What to do when you don’t know what to do
In the neighborhood
America’s Teaching Zoo at Moorpark College
Who knew there’s a zoo right around the corner? This 5-acre, student-run zoo is part of the college’s exotic animal training and management (EATM) program. The Teaching zoo is small, open only on weekends, and has no concessions. But unlike larger public zoos, here visitors are able to get up close to the exotic creatures in a low-key setting. The shows, demonstrations and discovery stations provide an interactive experience. Staff members, who are EATM students, are on hand to answer questions.
7075 Campus Road, Moorpark
Boulderdash Indoor Rock Climbing
Rock climbing, in addition to being great exercise, is a great sport for interacting with one another. Boulderdash features more than 10,000 square feet of sculpted climbing surface with various terrains.
880 Hampshire Road, Ste. A, Thousand Oaks
Conejo Valley Archers
Thanks to the “The Hunger Games,” interest in archery has taken off. Families can learn the sport for only $5 per person per session from Conejo Valley Archers club’s coaches, who provide equipment, training and guidance every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Children must be at least 8 years old.)
4651 Tapo Canyon Road, Simi Valley
Lace up your skates and get out on the ice for some family fun at this Olympic-size ice rink. Rent a skating walker for the little ones or give hockey or curling a try.
131 W. Easy St., Simi Valley
Let’s Get Cookin’
Work together as a team to make delectable creations at workshops for families with kids age 6 to 12. Each workshop centers around a particular theme at this cooking school, which also offers classes and camps for children and teens and a broad selection of classes for adults.
4643 Lakeview Canyon Road, Westlake Village
Leonis Adobe Museum
This historic site is in the heart of old-town Calabasas. Tour the 1884 adobe, check out vintage farm equipment, feed the animals or simply soak up the Old West atmosphere. Pop next door for a meal at the Sagebrush Cantina or picnic at Calabasas Creek Park and you’ve got yourself a full day.
23537 Calabasas Road, Calabasas
Best suited for families with older kids, a session of this action-packed adventure will have everyone breathless with excitement.
591 Country Club Drive, Simi Valley
Families looking for an exhilarating experience (and who have kids taller than 4 feet) may find that go-kart racing fits the bill. A quarter-mile indoor racetrack provides the setting for whizzing along in an electric European go-kart at speeds of up to 45 mph.
1475 Lawrence Drive, Thousand Oaks
The filming location, used for decades, is now a fun Western town where little ones can imagine themselves as cowboys and gunfighters. Hiking trails that venture into the scenic Santa Monica Mountains branch out from the town.
2903 Cornell Road, Agoura Hills
Platinum Sports Center
Platinum is known for world-class gymnastics classes and now they offer activities for families to do together. Their X-Zone includes an urban obstacle course, a rock-climbing wall and a trampoline park that includes basketball and dodgeball. Families can also use gymnastics equipment including spring floors, foam pits, padded apparatus and tumble tracks.
160 W Cochran St., Simi Valley
Rocking K Horse Rentals
Channel your inner equestrian and saddle up for a family adventure. Guided rides along trails in the picturesque meadows near Dos Vientos provide a unique opportunity to try something new for families with older children (kids must be at least 7 years old and 4 feet tall to ride).
4790 W. Lynn Road, Newbury Park
Santa Susana Railroad Depot
Visit this 1903 depot for a step back in time. Kids can learn about railroad life a century ago and view model trains traveling through a miniature version of Simi Valley as it was in the 1950s.
6503 Katherine Road, Simi Valley
Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center
Visit an interpretive center that has Chumash huts, stroll through a garden with indigenous plants or take a family-friendly nature hike through a beautiful meadow in the shadow of Boney Mountain. Workshops, music, stories and crafts are offered as well.
4126 W. Potrero Road, Newbury Park
Extra energy can be expended at this tropical-themed indoor playground suited for all ages. Family fun events enable everyone (including parents) to jump, climb, slide and play games together on giant inflatables. Open play and toddler times are also available; check the website calendar.
