Ventura Ranch KOA in San Paula California

I constantly get asked where the best family-friendly campgrounds in Southern California are. If I had to make a list, then Ventura Ranch KOA in San Paula, California would be at the top. Located just north of Los Angeles in Ventura County, is has all the amenities to make camping enjoyable for all different levels of campers. From areas to tent camp, to RV spots, and even clamping cabins and teepees, you are sure to find the perfect camp spot for your family. I love that it is not too far of a drive from Orange County, but enough of a drive where you feel like you are going on vacation.

Ventura Ranch KOA is a Holiday KOA, meaning there are extra amenities on the property to make your stay more of a fun vacation! One thing I love about staying at KOA’s is that you always know that you are going to get a nice clean campground with KOA standards. You will most always find a camp general store and laundry facilities. I’ve stayed at dozens and dozens of KOA’s with no surprises of below standard amenities.

The Ventura Ranch KOA is a 76-acre campground nestled at the foot of Ventura County’s highest mountain, Topa Topa. It’s just off the scenic highway, 7 miles between Santa Paula and Ojai. The views are really amazing. Here are some of the views I caught while taking a morning walk.

Ventura Ranch KOA is Family Friendly

Ventura Ranch KOA is so fun for families because of all the amenities it has. Kids can not only playing free range in nature, there are unique experiences not available at most campgrounds.

First of all, they have a Jumping Pillow! This was definitely a favorite of my kids and all the other kids at the campground. The Jumping Pillow is huge and big enough for lots of kids to enjoy. During the daytime hours, it is pumped with air and everyone can run and jump on it while enjoying the beautiful sights and sounds of nature.

The Ventura Ranch KOA also has a pool…as does most KOA’s. I must say that the Ventura Ranch KOA’s pool is exceptionally nice, and has nice bathrooms located on deck.

For a small fee, you can enjoy to climbing wall. You can go as many times as you want during designated climbing times. And there are camp counselors there to help you along the way!

Almost every KOA has at least a small playground. The Ventura Ranch KOA happened to have a pretty large one with lots of play equipment for the kids to enjoy. I recommend reserving a camp spot near the playground so it’s easy to keep an eye on the kids. Or pack a picnic and enjoy an afternoon playing on the swings or jumping on the Jumping Pillow.

I would have to say one of my kids most favorite activities was mining for gems and minerals. At a designated time each day, you can head over to the mining area and enjoy mining. The mining kits are available for purchase at the KOA general store in a variety of prices depending on what you want to mine for. The camp provides you with the tools to mine with.

Later on in our stay we wondered down to the stream that flows along the campground. We really enjoyed that family time together exploring the waters and nature, and also took some of the mining kits and did them in the stream. It really was fun. I would say this was one of my personal favorite activities on the trip. There are also plenty of areas to hike and explore.

And check out this little frog meadow we saw along our walk. It’s the little things like this that made our stay so memorable.

And did I mention that there are wild peacocks everywhere! They are so pretty.

Finally, I know I have talked a lot about the fun activities and amenities that the Ventura Ranch KOA has to offer. But I know that you are probably really want to know more about the different camping accommodations available.

Ventura Ranch KOA Camping Accommodations

The Ventura Ranch KOA offer five types of accommodations, from the very rustic to deluxe, so you are sure to find one that fits your camping style. You can choose from tent sites with no electricity, RV sites with full and partial hook ups, Teepee’s with no electricity, Safari Tents or Cabins. Ventura Ranch KOA is a very large campground with sections of different accommodations.

Our family normally choose to camp with our travel trailer. We like to stay where they have full hook-ups and electricity. Ventura Ranch KOA has some great rv/trailer spots that have a grassy area and picnic tables.

This time we didn’t bring our travel trailer, we stayed in the Safari Tents! If you are looking to camp…but not totally rough it, then I recommend the Safari Tents. They have electricity, a small refrigerator, futons, beds, and plenty of room to enjoy your stay. They are also decorated really cute. We were totally spoiled and really enjoyed our stay. You can sleep 4 in each Safari Tent.

The bathrooms are located near the Safari Tents….and the aren’t gross!! Nothing like what you would imagine a camp bathroom to look like. So when I said glamping, I really meant it. Here are some pictures of the bathrooms. Actually, these are what all the bathrooms at the Ventura Ranch KOA look like, so you don’t have to worry at all that you will be using a port-a-potty or showering outside.

