There are thousands of things to do in and around Ventura County with or without the kids. Here are some of my family's favorites. For more options, visit the Kid Fun and Do Something sections of CVG!
The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is a nice getaway up north because in addition to the permanent exhibits, there's usually a great temporary exhibit that is educational and fun. My kids love the outdoor "backyard" area of the museum, with its trails, rocks, stream, tadpoles and more.
Malibu beach areas along PCH, including Leo Carrillo and Malibu Lagoon State Beach are great places to explore tidepools and play around. The Malibu Lagoon area is also close to the Malibu Pier, Malibu Country Mart and Legacy Park, providing a variety of things to do in close proximity to one another.
As a reward for good behavior we frequent local frozen treateries (Is that a word?). There are over 90 places focused on selling ice cream, frozen yogurt, gelato and other frozen treats around Ventura County. One of my kids is a big Baskin Robbins fan, another is a Tutti Frutti connoisseur and both of them rave over Dippin Dots addicts (there is a store in Ventura). Paciugo Gelato at The Oaks mall is also a great place. But frankly, we love most all of the places on the list.
Golf N' Stuff, unmistakably adjacent to the 101 freeway off Victoria in Ventura, has a diverse assortment of fun activities and is open literally 365 days a year. After playing one of the two 18-hole, well maintained courses, we blow off steam in the large arcade, knock into each other in the bumper boats and bumper cars and partake in other fun. And even in the heat of the summer, it stays cool here!
It's always fun to see a movie at a local movie theater with the kids, and here's a list of over 150 movie screens in 17 theaters around Ventura County. Not only is it a great way to beat the heat, but it's great for temporarily getting them to stop beating on each other! And you can't beat the experience of seeing a movie on the large screen.
You can't go wrong with Conejo Creek Park North in Thousand Oaks for many reasons...it is quite large and flat, great for riding bikes and scooters and playing on the grass, it has several play areas geared towards younger/older kids, the ponds and creek that run through the park are awesome and the ducks are quite entertaining. And the park is adjacent to the Thousand Oaks Library, Teen Center and Senior Center, linking it with so many other activities and things to do.
I am not ashamed to admit that I'm OK with going to Chuck E. Cheese's in Thousand Oaks and Ventura. The kids love CEC for the obvious...games...win tickets and cash them in for junk they'll never use. I get that. It's fun, loud and exciting in there. I don't mind so much because a) I can order a beer and a chicken sandwich and I'm pretty content, b) some of the games...skeeball, basketball, football toss...I myself enjoy playing and c) if I want to read the paper or mess around on my iPad, I can do so and not worry too much about the kids.