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.

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.

Tell Me a Little Bit About Newbury Park

Newbury Park is a community located in the western portion of Thousand Oaks. It became part of Thousand Oaks by community vote sometime in the 1960s and 1970s. Thousand Oaks became a city in October 1964.

A view of Newbury Park from Boney Peak in March 2015.

A view of Newbury Park from Boney Peak in March 2015.

Egbert Starr Newbury (Photo Courtesy Conejo Valley Historical Society)

Egbert Starr Newbury (Photo Courtesy Conejo Valley Historical Society)

Newbury Park is named after Egbert Starr Newbury, who owned thousands of acres of land in the Conejo Valley after moving to California from Michigan for health reasons in 1871.  Newbury was one of the three largest Conejo Valley landowners of his time. He and his wife Fannie became the first postmasters in the Conejo Valley in 1875.  The post office was located in a small compound near their house, which was located at the current location of the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza

The other major landowners at that time were John Edwards, who owned much of the current Newbury Park/Thousand Oaks area north of the 101, and Howard Mills, who owned much of what today is Westlake Village and Hidden Valley.

Edwards sold 10,000 acres of what is now central Thousand Oaks to Edwin and Harold Janss in 1893.  The Janss Corporation also bought thousands of acres of land in Newbury Park (Friedrich, Running Springs and Borchard Ranches) in 1962.  Apparently there was an effort to incorporate Newbury Park as a city in 1963 but it failed when it lacked sufficient votes.

Over a 30 month period beginning in the Fall of 1876, only 6 inches of rain fell in the Conejo Valley.  This drought brought devastation to landowners, most of whom lost their crops and livestock and had to sell at a loss or went bankrupt.  The Newburys were no exception; they moved back to the midwest in 1877.  Egbert fell ill to pneumonia in 1880 and passed away at the young age of 36.

The Newburys lived here only six years, so why is it still called Newbury Park? Because the name of the Newburys' post office never changed! The Newbury Park Post Office has changed locations a number of times (including 1602 Newbury Road from May 1968 until it moved to its current location at 3401 Grande Vista Drive in 2013). So the Newbury name and legacy live on here in the Conejo Valley.

Horse tied to a sign indicating the Newbury Park Post Office, in 1909. The location was near modern-day Lynn Ranch. (Courtesy of the Thousand Oaks Library Local History Photo Collection).

Horse tied to a sign indicating the Newbury Park Post Office, in 1909. The location was near modern-day Lynn Ranch. (Courtesy of the Thousand Oaks Library Local History Photo Collection).

Sources: "The Conejo Valley - Old and New Frontiers" by Carol A. Bidwell and "The Newburys of Newbury Park" by Miriam Sprankling

But wait...there's more to Newbury Park! Casa Conejo is also part of the Newbury Park community but is not an incorporated part of Thousand Oaks. It is considered a census-designated place in Ventura County, with its own Municipal Advisory Council. Casa Conejo is the first planned community in Newbury Park and was built in the early 1960s. It is has an area of .5 square mile and is bound by Borchard to the South, Old Conejo Road to the North, Jenny Drive (East of Newbury Park High School) to the West and Sequoia Middle School to the East.

Interested in historical pictures of the area going back to the 1950s?  Click here to read about the work of prolific Conejo Valley photographer, Ed Lawrence. 

Click here for a history of Thousand Oaks.  Thousand Oaks is over 56 square miles and Newbury Park represents about 40% of that square footage.

Three dozen or so things to do in Newbury Park

Another three dozen or so kids' activities in Newbury Park

Yet another three dozen or so sports and fitness activities in Newbury Park

Household Hazardous Waste Collection Options for Thousand Oaks Residents

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The City of Thousand Oaks Public Works Department's "GoGreen" website has hundreds of conservation tips relating to composting, energy conservation, hazardous waste disposal, recycling and trash, reuse programs, water conservation, living green advice, and much more. Check it out at www.toaks.org/GoGreen.