I also wanted to mention that each of the Safari Tents has it’s own outdoor picnic table, grill and fire pit. You will want to bring all your own food as there aren’t any stores within walking distance of camp. The refridgerator is small, but big enough to hold milk, eggs and necessities. Make sure to bring coal for the grill, or wood for the fire pit. The camp store has wood for purchase and small food items like s’more kits and convenience store type foods.

If you want to get even more fancy with your glamping, Ventura Ranch KOA has some cabins available and even some cottages that are professionally decorated. Pricing varies between all the different types, and there are many options available. Check out a few of the ones I toured.

Finally, if my kids had their way, we would be staying in a teepee! They looked so cute along the trails. I would consider them glamping tents as they don’t have electricity, but don’t have to set up a tent, so that’s a win. They have wood floors and do have beds inside…you bring your own bedding for them. And they also have a grill and campfire pit outside.

As you can see, the Ventura Ranch KOA is a great place for families to enjoy camping and still stay close to the OC. There are lots of fun things to do in the campgrounds, but if you choose to venture out, you can easily get to the Ventura Coast and enjoy a lot of the fun things to do in Oxnard, Ventura, and Carpinteria. Hope this helps you decided whether or not this camp group is right for you family. Feel free to comment if you have any questions, I am happy to help!

{ Disclosure: We were invited guests of the Ventura Ranch KOA. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own!}

Knott’s Summer Nights Debuts This Summer!

Knott’s Summer Nights will debut for the first time ever tonight at Knott’s Berry Farm. Last Night I was able to preview the fun, and I can tell you that Knott’s Summer Nights will most definitely become a family summer tradition! Beginning June 7 – August 11th, you will be able to enjoy a variety of traditional summer experiences, including live music, food and games. It all begins when the sun goes down on the Knott’s midway – between the Calico Square Stage and the Boardwalk.

Knott’s Summer Night Food Options

A summer night party is not complete without food and drinks, and no theme park does food quite like Knott’s. Seasonal flavors collide as the Knott’s culinary team creates tasty twists to classic summer favorites. 

You also have the option to buy a Summer Night’s Tasting Card so that you can pick and choose 8 of your favorites for only $35.

You can choose from ice cream treats to kettle corn, to fish tacos and chili corn chip pie. There are also craft beers and wines to choose from. All of the Summer Night’s Food and Drinks can be purchased separately or with a ticket from the tasting card.

My favorite item so far were the fudge dipped apples. You get to pick and choose your toppings and they make the apples right in front of you.

There is a map located on the back of the Summer Night’s Tasting card that will help you find where each of the Summer Night’s Food items are located. You also don’t have to use the entire card in one evening. if you would like to bring it back on another night…you can use your remaining tickets then!

Knott’s Summer Nights Band Line-up

Summer Night’s are better with live music, so get ready for some great music and live bands each night at Knott’s Summer Nights.

Guests can enjoy a variety of bands nightly, rock out to a top 40’s band at the Calico Mine Stage or bop to beats of the Boardwalk DJ around Charleston Circle Fountain. Looking at the schedule, Knott’s did an outstanding job of lining up some great bands of all different styles. Click here for the Knott’s Summer Nights Band line-up.

The bands will be rotating between 3 stages, so there will always be some great music to enjoy!

Knott’s Summer Night is Fun for the Entire Family

Along with the food and live music, there will Instagram-able photo opportunities, interactive experiences, and family-friendly games. Games include corn hole, tiki toss, giant checkers and giant pong!

Characters from Knott’s Backyard Barbecue join in the fun with funny story lines and props to make your stay at the Summer Nights full of laughter and energy.

Finally, make sure to take some time to sit down and relax by the fire. There are table top fire pits set up all around Calico Stage. You can even buy a s’more kit for $7.00 and make s’mores! Annual pass discounts do apply and the kit come with enough supplies to make two s’mores. You will find the booth to buy the kits next to the stage.

I am really looking forward to attending Knott’s Summer Nights multiple times this summer. I can tell that it will become a popular event to enjoy here in Orange County. It’s just one more reason to buy an season pass to Knott’s Berry Farm. Even though it’s six months into the year, there is still soooo much more fun to enjoy the rest of the year at Knott’s. Happy Summer!

Disney and Roxy Girl Little Mermaid Collection

We were so excited to be able to attend the Disney and Roxy Girl The Little Mermaid Collection Event Launch in Huntington Beach this month. If you’ve lived in the OC for a while, then you know that Quicksilver and Roxy are iconic brands here. So it is so fun to have a collaboration with two brands we feel all started here in SoCal…Roxy and Disney!

