Summer Goal: Attend Outdoor Concerts

During the summer, outdoor concerts are great opportunities to enjoy music outside for low cost or even free. There are still many scheduled outdoor concerts in our area.

outdoor concerts janss
Janss Marketplace Summer Concerts – Wednesdays 6PM through August 24

In summer, we’re more relaxed, less busy, and in my case, a little bored. We traveled a lot early in the summer but now we’re in the home stretch between trips and back-to-school, so I look around for stuff to do with the family, hoping to spark my kids’ imagination and get their bodies moving. Otherwise? Video games and YouTube (gag me). I mean I love a good YouTube video, but not all day long. Can you feel me, parents?

So I rallied the kids and husband and we went out to Janss Marketplace (you know, the one with Toys R Us and the newly redone movie theater and that awesome fountain) for their Summer Concert night. It happens every Wednesday at 6PM through August 24. The concerts are outdoors, free, and feature great local cover bands.

outdoor concerts radio rebels band 80's covers

On the evening we first went, Radio Rebels played 80’s tunes, and not just the ones you hear on Flashback Friday on the radio all the time. They played Def Leppard and Cyndi Lauper and Billy Idol and Men at Work and they sounded great.

There’s plenty of seating on the lawn in chairs that the staff sets up beforehand, and people brought blankets and their own chairs and food for picnics. Kids and adults were dancing near the stage, or in the fountain, as my kids did:

outdoor concerts kids fountain play

We had a great time just chilling at a table and watching both the band and the kids. It was so easy! I won’t be slacking off and skipping these anymore. Next time we’ll bring snacks or grab some dinner or a beer at the new Dudes’ Brewing Company first and then mosey over to watch the music.

outdoor concerts big bang television skirball

Skirball Cultural Center Family Amphitheater Performances – Saturdays and Sundays 12PM and 2PM through September 4

Since it’s been so hot the last few weeks, we’ve stayed inside during the worst hours, but at Skirball Cultural Center (you know, that place you pass when you’re leaving the Valley on the 405 and you think “I should check that place out someday”) the concerts are held in a covered amphitheater right outside the popular Noah’s Ark exhibit. Seating is shaded, so when we visited to watch Big Bang Television, a band that describes itself as “Hollywood Garage Pop,” we were comfortable and entertained.

noahs ark

Since I had never been to the Center, we got timed entry for Noah’s Ark (as guests of the Center) and explored that exhibit before heading outside. Even my big kids enjoyed the interactive artwork and climbing opportunities. Everything used to make this multi-staged exhibit, arranged by rooms to tell the story of Noah’s Ark, was something else in its previous life. Sunglasses became butterflies. Car seats and gloves became a gorilla. Forks became the majestic fur around a lion’s neck.

outdoor concerts big bang television skirball audience

There was music inside, too, as two energetic performers led the children in Noah’s Ark in drum circle activities. It was a great prelude to the outdoor concert, which was lots of fun. Big Bang Television isn’t a kid’s band, but their original songs had upbeat spirit and the lead singer’s high pitched voice commanded the attention of even the little kids in attendance.

skirball baseball

The Skirball Center is a great place to spend a day with your kids. Besides Noah’s Ark, they currently have a baseball exhibit complete with a Dugout – a room filled with kids’ activities and even a wardrobe with a baseball uniforms you can wear for a photo opp! In the art studio, kids can make anything they want, but they can also follow the guided activity (on this visit, my son made a board game). Snacks and lunch are available in the cafe. Tickets are $12 for adults and $7 for children 2-12.

Where are your favorite outdoor concerts in the area? Here are few that I want to check out:

Outdoor Concerts Near Agoura Hills

Agoura Hills Concerts in the Park – August 7 and 21, 6PM
Chumash Park
5550 Medea Valley Dr
Agoura Hills, CA 91301

Saturday Concerts in the Park – Platinum Groove, August 20, 7PM
Berniece Bennett Park
31800 Village Center Road
Westlake Village, CA

Sun Sets Concert Series – August 7 and 28, 6PM
Calabasas Lake
enter at Calabasas Tennis & Swim Center
23400 Park Sorrento
Calabasas, CA 91302
Free and open to the public

Malibu Wines – live music on weekends (21 and over only)
31740 Mulholland Hwy
Malibu, CA 90265
Free Admission, wine purchase suggested (and I recommend!)

