Let’s face it- kids are expensive! Nowadays, it can be hard to gather the whole family together to do something fun, because it’s just too expensive. However, with a little bit of creativity, there are plenty of things that your family can do together that won’t cost a thing!
Go to the park!
Because this is California, any time of the year is a good time to go to the park. One of the greatest things about Simi Valley is that there are so many nice parks. Pack a picnic lunch and take your family to enjoy some time outdoors.
Rancho Simi Park on Royal Avenue has a pond with ducks, and a stream that kids often like to wade in, as well as two playgrounds- one for toddlers/preschoolers and one for the bigger kids. Rancho Simi also has a public pool. This summer there have been “dive-in” movie nights where the family can watch a movie while swimming in the pool or sitting on the grass nearby. The amphitheater at this park has also hosted fun events like free concerts. Check out the park district website for information about current events:
Rancho Tapo Park (also called Lemon Park) has a water play area, a lot like something you would find at a water park. It is open Memorial Day through Labor Day and is absolutely free.
There are also lots of smaller parks in Simi Valley that are fun and certainly worth exploring.
Santa Susana Train Depot and park
The Santa Susana Train Depot is located on Katherine Road, right at the end of Kuehner, just before you head up Rocky Peak Pass. The train depot, which is free to visit, has historical information trains and Simi Valley, and a huge working model train area that takes up a whole room. It is somewhat of a replica of Simi Valley as it was years ago. Little kids will love watching the train! The depot is open from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Right next to the depot is a very quaint park. Elementary age kids tend to love this park for it’s rocks and caves, which are a lot of fun to climb on.
Take a trip to the library
Simi Valley has a beautiful library. It can definitely provide a few hours of enjoyment for the family. Ask a librarian to show you the beautiful rose garden, or let your kids play for hours in the children’s section. There are puppets and games, as well as tons of wonderful children’s books. Hours of my childhood were spent sitting with my mom in the comfy chairs there, reading books together. They also have special story times put on by the library. Preschool story times are Tuesday mornings at 11:30 a.m., and family story times are Tuesday evenings at 7:00 p.m., and Saturday mornings at 11:00 a.m.
The Santa Susana Mountains that surround Simi Valley provide many wonderful places to go hiking, where you can find waterfalls (seasonally) and beautiful views of Simi Valley and the San Fernando Valley. Most of the hikes are not good for smaller children, but elementary age children can handle most of them just fine. Always remember to wear appropriate shoes and bring lots of water. For information on the various trails, check out the following website:
Visit Simi Valley Town Center
Okay, so maybe the nature of a trip to the mall is often to spend money, but that doesn’t mean you HAVE to spend money. Window shopping can be a whole lot of fun. The Simi Valley Town Center was designed to be a nice play for families to hang out. There’s a huge fireplace with big wooden rocking chairs around it on one end of the mall, a children’s play area in the center, and a huge food court with lots of tables and chairs on the other end. Every Wednesday morning from 10 to 11 a.m. there is a free kids club. Activities include crafts, story telling, and entertainment. The focus is on pre-school age children, but all children and families are welcome.