Raising kids can be expensive, so why not take advantage of all the free activities available to you here In Simi Valley?
1. Simi Valley Public Library
The Simi Valley Public Library is free, and it’s opened every day. I’m a bit of a bookworm myself, which is why this ranks so highly on my list. I’m also a proponent of a strong early education, and books are so important to that. Did you know that early reading helps to promote literacy, communication, and creativity in children? Not only that but reading from an early age can help encourage a love of learning throughout your child’s life.
My daughter and I go to the library every week and check out around twenty or thirty books, which is the limit in Simi. Now that may sound like a lot, and your right, it is a lot. Be sure to get a big sturdy bag to carry them all. But when you’re talking about children’s books, it’s not difficult to go through four or five books in a day. When you put it in those terms, thirty doesn’t sound so bad.
We typically time our visits to coincide with story time, which seems to come and go throughout the year. The librarian will choose a couple of books and read to the children outside in the garden, weather permitting of course. Every week there is also a craft project. They tend to go back and forth on this. Sometimes they do the craft project at the library following the story time, other times, they just hand out a craft project to take home. This is usually a fun little project that your kids can complete in about a half hour. Of course, this is all completely free. Check out the library’s calendar of events to see if there are times available. I’ll post a link down in the description.
Quick note. If you don’t have much in the way of books at home. There is a used bookstore inside the library that’s open Monday through Saturday. Paperbacks are fifty cents, and hardcovers are only a dollar each. The store isn’t huge, but there is a pretty large selection of children’s books. It’s a great place to visit if you want to start a home library for your child.
2. Day at the Park
So, this may seem like the most obvious thing in the world, but head on over to the park. I know, this isn’t exactly groundbreaking content here, I get it. But Simi Valley has a lot of parks. Thirty-six parks. Their free, and a lot of them are pretty great. Besides, what kid doesn’t like going to the park?
I may be a bit biased because it’s over here in Woodranch near my house, but my absolute favorite park in Simi is Rancho Madera Park. This park is located within the Woodranch area of Simi, and is home to the annual Snowfest event, which I’ve covered in another one of my videos. There are basketball courts, baseball fields, tennis courts, a soccer field, a sand volleyball court, barbeque areas, picnic areas, gazebos, and most importantly, bathrooms. There is also a playground for bigger kids, and a separate tot playground for the little ones.
Another favorite of ours is Rancho Tapo Community Park, better known as Lemon Park. This one is in East Simi, near the Simi Valley Public Library, hey, maybe hit up both spots in one day! There is even more to do here then Rancho Madera Park, if you can believe that. There’s a softball field, tennis courts, pickleball courts, basketball courts, bocce ball courts, a fitness equipment area, and of course bathrooms, the most important thing. The most unique feature here is the Splash pad, a water play area that is available during the summer months.
It’s also home to the award-winning Veteran Plaza. The plaza’s reflective pool, fountains, and memorial pilasters combine to pay tribute to the men and women who have served our country.
Last, but certainly not least is Rancho Simi Community Park, also known as the Duck Park. When you arrive here, you’ll see immediately why people call it duck park. If you haven’t guessed, yes, there are ducks there, a lot of ducks usually. Just don’t feed them, they aren’t supposed to eat human food, it isn’t good for them. In addition to the ducks, there are lighted basketball courts, horseshoe pits, shuffleboard courts, a soccer field, pickleball courts, and tennis courts.
The biggest highlight of the Duck Park, other than the ducks, is the Olympic size swimming pool which features two diving boards. Unfortunately, the pool isn’t free. Sorry. It can be booked for parties, and the city offers swim classes through the warmer months.
3. Go Hiking
If you’re anything like me, having children hasn’t done your waistline any favors. So, any excuse to get out and exercise is always welcome. Lucky for you, Simi Valley has some amazing Hiking trails. About nineteen of them on my last count.
Of course, everyone is going to have their favorite trails, but here are my two favorites.
My favorite is probably Tapo Canyon Trail which is located at the North end of Tapo Canyon Road near the Big Sky area. The trail is over four miles long round trip and according to all trails dot com, the hike is moderately difficult.
My second favorite is Rocky Peak Trail which is located right at the Eastern edge of Simi Valley. Take the Rocky Peak Rd exit and head North over the overpass. This trail is pretty long, clocking in about six miles in one direction, but of course you don’t have to go the entire way. This path is also rated as moderate. Which goes to show that I’m not in great shape, but not terrible shape either. Yay me!
Fun fact, the popular show The Mandalorian which streams on Disney plus shot some of it’s second season right near this trail.
Simi Town Center
When you think of free activities, a mall probably doesn’t rank very high on your list. The Simi Valley Town Center is the largest outdoor mall in the city. Although it is a traditional mall with plenty of stores, and restaurants to spend your money, there are a few things that won’t cost you a penny.
4. Skateboarding Hall of Fame
First, there is the Skateboarding Hall of Fame and Museum. This non-profit organization first opened its doors in nineteen ninety-seven. It was created to honor the passion and dedication by pro skateboarders and industry icons in contributing to skateboarding’s history and culture throughout the decades.
It is a ten thousand square foot museum which is volunteer run and one hundred precent free to the public. One feature is the Lookback Library, which features thousands of Skateboarding Magazines, Books, Videos and more, all accessible and available to the public for research.
Inside the museum there is a small indoor Skatepark with a fun mini ramp and more. Although not free, they also offer in-house skateboarding lessons to beginners ages four and up.
The Skateboarding Hall of Fame and Museum relies on donations from the public to continue bringing fun and informative exhibits and displays to the city of Simi Valley. So, if you enjoy the museum, please consider making a donation.
5. VFW Museum of Military History
Next you’ll find the Veterans of Foreign Wars Museum of Military History. The purpose of the Museum is educational. It’s goal is to reach out to both young and adults alike, and educating both groups on the importance of our military history from the birth of our Nation to the present War on Terrorism.
There are hundreds of military posters and historical artifacts on display that have been donated by local Veterans and collectors. There are Vietnam era weapons on display, munitions and military equipment from all eras. Hundred-year old posters, World War Two era newspapers, uniforms and much more provide a historical sequence of events.
Bonus. The Game Exchange
Here’s a quick bonus activity up at the Simi Valley Town Center if you ever head up there for numbers four or five on this list.
The Game Exchange which is located just down the path from the Studio Movie Grill. Although it is not a non-profit organization like the previous two locations, The Game Exchange offers free arcade games and air hockey to all its visitors, whether you are buying something or not. And if you’re in the market for a new game, whether you are looking for something new, or something more vintage, The Game Exchange has been serving Simi Valley for over twenty years. Support a local business and free air hockey? Why would you pass that up?