Summer Jazz Concert Series – Sundays through August 28, 5:00-6:30PM
Gardens of the World
2001 Thousand Oaks Boulevard
Thousand Oaks, CA 91362

Summer Concerts in the Park – August 15 and September 5, 5PM
Conejo Community Park
1175 Hendrix Ave
Thousand Oaks, CA

Concert in the Park – Led Zepagain, August 20, 6:30PM
Rancho Simi Community Park
1765 Royal Ave
Simi Valley, CA

Concerts on the Green – Sundays through August 28, 6PM
Warner Park
5800 Topanga Canyon Blvd.
Woodland Hills, CA
Free (but the most convenient parking is $15)

The Village Unplugged – Acoustic sets on Sundays at 3PM and occasionally during the week
The Village at Topanga
6600 Topanga Canyon Boulevard
Canoga Park CA 91303
Free (there is a charge for parking in the Village’s lots and garage)

Teen Driver Safety Event 3/10

Abrochate por amor 3 10

My friends and colleagues from are hosting Abrochate del Amor (buckle up for love), an event to promote safe driving practices among teens. Bring your new or upcoming driver to Simi Valley Ford next Thursday at 7pm (see RSVP details in the flyer). The event is FREE.

I’m never letting my kids drive. Okay I probably will but the older one is only 10. That’s forever away from being ready to drive, right? Well, the closer we get the more I pay attention to listings for teen driver safety events.

RSVP to or 909-262-9309 – let me know if you go!

A Tale of Three Kids’ Birthday Parties

IMG_7047My birthday boys (not the guy in the middle!)

April is a month of birthdays for our family – my own two kids were born in April, 2 years and 8 days apart – and many of their friends celebrate birthdays in April, too. I still make my boys celebrate their birthday at the same time, whether we have a big birthday party or take them on a fun trip. I’m not sure how long I can get away with that, but I’ll keep trying.

Treasure Hunt


This year, my kids wanted a scavenger hunt for their birthday. I took that idea and changed it up a little devising a clever but easily solved treasure hunt for them and a few of their friends. It was hardly Pinterest-worthy, but I did craft a pretty good hunt. I limited the kids to just a few friends each, and sent them off in two teams in opposite directions around the block. Here are some of the weird and random locations:

IMG_7032 IMG_7026 IMG_7024

The goal was to find the treasure, and there were 10 clues that led them to it. To find the next clue, they had to solve a puzzle or a riddle which would tell them the next location. I planned this thing for two full days. It took them 30 minutes to complete. During the rest of their visit, they had an epic squirt gun fight and some birthday cake.  Done.

Socks Mandatory

IMG_7087My boys stealing some poor kid’s thunder

The next day, we attended back-to-back parties in Simi Valley. The first was at Imagymnation, a warehouse-turned-gymnastics center for kids. The helpful young party workers led the kids through games and jumping around. Not even an hour into it, both of my boys were sweaty and happy. The parents sat on the sidelines, chatting or checking their smartphones. The party ended with pizza and cupcakes.

The second party was on the other side of Simi Valley at Scooter’s Jungle, a relatively new indoor playground that has giant inflated slides, bouncers, a climbing structure, and mini scooters. Again, the kids were let loose to climb, jump, and slide, and they did it over and over again. At one point the party leader had the kids grab their parents to go down the giant slide with them, but I was spared, because my kids ignored me. If I hadn’t tweaked my back I would have made more of an effort to join in, because it looked like fun!

After the frolicking, we all went into a cafeteria-style room for munchies, vegetables, and pizza (again) and birthday cake. The whole thing lasted about 3 hours. I thought the children would fall asleep on the ride home, but it was me who was bushed! I noted, however, that both locations, aside from being great for kids’ birthday parties, have free play hours during the week, which will be perfect on hot summer days when I have to get the kids out of the house to burn up energy!