2250 Union Place, Simi Valley
Floors and walls made of trampolines offer an active opportunity for family recreation. Play dodgeball or basketball, launch into a foam pit, or simply jump—it’s all fun exercise. A parent lounge with TVs and free Wi-Fi is available for moms and dads who can’t keep up with the kids.
166 Aviador St., Camarillo
Casitas Water Adventure
Cool off at this inexpensive, small water park located next to Lake Casitas and especially suited for families with young children. Tots can splash and play in the shallow jungle gym lagoon complete with small slides, waterfalls and squirters. The lazy river allows guests to float along on inner tubes while soaking up the sun.
11311 Santa Ana Road, Ventura
Fillmore & Western Railway
Catch a ride on a vintage train through scenic and historic Heritage Valley farmland. The railway has special seasonal activities such as picking pumpkins in the fall and holiday treats like cutting your own Christmas tree and going to the “North Pole” with Santa.
364 Main St., Fillmore
Golf N’ Stuff
This miniature golf course provides a great outdoor excursion in Ventura’s temperate climate. Golf N’ Stuff also has go-karts, bumper cars, bumper boats, lazer tag and an arcade for all-day fun.
5555 Walker St., Ventura
Gull Wings Children’s Museum
Hands-on kids will love Gull Wings. Nearly every exhibit, or station, engages children in projects, explorations or creations. Kids can meet live sea creatures in a touch tank, imagine they are astronauts in a space station and create in the Lego room.
418 W 4th St., Oxnard
Noah’s Ark at the Skirball Cultural Center
This one-of-a-kind destination invites all the generations to journey together in a giant wooden ark filled with whimsical hand-crafted animals. There are opportunities for exploration, interaction, making music and new friends all while learning the value of diversity and community.
2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
This century-old museum houses fascinating artifacts and specimens and includes hands-on activities. Guests can venture into the backyard to explore the nature trail, look for tadpoles in the creek, dig for dinosaur bones or meet birds of prey. Visit in the summertime to experience a greenhouse filled with 1,000 butterflies.
2559 Puesta Del Sol, Santa Barbara
Visit this indoor roller rink for exercise and family fun rolled into one. Great music, creative lighting and games make this an engaging outing for all ages—yes, even parents!
1720 Mesa Verde Ave, Ventura
Don’t forget your local . . .
Beaches: Try Zuma Beach in Malibu with its clean, wide stretch of sand and plenty of nearby parking, Leo Carrillo State Beach with its famous tidepools or Marina Park in Ventura, which has a big “ship” moored in the sand with a zip line, plus swings, slides and a large grassy area.
Bowling alleys: Bowling is great way to get the family moving when it’s too hot outside. Kids of all ages can play—just be sure to request bumpers. Here are a few local spots.
5255 Cochran St., Simi Valley
Harley’s Camarillo Bowl
305 Arneill Road, Camarillo
Harley’s Simi Bowl
480 E. Los Angeles Ave., Simi Valley
23130 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills
Farmers markets: Local markets provide a fun taste of the country that includes sampling fresh local produce and products that can help little ones broaden their palate.
Home Depot/Lowe’s: Check with the location near you about the free weekend kids’ workshops, where children can learn new skills and come home with a creation they made themselves.
Libraries: Story times, teen book and film clubs, homework help and various family events such as movies, music and performances.
Malls: Many malls offer kids’ clubs with crafts, performances and music. Outdoor malls in our region have lovely settings that include ponds and creeks with interesting things to see like ducks, koi ponds and turtles.
The Commons at Calabasas: (818) 222-3444
Janss Marketplace: (805) 495-4662
Las Posas Plaza, Camarillo: (805) 469-9664
The Oaks, Thousand Oaks: (805) 495-2032
The Promenade at Westlake: (818) 637-8923
Simi Valley Town Center, Simi Valley: (805) 581-1755
Movie theaters: Watch for free or value-priced kids’ movies. They often are scheduled at a specific time and day each week, all summer long.
Parks and recreation departments: In addition to a variety of classes, you can find details and locations of parks, family game or movie nights, concerts in the park, drop-in programs for teens, and seasonal events. In the summer, look for public pools and splash pads.