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“A nice reprise of the area's natural history and environment”

The Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center at Channel Islands National Park
Ranked #6 of 71 things to do in Ventura
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed November 25, 2012

I have been visiting this place on and off since before 1991 and I think this is a very good place to take young children. I know that my daughter (who normally got bored with museums) enjoyed it in 2000 at the age of eight). I enjoy just going and renewing my knowledge of the area from when I use to live there in late 60's, 70's, and early 80's.

Not much to say about it except it is free, and while it is getting a bit yuppie on the environment stuff, it is still a nice place to visit (and there is an elevator for those stair challenged folks). Take part of the day and go see what the Channel Islands have that most of us concrete jungle folks do not see, except at a distance.

Thank 1Ray
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 7, 2012

This is a great stop with kids. First off it's free, the tidepool tank is great, the Rangers and volunteers are friendly and knowledgeable, you an watch a movie about the islands, and hang out in the harbor, then go across the road to the beach!

Thank Katherine P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 31, 2011

If you have young children and you want an awesome place to take them to learn about nature and particularly the Channel Islands, take them to the National Park Service's Visitor Center located in Ventura Harbor. Go to the end of the Harbor entrance road, just past the Island Packers where you board boats for a trip out to the Islands. Parking is free at the beach lot on your left. This spot at the end of the road gives you perhaps one of the best views in Ventura County. Looking West is a terrific view of Ventura and its local mountains. Looking South is a view of the ocean and the Channel Islands on a clear day. And of course the harbor itself is beautiful.

Now about the Visitor Center. It is specifically set up for young children but is also interesting for adults. There is a small aquarium where the kids can get a good look at local fish, shells and underwater plants. There are several interactive displays that teach about the islands' history and the recent attempts at preservation & restoration. There are also some hands on displays that will keep the young ones amused and interested. Don't miss a climb to the 3rd floor observation tower, a good place to capture the views I spoke about. There is also a 25 minute film about the Islands and the Park Service's activities. It is in HD and it is great. Occasionally they will broadcast, real time, the researchers during their actual dives off the Islands.

Now here is the best part for the little ones. The Park Service has a Junior Ranger program. They will give your child a workbook for them to fill out as they explore the visitor center. It takes them through most of the exhibits and helps them learn about what they are seeing. After they complete their assignments (we spread this out over three visits for our 4-year old grandson) they interview a ranger, get their workbook checked and receive their Junior Ranger badge. It is a very worthwhile children's activity and interesting for the parents as well.

On the way out of the center don't miss the small but interesting native plant garden in front of the center. Also, if you want to make a full day of your visit to the harbor, you can spend several hours at the beach right across from the Visitor Center. It has one of the best protected beaches for young children just to the right of the jetty. On the left side of the jetty the beach is open to the full force of the waves, so everyone can be happy here. After swimming you can treat the family to some shopping in the harbor's unique shops and then get some dinner at one of the local restaurants. My favorite is Brophy Brothers. They have a great happy hour during the week from 4-7 PM.

So don't miss a day out at Ventura Harbor!

5  Thank CarlOjai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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