Like me, you may have a lot of junk lying around the house that you'd like to get rid of but are not allowed to place in the trash

Since May 2014, the City has run a permanent Household Hazardous Waste Facility located next to the Service Center at 2010 Conejo Center Drive, Newbury Park.

Residents of Thousand Oaks and unincorporated areas of Ventura County may sign up to drop off items at this facility on Fridays/Saturdays from 9am to 1pm, except certain holiday weekends, at THIS LINK. Advance registration is required.

Items accepted at these monthly collection events include acids, motor oil, antifreeze, asbestos, nail polish/remover, automatic switches, oil filters, batteries, paints, cement, paint thinners, chlorine, fertilizers, pool chemicals, fluorescent lights, propane cylinders, fire extinguishers, rodent poison, garden chemicals, smoke detectors, gasoline, solvents, used frying oil, household cleaners, weed killers and more. They do not accept tires, medications. business waste and other items.

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One person's hazardous waste is another's gold! The City's Hazardous Waste Material Reuse Program allows residents to take away certain items previously disposed of, such as cleaners, paint, pool chemicals, motor oils, adhesives, etc. Selection obviously will vary. No appointment needed. Just stop by ReUse Store (same location as waste collection facility) on Friday/Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. during the weekly collection events described above.

The ReUse store will be closed weekends associated with the following holidays: President's Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day

There are also convenient hazardous waste disposal for other items:

Batteries: Community Centers at Borchard Park, Dos Vientos and Thousand Oaks (next to TOHS), Home Depot, Goebel Senior Center, Thousand Oaks/Newbury Park Libraries, City Hall and Thousand Oaks Transportation Center.

Motor Oil/Filters: See THIS LINK.

Electronic Waste: Best Buy, Goodwill Industries, PC Recycle, Waste Management and Gold Coast Recycling Center. More info at THIS LINK.

Fluorescent Lights/CFL's: Home Depot Newbury Park

Unwanted and/or expired medications can be dropped off throughout Ventura County at designated police stations, such as the East Valley Police Station Lobby at 2101 E. Olsen Road, Thousand Oaks. Open Mon-Fri 8am to 5pm.

Visit toaks.org/GoGreen for updates.

Senior Adult Centers and Programs Throughout Ventura County

Here is a list of senior centers and programs throughout Ventura County. For more extensive information about serving the needs of seniors, visit the County of Ventura Area Agency on Aging website at aaa.countyofventura.org.

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The Goebel Senior Adult Center at 1385 East Janss Road in Thousand Oaks operates Monday through Saturday and offers games, arts and crafts, classes, music and dance, seminars and workshops, sports and exercise, special events, support groups, travel opportunities and more. The facility is managed by the City of Thousand Oaks and is staffed by the Conejo Recreation & Park District. No membership dues, primarily for those 50+ (but some programs are available for 18+), non-T.O. residents are welcomed for most activities, hot lunch is available M-W for a small charge and many classes are offered for free. Visit www.goebelsenioradultcenter.org or call 805.381.2744 for more information.

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The Simi Valley Senior Center at 3900 Avenida Simi is a 22,000 square foot enrichment and learning center for adults. The center provides learning programs, exercise classes, meal programs, health services, excursions, computer classes, book clubs, support groups, billiard room, social services, art classes and more. For ages 50+. The Rendezvous Café operates M-W and offers hot lunch for a small charge to ages 60+. Visit www.simivalley.org/departments/community-services/senior-center or call 805.583.6363.

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The Pleasant Valley Senior Center is located at 1605 E. Burnley Street in Camarillo. The center is open M-F from 9am to 4pm and offers a variety of recreation and leisure program, a meal site for ages 60+ and social services for local residents. Programs and activities are not limited to Camarillo residents. Visit www.pvrpd.org/recreation/senior/default.asp or call 805.482.4881. More information on senior meal programs available from the Camarillo Health Care District at www.camhealth.com/senior-meals-program..

