With summer approaching, many parents are stressing out thinking about what to do with their kids for two months. When they get bored of the pools, playgrounds and day camps, why not take them to explore Mother Nature? Head to some of the destinations located below. All are located within driving distance from Thousand Oaks, CA.
Santa Barbara Botanical Garden
A little over 60 miles from the center of Thousand Oaks is the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden. The garden is located on 65 acres of Mission Canyon and boasts over 1,000 species of plants. Paths cover 5.5 miles of featured areas including seven landmarked structures. Tour guides are available and scheduled daily. In addition, the garden offers classes, events and day trips. These range from children’s art mural workshops to morning bird walks and art gallery visits. The garden has a youth and family section that is devoted to encouraging an interest in science for families and children. The garden is open 9 am to 6 pm, seven days a week, all summer. Admission charges are $8.00 for adults and $4.00 for children. More information can be found on their website.
Los Padres National Forest
If you drive further into the forests, you will come across the Los Padres National Forest (about a two hour drive). The forest contains over 1,257 miles of maintained trails for daily use or backpacking trips. The forest claims to be the ultimate “outdoor classroom” for children to learn more by interacting with the environment. The Learning Center located within the Forest runs “Conservation Education,” a combination of education programs and experience to help people understand and appreciate the environment and how it is affected by humans. The Forest Service also participates in the “Get to Know” program which annually hosts dozens of outdoor activities for kids. Visit the Forest Service’s website for more information on “Get to Know,” the Los Padres National Forest and other surrounding parks. Annual or daily recreation passes can be bought in advanced at Big 5 and the Sport Chalet in Thousand Oaks.
Leo Carrillo State Beach
Looking for somewhere to play in the ocean? Leo Carrillo State Beach is only 30 minutes from Thousand Oaks and features 1.5 miles of beach. In addition to the water activities, the beach hosts nature walks and campfire programs. Explore tide pools and coastal caves. Children’s programs are also available in the summer. If you have a few days to spare, the park includes a campground. The park is open from 8am to 10pm daily and is currently taking campground reservations online.
With beaches and forests and gardens all within driving distance, there should be no reason for boredom this summer. For additional places like these to check out, make sure to visit the California State Parks website.