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  • Pamela Froman

Best of Summer

The sun is shining, the beach is beckoning and school is out. It's summertime! There are so many ways to enjoy these lazy days (and nights). Kids can spend the summer with unique and fun activities – and so can you! Feel the happiness of entertainment with outdoor concerts and movies, art exhibits and fun and educational festivals. Bathing suit season is also the perfect time to get in shape. It's a wonderful time to spend with friends and family.


You want to get out of the house. After all the weather is so nice who wants to stay indoors? A great way to spend your day is at an amusement park. Universal Studios is the way to get the Hollywood movie experience. You are treated to movie sets, a 45-minute tram tour of the studios, film history and dynamic shows such as "Shrek," "The Terminator," and "WaterWorld." And next door is Universal City Walk, where you can relax in one of the many scrumptious restaurants, or go shopping for that unique item. www.universalstudioshollywood.com


Batter, batter, swing! Los Angeles is home to two professional baseball teams; the Angels and Dodgers. Going to a game is a great way to cheer on the home team and spend time with the family. The atmosphere is relaxed although competitive – after all you want us to win – and there is plenty of treats to be had by all. Going to a baseball game is a true slice of Americana.


If you are interested in listening to some gorgeously crafted music while sharing a picnic then the Hollywood Bowl is for you. They allow outside food and drink so it is a perfect place to listen to some cool tunes while chowing down. The LA Philharmonic began playing here in 1922 and they are featured all summer long. www.hollywoodbowl.com


Check out Malibu Family Wines, a hidden getaway in Malibu. Spend an afternoon lazily drinking and catching up with friends. Bring your own food, blanket, and board games! There are animals to greet you – a camel and a zebra among others. Buy a few bottles of wine to share – they start at $25. Music plays in the background to complement your visit. www.malibufamilywines.com


What is a bucket list? It's a checklist of experiences or events that a person hopes to have during their lifetime. Summer provides the perfect backdrop for this kind of thinking. There are so many things to do that you need to cross off your personal check box.


The first item to knock off your list is visiting the iconic Hollywood sign. Who could live in Los Angeles without going to view this super-famous landmark? There are many hiking trails to explore that provide viewpoints of the Los Angeles skyline.


Take the kids to the beach and build a sandcastle. You can create your own architectural masterpiece with just a bucket, some tools, water and sand. When it's done, take a picture so your creation lasts.


Get groovy and make tie-dye shirts. Buy a plain cotton shirt and a dye kit (try the Tulip One-Step 12 Color Tie-Dye Kit from amazon.com) Soak the t-shirt in warm water and soda ash for ten minutes. Wring the shirt out. Creating a center point to make a spiral, with your finger or a stick, spiral the shirt around the center point. Tie the shirt with large rubber bands. Put the different dye colors in different bowls and dip parts of the shirt in different colors. Let dry. You're ready to rock out!


Some of the best ways to have fun in the sun is with cool treats. Mmm...root beer floats are a great way to have a yummy goody in the sunshine. Scoop vanilla ice cream into a glass and pour your root beer over it, filling the glass to the brim. Or make your own tropical drink with Hawaiian punch. You'll need four cups of orange juice, four cups of guava juice, four cups of pineapple juice, a half cup of red grenadine and four and a half cups ginger ale. Mix all the juices and make sure they are well chilled. When it is time to serve, pour the mixture into a large bowl and add the grenadine and ginger ale. For an adult attitude, spike it with rum.

Marine life is swimming as you take a trip to see Humpback whales and the endangered Blue whale in the waters of the Channel Islands through Island Packers Trips are available from June through September. This whale watching experience is an all-day adventure and goes past the west end of Santa Cruz Island, where one of the world’s largest sea caves, Painted Cave, is located. www.islandpackers.com


What are the new trends that are bursting through this summer? Well makeup trends this season are lilac colors, stained lips, minimal makeup and light brows. Summer is all about going natural, so go light on the makeup. Use neutrals for the eyes – bronzes, taupes, or browns. Pinks, wet nudes and light red stains are perfect for your lips, and for cheeks, apply bronzes and baby pinks. Tie-dye is totally chic right now (which is good because you know how to make your own), and it's only going to be more in style because designers like Michael Kors and Alexander Wang are featuring this funky print in their summer collections. Also, go for color with your sunglasses. Basic black is so, well, boring. Funky frames are chic and cool. Plus they coordinate well with your colorful summer swimsuits! Bohemian style is also back this summer with a vengeance.