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City of Oxnard Recreation and Community Services offers 3 senior centers. The Wilson Senior Center at 350 N. C Street is open M-F 10am to 4pm (805.385.8028), South Oxnard Senior Center at 200 East Bard Road is open M-F 8:15am to 2:15pm (805.385.8042) and Colonia Senior Center at 126-B Amelia Court, open M-F 8:30am to 2:30pm (805.385.8163). Visit www.oxnard.org/recreation/senior-services for more information.

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The Moorpark Active Adult Center is located at 799 Moorpark Avenue. The center is open M-F from 8am to 4pm and offers classes, programs and more to ages 55+. Home delivered meals available to local 60+ residents and meals offered for low cost at the center. Visit moorparkca.gov/200/Active-Adult-Center for more information or call 805.517.6261.

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The City of Agoura Hills runs a Senior Recreation Program for ages 50+ at its Recreation Center, located at 30610 Thousand Oaks Blvd.  The program offers fitness, social, educational and other great events and activities. Visit www.ci.agoura-hills.ca.us/department/community-services-parks-recreation/senior-recreation-program or call 818.597.7366 for more information.

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The City of Ventura Senior Services program offers computer, recreational, specialty, social, health and fitness programs to 50+ at the Ventura Avenue Adult Center, 550 N. Ventura Avenue, 805.648.3035, and satellite sites at the Salvation Army (east Ventura), Pacific View Mall, TowneHouse, Ventura College and YMCA. A Travel Program office and special events are held at the Senior Recreation Center, 420 E. Santa Clara St, 805.648.2829. Visit www.cityofventura.net/adult for more information.

Ventura's Senior Lunch Program operates Monday through Friday from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm. $3 suggested price for ages 60 and up; $6.75 for others. Nutritious hot entree with fresh fruit and vegetables plus special events. Westside Cafe located at the Ventura Avenue Adult Center, 550 N. Ventura Avenue. Call 805.648.3035 for more information.

The Santa Paula Senior Center is located at 530 W. Main Street and is open 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Phone is 805.933.4272. The center offers classes, card games and meal programs to seniors. www.ci.santa-paula.ca.us/CommunityServices.htm

The City of Fillmore Senior Center is located at 535 Santa Clara Avenue and is open 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. Phone is 805.524.4533. Meals, games, activities and classes are offered. www.fillmoreca.com/departments/parks-and-recreation-department/active-adult-center

The Orvene S. Carpenter Community Center is located at 550 Park Avenue in Port Hueneme and is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.  The city's Senior Nutrition Program offers meals to those in need and classes are offered. Visit www.ci.port-hueneme.ca.us/facilities/facility/details/orvenescarpentercommunitycenter-2 or call 805.986.6542 for more information.

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The Little House Multipurpose Center in Ojai at 111 W. Santa Ana Street next to Ojai City Hall is run by Help of Ojai, Inc., a non-profit organization that has been serving the needs of Ojai's seniors since 1968. The center offers programs, services, recreation and meals. Visit www.helpofojai.org or call 805.646.5122 for more information.

And for thousands of classes each year specifically geared towards seniors, check out THESE LINKS to community recreation programs throughout Ventura County.

Sixteen Things to Do In and Around Agoura Hills

Sixteen Things to Do In and Around Agoura Hills

The City of Agoura Hills was incorporated as a city in 1982, becoming the 83rd city in Los Angeles County. The city is 8.2 square miles in size and is considered to part of the Conejo Valley, lying between the Santa Monica Mountains and Simi Hills. Its boundaries are roughly east of Lindero Canyon Road on the west (bordered by Westlake Village), south of Agoura Road on the south, portions of Chesebro Road on the east (including part of the Liberty Canyon Road area) and on the north, just above Fountainwood and Timberlane Streets (with Oak Park lying

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Fruit, Vegetable and Other Food, Beer and Wine Festivals In and Around Ventura County

According to the California Department of Food & Agriculture, California has over 80,000 farms and ranches and in 2010 accounted for over 16% of the nation's national receipts for crops. The state produces nearly half of U.S.-grown fruits, nuts and vegetables! Top commodities in the state include produce and nuts such as grapes, almonds, berries, lettuce, pistachios, tomatoes, walnuts, oranges, broccoli, carrots, avocados and celery.