It’s Disney’s The Little Mermaid’s 30th Anniversary this month, so what better way to celebrate than a cute beachy clothing collection. Let me the you…the clothes are ADORABLE! They come in girls sizes 8 – 16, and are available online and at Roxy Stores. Unfortunately, Dani is too little to wear this collection (she would have looked adorable in it), but we still enjoyed looking at the cute outfits and even got a couple of hats that she can wear soon.

The launch event was a blast, and Dani got to experience all things mermaid. We enjoyed music from the The Little Mermaid, playing with bubbles, made shell necklaces, got her hair done in mermaid braids (her first time ever with braids) and put messages in bottles. It all put us in the mermaid mood.

Now, let me share with you some photos of the collection and some of the pieces that are in the collection. There’s so much to choose from, including shirts, shorts, swimsuits, bags, hats and even shoes. Some of the pieces have images from The Little Mermaid, and some of the pieces have subtile details of The Little Mermaid. It’s totally perfect.

What a fun day celebrating Disney’s The Little Mermaid’s 30th Anniversary with Disney and Roxy Girl. We are sure that we will be seeing lots of girls around Orange County wearing the new collection.

This is not a sponsored post. We were invited guests of Roxy and Disney to attend the launch. All opinions are 100% my own.

Get Kids Moving and Mindful with GoNoodle GoSummer

This post is brought to you by GoNoodle and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.

Have you ever heard the term “GoNoodling?” Then you will want to read this post! I don’t know about your kids, but as soon as summer begins, my kids think that they should have unlimited screen time. Unfortunately, for them, that wish will never be granted. BUT, I am excited to let them GoNoodle!  GoNoodle is free kids content that is actually fun, plus it is parent and teacher approved. It’s not your average content, it has dance-alongs, yoga videos, mindfulness activities, and other awesomely active and fun ways to move!  It’s screen time that parents can trust and appreciate.

What Makes GoNoodle Different from Other Programming?

GoNoodle promotes moving and creates opportunities for kids to wake up their bodies, engage their minds. All content on GoNoodle has been created to energize or calm, stimulate or relax, recharge or focus the body and mind. No more sitting around and checking out in front of a screen. In my opinion, this is a win win. The kids will get the screen time they want, and I get kids being creative, moving and learning new things.

Get Kids Moving and Mindful with GoNoodle GoSummer

Beginning  Between May 27 through August 15, GoNoodle will launch their GoSummer programming…and it sounds super cool! It has been specially developed for kids to play at home and will include a bunch of new “How-to” videos  to keep kids active and learning all summer long. There will be two new videos every week, so kids can learn new tips, tricks, and crafts all summer long. The videos are two to seven minutes in length and will show kids how to do things from card tricks to making slime. SLIME???!!! Gotta love it.

For a quick sneak peek at the kind of content you can expect from GoNoodle GoSummer, check out this fun, engaging How To video: How to Make a Fortune Teller.

Kids can work together to achieve fun goals. If students collectively achieve “15 Million Minutes of Movement and Mindfulness” this summer, GoNoodle will unlock a new GoNoodle Champ. GoNoodle Champs are characters in the app who have unique personalities and encourage kids to stay active to grow and succeed. The new Champ will be available for kids to enjoy when they are back in school this Fall.

The kids and I spent a whole afternoon checking out GoNoodle. We found a bunch of fun games and tutorials. We learneg some dance moves we didn’t know and also so easy and super fun games.The best thing was that everyone had fun and there was no fighting! That is a win in my book.

We even learned to Floss!

Is GoNoodle Educational?

Yes! GoNoodle is trusted by teachers. Everything on GoNoodle is developed by child development and education experts. It has been used in 80% of U.S. elementary schools this year…over 14 million total students! Chances are that your child has already been GoNoodling at school.

Is the GoNoodle App Safe for Kids?

All GoNoodle’s content is Y-7. There aren’t any inappropriate ads to be worried about. This is such a biggie for me. Lately, even the apps and videos I have trusted have snuck ads and commercials I would not have expected. It’s becoming harder and harder for us as parents to monitor this stuff!

I am super excited to add GoNoodle to our summer routine. Although we like to be out and about most of the summer, there are many days when we are stuck at home. Being a work at home mom, I still need time to focus on my work. During this time, my kids can be GoNoodling, and I can watch them enjoying themselves and not feel the guilt that they are wasting the day away in front of screens.

Getting started with GoNoodle is easy and free!Download the GoNoodle app available for Android, iOS device, Apple TV, or Roku onto your device. Then, simply visit the GoNoodle homepage and click “Start GoNoodling.” I’m looking forward to seeing my kids learn yoga, some new dance moves, and create some fun crafts. Gosh…I wouldn’t mind learning some new dance moves right along with them!

