The "Scary Dairy" at CSU Channel Islands University Park in Camarillo

CSU Channel Islands University Park is a 367 acre parcel located adjacent to CSU Channel Islands off of S. Lewis Road in Camarillo. It is a regional educational and recreation area owned and operated by California State University Channel Islands.

In 1932, the State of California purchased 1,760 acres of the Lewis Ranch and built the Camarillo State Mental Hospital, which operated from 1936 to 1997 and at one point treated as many as 7,000 patients in the mid 1950s.

Located on the parcel was a dairy farm that produced crops and housed livestock that fed the hospital community. The farm was disbanded in the 1960s and has been left in a state of disrepair, falling prey over the decades to vandals and coined "Scary Dairy."


After closure of the hospital, the land was conveyed to the County of Ventura, which had considered developing a golf course and amphitheater there but later abandoned its plans. The land was acquired by the University in 2009.

Fences and "No Trespassing" signs now surround what's left of the structures. but you can still get pretty close to check out Scary Dairy.


CSU Channel Islands University Park is open to the public daily from sunrise to sunset. From Camarillo, take Lewis Road south to Camarillo Street and turn left (east).  Cross the bridge over Calleguas Creek and the entrance is on the left. Parking is $6 per vehicle (as of August 2017). Do note that there are no facilities at this park, like restrooms and drinking fountains. Visit for more information.