Ventura County ranked 26th out of 58 California counties in geographic size but in 2010 ranked 7th overall in terms of agricultural output, producing over $1.5 billion worth of strawberries, celery, lemons, raspberries, avocados and other commodities.

All that produce grown in Ventura County (as well as Santa Barbara County) and the hard work that goes into it must explain why we have so many nearby food related festivals and celebrations year-round! Specific dates each year are posted in the Local Events and Events Calendar sections but here's a compilation for you to, ahem, digest. We also opted to include beer, wine and other long-standing festivals for your imbibing pleasure.

The Rotary Club of Thousand Oaks Chili Cook-Off is in the late April time frame each year. It is a charitable fundraiser that has taken place since 1977.

The California Strawberry Festival takes place in Oxnard on the 3rd weekend of May each year. This wildly popular event has been taking place since 1984.

The Soroptimist International of the Conejo hosts an annual "Margarita Mixoff" event in Thousand Oaks in the May time frame. 2018 was the 17th annual event. 

The Ojai Wine Festival takes place in the June time frame at Lake Casitas has been around since 1987. They say over 5,000 people attend the event! The 33rd annual event takes place in June 2019.

The Knights of Columbus of Simi Valley has been hosting an Annual Chili Cook-Off since about 1988. The event currently takes place in the June time frame.

The Casa Pacifica Angels Wine & Food Festival benefits Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families and has been running since 1994. Currently takes place in early June.

The Calabasas, Malibu Wine & Food Festival occurs in June since 2007.

The Conejo Food & Wine Fest premiered in 2010 and as of 2014 takes place in Thousand Oaks in the June time frame.

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History has hosted the Santa Barbara Wine Festival in the June time frame each year since 1988.

The Oxnard Salsa Festival has taken place each summer (currently July) since 1994. The festival currently is free of charge.

Since 1988, the Meadowlark Service League has been hosting A Taste of Camarillo Wine & Food Festival. The event currently takes place in late July.

The California Wine Festival in Santa Barbara in July marks 2004 as its first year. They also are planning a Winter Wine Classic in the January time frame.

The California Beer Festival takes place in Ventura in the September time frame.

The Port of Hueneme Banana Festival took place for the first time in 2012 and its 7th annual event took place the last Saturday of September 2018.

The Calabasas Pumpkin Festival takes place in October. There is a small admission charge.

The California Avocado Festival in Carpinteria goes back to 1987 and claims to be the largest free festival on the west coast. It currently occurs in October.

The Santa Barbara Harbor & Seafood Festival originated in 2001 and offers live lobster, crab, prawns, BBQ albacore, clam chowder, fish tacos, seafood gumbo and other prepared dishes in the October time frame.

The Santa Barbara Beer Festival takes place generally in the October time frame.

The California Lemon Festival also takes place in October in Goleta. Free admission. This one has been around since 1992.

The Oxnard Tamale Festival takes place in the early December time frame each year. It began in 2008.

The 805 Wine & Brew Festival is an annual event hosted by the Conejo Simi Moorpark Association of Realtors and takes place each May in Thousand Oaks.

List obviously subject to change! Contact us for additions. The list is meant to include recurring, annual events, not one-time events, that focus primarily on food and/or drinks.

Over 40 Things to Do in the City of Simi Valley

The City of Simi Valley was incorporated on October 10, 1969, making it the 2nd youngest of the 10 cities in Ventura County (Moorpark was incorporated in 1983). It is the 3rd largest city in Ventura County in population (approximately 127,000 in 2014), following Oxnard and Thousand Oaks.

What do all those people like to do in the City of Simi Valley? Well here we will tell you things to do there.

Trails and Hikes

View from Mt McCoy Trail Peak

View from Mt McCoy Trail Peak