Monday, July 30, 2018


Ostrichland is an interesting stop in the Santa Ynez Valley. The farm has both ostriches and emus on its many acres . You can just view them or buy food for an extra dollar to feed the birds. The birds are huge and prehistoric looking. Watch your fingers as you feed or you might get more than you bargained for!

Cost; Adults $5, Children (under 13) $2, bowls of feed $1
Time: 45 minutes
Hours: 9 am to Dusk
Nearby attractions: Nojoqui Falls, Riverview Park, and Santa Barbara Blueberries
More information:

Related Posts: Summer of the Easy Day Trips 2018 



Sunday, July 29, 2018

Kid Friendly Fiesta Events

Not my Photo :)

Old Spanish Days "Fiesta" is a Santa Barbara tradition that has continued for almost 90 years. Many Santa Barbara locals love it (and many leave town to avoid the tourists!). It is so fun for kids and a favorite memory for the year!) Here is a list of my favorite Fiesta events for kids. (the full calendar)

1. The Children's Parade (free) takes place the Saturday of Fiesta at 10am along State St (from Victoria to Ortega). Set up towards the beginning of the route for faster viewing and less wait time.

2. El Mercado del Norte is a fiesta carnival for the kids and is located at Mackenzie Park (Las Positas and State St). It runs 11am-11pm Wednesday-Saturday fiesta week. It is cheapest to go on Wednesday ($25 wristbands) and more expensive the other days ($30 wristbands)

3. Historical Fiesta Parade (free)  takes place the Friday of Fiesta at noon along Cabrillo St. (by West Beach) to State St. and then up State St to Sola St. This parade has horses! Set up towards the beginning of the route for faster viewing and less wait time. (Note: chairs cannot be set up ahead of time along Cabrillo St.)

4. The Tardes de Ronda (free) takes place the Saturday of Fiesta from 1-5 on the Sunken Gardens SB Courthouse lawn. All performers are under 16!

5. Flor y Canto (free) takes place the Friday of Fiesta at 7pm on the Sunken Gardens SB Courthouse lawn. There is song and dance with story telling from the past. It goes later than I like for my kids but gives a more historical perspective.

6. West Coast Symphony Concert (free) takes place Sunday at 3:30 on the Sunken Gardens SB Courthouse lawn.

 La Cumbre Plaza has events all week, but they vary by year and can be found here.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The Farmstead

The Farmstead is a quick stop on the way to other adventures up the coast. There are several kinds of animals to feed (pigs, goats, miniature donkeys and llamas). (There were no seconds there the day we were there so you might want to bring your own). There are UPick fields where you can pick strawberries or tomatoes (seasonal check in at the stand).

Cost: Varies for UPick, free to feed the animals
Hours: Saturday and Sunday only, 10am-5pm, April-October
Time: feeding the animals 15 minutes, Upick 1 hour
Drive Time: 30 minutes from Goleta
More information:
Nearby: Nojoqui Falls, Santa Barbara Blueberries
Directions: Take the 101N past Gaviota. About 6 miles after Gaviota, turn right onto Old Coast Highway. The Farmstead will be on your left after a fraction of a mile.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Pacific View Mall

The Pacific View Mall in Ventura has a lot of low cost things for kids to do! There are the "grocery store" rides where you put a coin in and kids ride a little merry go round for a few minutes. There is a train you can ride for $4 with a conductor. There is also a play area for little kids called Tiempo Magico with a Mayan theme in the food court.

Cost: Free to $5
Hours: 10am to 9pm
Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour
Drive Time: 45 minutes from Goleta
More Information:
Directions: Take 101S to Telephone Rd (Exit 65) just past the exit for the 126. Turn right onto E Main St. Turn into the parking lot just past Macy's to park near the food court.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Tidepooling at Tarpits Beach

Tarpits Beach is an interesting spot with huge rocks of asphalt that seep naturally out of the ground. It isn't really the best place to set up for beach day since there is a lot of tar. But if you get there at the right time, the tidepools are great! Just check the linked chart for the best times to go.

Directions: (one possible free way) Take the 101S to the Casitas Pass exit (86A). Turn right onto Casitas Pass Rd and then left onto Carpinteria Ave. Turn right onto Arbol Verde St. Then immediately right onto Concha Loma Dr. Then a gentle left onto Calle Ocho. Follow Calle Ocho until it dead ends at the railroad tracks. You will have to cross the railroad tracks to get to the beach.

Cost: Free
Time: 45 minutes
Nearby attractions: Tomol Interpretive Playground, Carpinteria Bluff Nature Preserve. Carpinteria Beach and Carpinteria Salt Marsh Nature Preserve 
More information:

Note: the day we went was so overcast, so the pictures aren't great. The kids still had fun!

Globs of asphalt at the top of the beach


Field of sea anemones

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Knapp's Castle

** 2020 Update: There is visible construction at the site and the gate was closed when we tried to visit in 2020. Friends say it was open on the recent Sunday when they went, but we couldn't get close. Comments on a recent Edhat article indicate the owner is friendly to visitors as long as they don't interfere with construction. **

Knapp's Castle is a short hike and easy for kids. The remains of a large house built in 1916 by George Knapp (founder of Union Carbide) are surrounded by the Los Padres National Forest. It burned down during a forest fire in 1940, so only the chimneys, ovens and a few walls remain. It is privately owned, but currently open to the public. Construction started and was halted in 2011. There was some kind of construction going on when we went 6/2018 as well.

The views are great in any direction. Lake Cachuma, the Santa Ynez Valley and the Los Padres National Forest are all beautiful. Warnings: There is a rope swing there, which may cause you anxiety. This hike feels rather remote. The hardest part of the hike is on the way back, the last section. A car was broken into when we were up there in broad daylight. Keep anything valuable or even that looks like it could be valuable, hidden. You may need a National Forest Adventure Pass to park here.

Directions: Take the 154N from Foothill Rd. Continue 10 miles, then turn right at East Camino Cielo. Drive 3 windy miles to a wider shoulder on the right (one mile past Painted Cave Road). The entrance is to the left at a gate with a dirt road. The gate may be open during the day with construction going on.

Trail Rating: Easy
Distance: 0.8 miles round trip, downhill or fairly level until the very end each way
Time: 20 minutes walking, more for exploring
Nearby attractions: Lake Cachuma is visible from here
More information: Trail and History

The entrance to the dirt road hike.
Knapp's Castle from a Distance
Some walls remain. 
Chimneys remain too. 
Entrance gate when closed
It can be misty up here!

Most of the hike is fairly level or downhill (until the way back).


Construction 2020

Construction 2020

Gate 2020

Monday, July 9, 2018

Splash Pad at the Collection

We have heard rumors that the wading pool at Los Banos may become a splash pad, but in the meantime, the Collection in Oxnard has a splash pad!

Cost: Free (or more if you stop by Target)
Hours: 9am-12pm, 1pm-5pm
Time: 45 minutes
Drive Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour
More Information:
Nearby: Target and other Collection stores
Directions: To find the splash pad in Google Maps, put in the Lazy Dog Restaurant. Take the 101S to Oxnard Blvd (62B). Turn left onto Oxnard Blvd, then turn right on Town Center Dr. Immediately turn right onto Portico Way and left to the restaurant. If you park here, it is free. Other areas have metered parking.