Kiska the wolf was the first wild animal to roam the grounds at Moorpark College. She soon became part of the Exotic Animal Training and Management (EATM) Program. With the addition of landscaping and enclosures that mimic natural habitats, the program transformed into a 5-acre zoo with primates, coyotes, emus, and an African lioness. The zoo currently houses almost 135 animals and caters to students in the EATM. In addition to class work, they visit the zoo daily, learning how to train and care for exotic animals. Patrons can witness these interactions with the animals at the shows or during the animal demonstrations where student trainers present animals performing behaviors they have trained.
Keri Bowers is an autism advocate. She’s a speaker, author, filmmaker, mother, and the founder of Pause4Kids. Normal People Scare Me—her 2006 film made in conjunction with her son, an aspiring filmmaker with autism—interviewed 65 people with autism, exploring seldom-asked questions such as “Do you like being autistic?” and “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Through her films, Keri has spread awareness about autism-spectrum disorders and other disabilities, but her work gets far more hands-on as well.
Pause4Kids aims to improve the quality of special education, empowers parents to support their children, and advocates for children’s legal and civil rights. Following a whole-child philosophy, the organization’s volunteers believe that special education should cover a variety of disciplines, including the academic, social-communication, emotional, and recreation realms to enable youth with disabilities to thrive among their peers. Staff members also sponsor a monthly advocacy group and regular recreational activities, such as Art-A-Thons and Abilities Awareness events.
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Each of Paint A Dream’s three studios are ringed by shelves, each stacked high with bleached-white ceramics that stare out longingly, ready to welcome creative coatings of paint. Artists pick out their ceramic soulmates from plates, platters, cups, and figurines before turning them into personalized masterpieces. Using provided paints and brushes, they adorn pieces with colorful designs, drawings, and algebraic equations. Once muses deem painting finished, staff members usher each piece away to be glazed and fired. The studios welcome walk-in creators as well as groups including class trips, birthday parties, and fundraisers.
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum chronicles the life and career of President Reagan on a sprawling, 100-acre Simi Valley campus. The museum's more than 100,000 square feet of exhibits, including an Oval Office replica and President Reagan's gravesite, draws in history buffs and provides children with an often-interactive primer to America’s 40th president and the 1976 winner of the Iditarod. Visitors can use the museum’s GuideCam handheld device for a detailed audio tour. Headphones allow private immersion in the background of exhibits such as Reagan's actual Air Force One and a piece of the Berlin Wall. Examining all the exhibits usually takes about three hours, though visitors can rest and refuel at the Ronald Reagan Pub housed within the museum, which features sandwiches, beverages, and a vintage Walter Mondale dartboard.
FastFrame outlines photographs and wall-worthy art with more than 1,000 frames in styles ranging from baroque gold trims to funky, contemporary schemes. Dedicated to craftsmanship and creativity, professional framers help select matting hues to complement a diploma or the original Bill of Rights banning knuckle cracking. All projects are completed onsite, ensuring that no materials get dented or lost by clumsy carrier pigeons, and clients can return any custom designs for complete retooling within 30 days if they don't match homes' décor.
Ghouls, goblins, angels, and bumblebee's trample through the friendly filth at the Conejo Valley Halloween Mud Run. Racers sweat in running spandex or costumes as they complete either a 5K or 10K course complete with hay bales to hurdle, walls to climb, and mud pits to throw incriminating evidence into. The prospect of warm showers greets racers as they finish, along with food vendors, exhibitors, and live music. Racers power through the muck in groups of 75–100 fellow crazies, each affixed with an electronic chip for accurate race timing.