nutter Butter Cereal.

And here is an example of another icon product turned cereal. Walmart started exclusively carrying both Frosted Strawberry and Frosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tarts Cereal in January 2019, fully 55 years after Pop Tarts toaster pastries were launched.

And here is an example of another icon product turned cereal. Walmart started exclusively carrying both Frosted Strawberry and Frosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tarts Cereal in January 2019, fully 55 years after Pop Tarts toaster pastries were launched.

Reese’s Puffs Cereal is made with “real Reese’s peanut butter” it says on the box. These have been around awhile though, having launched in 1994.

Reese’s Puffs Cereal is made with “real Reese’s peanut butter” it says on the box. These have been around awhile though, having launched in 1994.

Here’s a family size box of Dippin’ Dots Cereal. Launched in 2018, 30 years, if you can believe it, after Dippin’ Dots was invented.

Here’s a family size box of Dippin’ Dots Cereal. Launched in 2018, 30 years, if you can believe it, after Dippin’ Dots was invented.

And last but note least for this compilation is Hostess Donettes Cereal. Why one would prefer donut shaped cereal to an actual donut with milk is beyond me, but to each his own. Hostess Donettes Cereal as well as Hostess Honey Bun Cereal were launched in late 2018.

And last but note least for this compilation is Hostess Donettes Cereal. Why one would prefer donut shaped cereal to an actual donut with milk is beyond me, but to each his own. Hostess Donettes Cereal as well as Hostess Honey Bun Cereal were launched in late 2018.


Farmers' Markets and Farm Fresh Produce Around Ventura County

farmersmarket.jpg

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 NOON to 5 pm (previously 1:30-6PM) 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.

NPFarmers4.jpg

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.

Rodela Ventura.JPG

Rodela Produce and Flowers (formerly A & F Country Market) is at 4550 Olivas Park Drive in Ventura (at Telephone Road). 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.

Santiago’s Produce is located on the northwest corner of Olivas Park Drive and Telephone Road at 4551 Olivas Park Drive.

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

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

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

The Abundant Table CSA offers pickup locations and home delivery throughout the area. csa.farmigo.com/join/jointhefarm

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

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

DailyDeals.jpg

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 and apps 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.

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

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

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 7 to 10% cash back when you dine at a number of local restaurants, including (as of June 2019): Karma Indian Cuisine T.O., Baja Fresh Camarillo, D’Amore’s Famous Pizza Camarillo, Johnny Rockets Camarillo, Zin Bistro Americana, Subzero Ice Cream Simi Valley, The Alamo Bar and Grill, Bandits’ Grill & Bar, Grabbagreen, Marie Callenders, Hatch Cafe and others.

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

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.

* Note that this list is current as of June 2019 but is subject to change at any time. Feel free to CONTACT US with any notable changes.

Somis Nut House Has Been a Ventura County Tradition Since 1959

SomisNut_sign.JPG

The Somis Nut House has served the cravings of Ventura County residents since 1959. Originally it was a walnut processing plant that processed locally grown walnuts in the area. Today it serves up a wide selection of nuts, interesting snacks, trail mixes, seeds, candies, dried fruits, other edibles and gift baskets.

SomisNut_inside1.jpg

What I really like about this place is that it is a throwback to another era. The inside of the Somis Nut House looks as if it has never changed. Although the original founder of the store passed away in 2009, his family continues to operate the Nut House.

Front of the store from the 118 (Los Angeles Ave) east of Bradley Road.

Front of the store from the 118 (Los Angeles Ave) east of Bradley Road.

One might ask, why would I want to drive from, say, Thousand Oaks, to buy nuts at the Somis Nut House? We can go to Trader Joes, Sprouts, Lassens, Whole Foods, etc. Well, I'll tell you that none of those places have the same retro ambiance and great selection of the Somis Nut House! And the freshness of the items here is outstanding.

The Somis Nut House is located at 4475 E. Los Angeles Avenue in Somis. From Thousand Oaks, take the Santa Rosa Road exit off the 101 and turn right. Take a left on Adolfo to Lewis Road, where you'll turn right (north) until you reach Los Angeles Avenue. Turn left and your destination will in a mile on the right.

More information at www.somisnuthouse.com or call 805.386.1211.

And for those of you who have wondered what Somis is...Somis is an unincorporated city of about 3,000 residents in Ventura County that was established in 1892. The name Somis means “water of the scrub oak” in the Chumash language, indicating the presence of water.