What is summer without kids? You remember what it was like – no school, endless sunny days, playtime and imagination soaring. There there are so many local kid-friendly activities and places out there to give that piece of gold to your child. At Gull Wings Children's Museum in Oxnard their motto is play, imagine, and engage. Take your child into space with their Orion Spacecraft exhibit. You suit up in the astronaut ready room, “blast off” in the Orion space capsule, where you perform a science experiment in the International Space Station, and even walk on the moon. Or ride the high seas with the Coastal Exploration exhibit. Children come face-to-face with underwater critters in their tide pool and aquariums, manage the Port of Hueneme, drive an ocean research submersible, and captain their own vessel. www.gullwings.org


Do your kids love horses? Then it's time to go on a ride at Rocking K Horse Rentals. This is a beautiful and serene ride perfect for inexperienced riders. Their ranch is situated at the base of Sycamore Canyon in Newbury Park and you can see for miles from the top of the trails. The horses are quiet and gentle and delight in the scenic trails as much as your little riders. www.rockingkhorserentals.com


Kids have so much fun at Troutdale Fishing Park in Agoura Hills, where they will learn all about catching fish. Troutdale has two ponds full of fish. For $7 you get a bamboo fishing pole, corn bait and bucket. For another $5 you get worm bait to snare a fish. If you catch a fish, you are not allowed to throw it back. (There is a $20 penalty for throwing a fish back in the pond.) Fish prices range from $6 for a 10 inch fish to $11 for fish that is 15 plus inches. They will clean the fish that you catch for $1.50 per fish. www.allyoucanfish.com


What kid doesn't enjoy getting wet? Oak Canyon Community Park Splash Pad in Agoura Hills is a must if you are looking for quick fun and want to keep your little ones busy and cool. You'll get their energy out and won't spend a dime! There's also a covered pavilion for picnicking and two playground areas. www.rsrpd.org/park/oakcanyoncommunitypark/oakcanyoncommunitypark.html


Summertime is the best time to listen to cool tunes. There are so many opportunities to just kick back, unwind and chill out to the soaring sound of music filling the air. These outdoor concerts provide just that. Pack a picnic and catch the musical wave. Agoura Hills presents their annual Summer Concerts in the Park. Concerts are free with a suggested donation of $2. All concerts are held at Chumash Park and start at 6 p.m. There is food for sale beginning at 5 p.m. and all concerts feature an entertaining “Kidzone.” Featured artists are Led Zepagain, Zoot Suit Review, Conejo Valley Community Concert & Jazz Bands, Fortunate Son and Alley Cats. www.agourahillsrec.org Concerts on the Green in Woodland Hills has hosted leading performers to its summer concert series for 40 years. Families are in for a treat – you will be treated to some of the best artists in the music industry. These concerts feature top pop, jazz, classical, folk, and world music performances every Sunday afternoon. www.valleycultural.org


Lights, camera, action! Who doesn't love a great flick? And during the summer there are some wonderful opportunities to see well-known movies for free! These movie nights are often held outside, so you can delight in the ambiance. Grab a blanket and some lawn chairs, and make some popcorn to go. Movies on the Green at Warner Park in Woodland Hills is an outdoor family movie experience presented on Saturday evenings with a 30′ screen and surround sound. Check out The Lego Movie, Muppets Most Wanted or Big Hero 6. www.valleycultural.org


Agoura Hills Movies In The Park is an open-air movie screening that takes place at Park Reyes Adobe in Agoura Hills. The next screening will be The Bride of Frankenstein on July 11. Movies start at dusk. Reyes Adobe Historical Site will be open for tours before the movie and hot dogs, snacks and hot chocolate are available. www.agourahillrec.org


Head to the Malibu Country Mart for their free outdoor summer movie series, featuring titles for all ages including Goonies, Madagascar and The Endless Summer. Check out the nearby restaurants which are open late to offer take-out picnic options. www.facebook.com/MalibuCountryMart/events


Those sunny summer days and star-filled summer nights are the perfect atmosphere to check out the beauty that is art and culture. View the mastery of the art in our community. What better way to celebrate the arts than to see a play? And at Topanga's Theatricum Botanicum you can watch classic fare from their gorgeous outdoor theatre. They aim to entertain audiences of all ages. Upcoming shows include A Midsummer Night's Dream and To Kill A Mocking Bird. www.theatricum.com


Griffith Observatory is Southern California’s gateway to the cosmos! Look through telescopes, explore exhibits, see live shows in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium, and enjoy spectacular views. www.griffithobservatory.org


On the third Friday of each month Art Trek in Newbury Park opens their studio to art projects built around changing themes. These evenings provide a wonderful and affordable family event. On June 19 explore the concept of Cosmic Wonders where you create fun intergalactic art. Refreshments are available. www.arttrek.org/5-fridays


Summertime is a wonderful time to celebrate, and local festivals are a great way to do just that. Anchors away! The annual two-day festival Ventura "Aarghbor" Village Pirate Days will be held July 18 and 19, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Ventura Harbor Pirate Days invokes the lure of the sea and adventurous pirates and offers free family entertainment that captivates audiences with such famous pirate re-enactors as Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Hook. Dress up and join in the fun! www.venturaharborvillage.com


Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival is the largest summer theater festival, presented outdoors in a natural amphitheater in Griffith Park. There are free performances of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and Romeo and Juliet all summer long! Bring your family and a picnic. www.iscla.org


ARTrageous Art Walk is a family-oriented event that returns on the third Thursday of each month running through September. The event features musicians, artists, vendors, and food trucks through the streets of Canoga Park. www.thirdthursday.com


Learning about different societies is a great way to educate. These multi-cultural festivals will help you immerse yourself in another culture. Check out the San Fernando Valley Buddhist Temple Obon Festival in Pacoima. This is one of the largest Obon festivals in Southern California. The event includes taiko drum performances, Japanese Folk Dancing, ethnic foods, Japanese cultural displays, and games. June 27, 28, 4 p.m. - 9 p.m. www.sfvhbt.org


The Undiscovered Chinatown Tour takes visitors to a number of off-the-beaten-track points of cultural and historical interest, and will guide those interested in shopping to some of Chinatown’s best bargains and trendiest shops. July 4, 10:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. www.chinatownla.com


Celebrate traditional African culture with The Day of the Ancestors: Festival of Masks. Held in Leimert Park Village, the event engages traditional artists, youth groups, and community members in a celebration of African cultural heritage through masks, music, and dance. June 28, 12 p.m. - 8 p.m. www.lacommons.org


Festivals that celebrate the sights, songs, art, and tastes of our community are a perfect way to spend the day. The Malibu Chamber of Commerce is presenting the 12th Annual Taste of Malibu on Thursday, June 25th from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Duke's Malibu on Pacific Coast Highway. Celebrate fine wines and local delicacies. www.malibu.org/content/12th-annual-taste-malibu


The Malibu Arts Festival offers something for everyone. After 44 years of incredible high-end art, this wonderful event takes place July 25 - 26, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The festival features over 200 award-winning painters, sculptors, photographers, jewelers, and other unique artisans. www.malibu.org/content/44th-annual-malibu-arts-festival


The 10th annual Grateful Hearts Food and Music Festival is coming to Warner Center Park on Thursday, June 18, from 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. Grateful Hearts is a grass roots event that spotlights first responders from the Los Angeles Fire and Police Departments, and specifically fundraises for LAFD Battalion 17 and the LAPD Topanga Police Station. www.valleycultural.org/grateful-hearts-food-music-festival/ Summertime is the perfect arena for getting into shape. Here are a few workouts that bend away from the normal hashing around at the gym. Boulderdash San Fernando Valley offers indoor climbing workouts for the high level experienced climber or someone who has just learned to put on a harness. They are located in Chatsworth and are eager to promote the growth of the sport with a friendly, helpful staff and a variety of classes. They have a huge climbing area with 13,000 square feet of innovative terrain. www.boulderdashclimbing.com


Boost Your Average is the Conejo Valley's premier indoor baseball and fast-pitch softball batting cages and professional coaching center. They are located in 15,000 sq. ft. of climate controlled comfort in Westlake Village. Each of their nine lanes are equipped with the most accurate state-of-the-art pitching machines that pitch both baseballs and softballs. www.boostyouraverage.com


A day at the ocean is one of the best things to do this summer. But there is so much sand and surf to choose from.We have a variety of beaches, and each one has its own unique twist. Leo Carrillo is located 28 miles north of Santa Monica. It offers sea caves and tide-pools to explore. There is also spots to set up a picnic, and there is camping space available as well as a place to park your RV. There is nowhere as eclectic in beachside California as Venice Beach. As you stroll along the seaside path, vendors, psychics and even political groups call your name. It's sure to be an interesting time. El Matador Beach
is truly for those in love. It's 10 miles northwest of Malibu and offers bouldery cliff sides and hardy waves to jump into holding hands. The Santa Monica Pier has it all. There are rides, games and fun for the whole family. Take a ride on the Ferris Wheel – unless you are afraid of heights!


Before you know it, The Fourth of July will be upon us. Here are a few patriotic ways to spend it.


The Queen Mary's 2015 All-American July 4th Celebration will be a festive party presenting 100 years of American spirit and tradition. The decades come alive through entertainment, music, activities, food and fun. And as night falls, The Queen Mary's decks will become front row seats to one of the best fireworks shows around. www.queenmary.com/events/july-fourth


Fillmore and Western Holiday Train will feature a USA-themed ride through Heritage Valley. After a BBQ dinner and train ride you will be able to enjoy a wonderful display of fireworks put on by the city of Fillmore. www.fwry-blog.com/4th-of-july.html


Celebrate the 4th with an
Old-Fashioned Barn Dance and Barbeque at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum. There will be games for kids and adults (horseshoes, yard jenga, balloon darts, corn-toss, ring toss, knock-down (stacked cans) face painting, dunk bucket, raffle, pie eating contest, water balloon toss, watermelon seed spitting contest, cake walk, relay races, barbeque, beer, wine and music! www.theatricum.com/concerts.htm


Yay for summertime!

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