Getting Old Fashioned Photos at the Knott’s Pitchur Gallery

would have to say, one of the most unique and fun experiences you could have at Knott’s Berry Farm is getting your picture taken at the old time Pitchur Gallery in Knott’s Ghost Town. My husband and boys just recently visited to Pitchur Gallery and had the one of the best times we’ve had at the park. Not only do you get to take home a cool souvenir photo when you get your photo taken at the Pitchur Gallery, but you also get the experience of trying on old fashioned clothing and pretending you are back in time – in the old wild west. It was a great experience for all.

When you arrive at the Knott’s Pitchur Gallery, a Knott’s team member will take you to the Pitchur Gallery dressing room where you will get to choose a costume for your photo. There is old west proper attire, military attire and old west cowboy attire.

Getting Dressed up in Old-fashioned Clothing

There are so many choices of old fashioned wild west costumes in the Pitcher Gallery dressing room. There’s something for everyone – as there are clothes made to fit most everyone, no matter your size. There are costumes for adults, children and even babies. Most of the clothing can be worn over your existing clothing, and there are dressing rooms provided for you if you need them.

There are also lots of accessories to liven up your costumes. From vintage belts, to hats, to feather boas, parasols to guns. You can pick out whatever items you think will make your photo just right. Fun fact, it doesn’t matter if your outfit matches! Since the photos are printed in black and white or sepia toned, all the colors disappear. So all you have to worry about, is if you like the style and look of your attire.

Taking Old Fashioned Photos at the Knott’s

Now the fun begins. The Knott’s photographers will show you to the photo studio where you can choose from five different scenes – a stable area, a saloon area, an old fashioned parlor area, a staircase or a wild west outdoor scene complete with a bucking horse.

Once you pick your scene, the crew will pose you and your party for the perfect old fashioned wild west photo. It’s a lot of fun….you kind of feel like a movie star.

During your photo session, the photographer will take a couple different photos including ones where no one smiles, and some where everyone smiles. You can choose to move into a couple different poses as well.

The photographers are great with setting up the scene just right and getting everyone’s attention, even the kids. They make it a fun experience for everyone.

I wasn’t sure about taking a saloon photo, but it ended up being a lot of fun. I think this is probably the most popular scene in the Pitcher Gallery.

When you are finished getting your photos taken, you can then change out of your costume and head over to the front desk area to pick out your favorite photos. There is no need to wait weeks to get your photos. They will be printed right there on the spot after you choose what you want. There are a variety of size and color options and you can also purchase a digital copy.

You can choose to purchase vintage style frames in unique styles to display your photos in if you would like. Maybe you want your photo as a wanted poster! That is also available as an option.

The Final Results

Let me share some of the finished photos our family got. Normally you would just take one scene unless you want to purchase multiple packages, but I wanted to be able to show the different options that are available.

Remember the saloon scene….I really like how it turned out. I chose this picture to be printed in black and white. This one was the most fun to take because you can add more personality into it.

Old Fashioned Photos at the Knott’s

My son really wanted to take a picture riding the famous Knott’s horse. I really like how it turned out, especially when printed in sepia tone.

Besides the sepia toned and black and white photos, you can also choose from a tinted photo that has just a hint of color. My husband and I thought it would be fun to take a proper old time photo together. I probably should have chosen the one of us not smiling, but I liked this one of us smiling. So I guess it’s not a hundred percent proper!

The boys took this fun robber photo of them stealing money in the barn area. It was hard to choose, because they took a lot of funny photos. I just have to laugh.

My favorite photo of the bunch was this family photo in sepia tone. I think it looks like it really was taken back in time, and most likely…it’s going to be our Christmas card! Yep…this is the perfect time to get those holiday card photos taken.

The Pitcher Gallery experience at Knott’s is one-of-a-kind and actually quite affordable. Each package includes one costume change, one scene and a photo, and is priced according to how many people you have. Additional photos can be purchased as well. You can have as few as one person up to large parties of people. So getting your picture taken at the Pitchur Gallery could be a fun souvenir to remember a visit with family and friends. And even if you don’t want to get your picture taken, I highly recommend to head over to Ghost Town and peek inside. It is pretty fun to watch everyone dressed up in costume. My family and I had the best time getting taking our Old Fashioned Photos at the Knott’s, and plan to continue visiting every year to document how we’ve changed each year when we visit Knott’s.