SomisNut_inside2.jpg

Take Advantage of AAA Membership Benefits and Discounts

AAA_logo.png

The Automobile Club is a non-profit service organization with over 51 million members, including 6 million in Southern California.  If you are not already a member, you should consider becoming one.

Basic membership is $51 per year plus a one time $20 admission fee (as of May 2019). Membership provides for towing up to 7 miles, discounted rental cars, emergency fuel delivery, locksmith service, access to AAA offices and services, free maps and travel planning, etc. Upgraded plans (AAA Plus and AAA Premier) are available, with additional benefits.

But where membership can really pay off are savings on products and services.  Here are a few that really stand out (updated May 2019...subject to change).

  • Getting a AAA rate on hotels like Hilton, Marriott, Sheraton, Best Western and others can easily save you 5% to 20% on your room, which can more than pay for your AAA membership.

  • Visit a AAA office and buy Regal/Edwards and Cinemark/Century movie theater tickets at up to 40% off regular prices!

    • AMC Theatre Black Tickets $10.74 online (vs $15.50 at the gate).

    • Regal/Edwards Theatres Premiere ticket $10 online vs $15 at the theatre.

  • $2 off admission to the Kidspace Children’s Museum in Pasadena.

  • 10% off admission to the Autry National Center in Los Angeles (next to the LA Zoo).

  • 30% off regular admission and 10% off merchandise at Knott's Berry Farm. Also save up to $15 on tickets to Knott's Soak City at AAA branches.

  • 25% off when you purchase advance tickets to Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach at an AAA branch and 10% off at the gate or online.

  • Save on advance tickets to Universal Studios Hollywood and $3 off when you show your AAA card at the gate. As of January 2019, 1-day adult admission $95 and kids tickets $89 in advance, compared to $99 from Universal Studios directly - savings of $4 to $10 per ticket.

  • 25% off Crocs online and at all Crocs-owned stores and outlets.

  • Save up to 37% off passes to Six Flags Magic Mountain online.

  • Save 5% at the gate at LEGOLAND California Resort

  • Save 20% off certain Sea World passes at AAA offices, 10% off online and $5 at the gate

  • If you plan on a multi-day visit to Disneyland, save by buying passes at a AAA office

  • 10% off at Mimi's Cafe (locations in Thousand Oaks and Ventura)

  • 10% off food, games and non-alcoholic drinks at Dave & Buster’s

  • 10% off all regularly priced menu items at Wetzel’s Pretzels.

  • 10% off Dell PCs

  • 10% off haircuts with a shampoo at Supercuts by showing your card.

Hundreds more discounts listed on the AAA website. There's also a free AAA iPhone and Android app to find AAA discounts in your area.

So even if you don't think you'll need roadside assistance or towing, it could really pay off having a AAA membership.  Visit the Auto Club of Southern California website at www.calif.aaa.com/home.html for more information.

The Annex at The Collection at RiverPark in Oxnard Features Eateries and Boutiques

the annex.jpg

If you haven't already checked it out, The Annex, located within The Collection at RiverPark in Oxnard, is worth a visit.

This 16,000 square foot is home to a dozen micro shops, artisan boutiques and craft food and beverage eateries. Tenants as of February 2018 include the following:

  • Bottle & Pint - Featuring craft beers from around the world (first location opened in early 2015 in Newbury Park)
  • Scratch Sandwich Counter
  • Love Pho Cafe
  • Seoul Sausage Company
  • Gasolina - Spanish tapas and wine eatery
  • Pancake - serving Dutch pancakes of numerous varieties
  • PokeCeviche - serving Hawaiian Poke and Latin American Ceviche bowls
  • Ragamuffin Coffee Roasters - 2nd location! (started in Newbury Park in 2015).
  • Taqueria El Tapatio Mexican Grill (opening soon)
  • The Blend Superfood Bar - serving acai bowls, smoothies and juices
  • CherryHills Market - premium hand-crafted home goods
  • Sueño Jewelry Studio - handmade and custom jewelry

The Collection at RiverPark has become quite an incredible destination within Ventura County in recent years, with so many great eateries all in one place as well as The Container Store, a fantastic Whole Foods Market, REI, Target store, movie theaters, Levity Live Comedy Club and more. Quite impressive what they have done over there off the 101, Oxnard Boulevard exit. thecollectionrp.com

scratchsandwichcounter.jpg
ragamuffinoxnard.jpg