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EAT, DRINK & PLAY   -   ENTERTAINMENT
Great Finds - 50 Fun Things to Do for Under $50
Part 2
June, 2006 - Issue #20
Compiled by Therese Edwards

Some of you asked nicely. Others offered bribes, and a few of you even threatened bodily harm - all in the name of a good time.

So here it is - the holy grail of fun in the SCV. Use it to amaze out-of-towners, ease first-date jitters, cure couple boredom or calm the storm otherwise known as your twins.

You know the rules: Prices quoted here are, unless otherwise noted, for one adult, and can change at the whim of the powers that be (also known as "not us").

We've met your demands - now please stop keying our cars.

Fun in the Sun

1. Get Rolling - Santa Clarita's Skate & Bike Park is fully equipped with a 75-foot snake run, a double bowl, a keyhole, a low rail and a pyramid - and you can ride for free. Helmet and kneepads required; www.santa-clarita.com/cityhall/parks/rec/skatepark

2. Splash Zone - The Aquatics Center boasts a slide, zero-entry wading pool and more on the cheap: it's only $3 for folks 18 and older, $2 for ages 3 to 17 and kids 2 and under are free; 250-3700

3. Bargain Central - Hone your bartering skills while noshing on a pancake breakfast, iced lemonade, fresh fruit, sausages and more. Entrance fees for the Saugus SwapMeet/Santa Clarita Open Air Market are $1.50 and there's live entertainment from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays; 259-3886

4. Float in a Boat - For a low $28, you can rent a 14-feet long, six-horse-power boat that fits four and fish/swim/float to your heart's content on Castaic Lake. Price is for the first two hours; after that, it's $6 per hour; 775-6232

5. Giddy Up - Suitable for all experience levels, this Don-E-Brook Farms $25 trail ride will introduce you to parts of the Angeles National Forest not seen by city folk; 297-7669

Experience Live Performances

6. Family Fun - The Canyon Theatre Guild is known for great family-friendly musicals and plays. Prices start at $12; 799-2702

7. It's a Rap at the REP - The REP (Repertory East Playhouse) provides an intimate venue for powerful performances. Prices start at $14; 288-0000

8. Now that's a Stage - The COC Performing Arts Center draws names like Melissa Manchester and also hosts local shows and professional troupes. Prices start as low as $5; 257-7870

9. Not your Traditional Disney Set - The Cal Arts School of Music's seriously talented faculty and student body performs regularly at the Roy O. Disney Music Hall with prices varying per performance; 253-7800

10. Caffeine Jolt - Java N' Jazz on Town Center hosts free live music performances on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights; 287-4500

For the Little Ones

11. Story Time and Cuddly Bears - Barnes and Noble hosts a professional story teller on Saturday mornings at 10 a.m. for a free performance. After story time, enjoy a Teddy Bear Picnic with Party Wishes. You can stuff and dress your own bear, then munch on teddy bear graham crackers, sandwich and more for $12 to $23 a person; 254-6604 and 263-PARTY

Expand your Mind

12. Isn't it Fun to be Debt-Free? - Take a one-day debt elimination class for $49 and learn creative ways to eliminate debt and plan for retirement. Change your financial life through the creation of better habits with instruction in Total Financial Solution's Money School; 800-990-7344

13. Learn to Cook from a Professional Chef and Recognize Wine like a Pro - All Corked Up's Chef Christina, a graduate from the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu, instructs you on thematic gourmet offerings starting at $35 a class, or join ACU for $25 Tuesday Night Tastings, where you'll learn about (and taste) wines and cheeses from around the world; 799-7979

Not Far from the SCV...

14. Gone Cherry Pickin' - U Pick Sweet and Sour Cherry Orchards open in June, depending on the weather. A pound of hand-picked cherries will run you under $3, and it's a short and lovely drive to Leona Valley from Santa Clarita. Call the cherry hotline for directions and availability; 266-7116

15. Take the Train - Take the Metrolink to Alivera Street for shopping and lunch. A roundtrip train ticket for adults is $12.50 on a weekday and $9.50 on the weekend. Kids' tickets are $6.25. Log on for up-to-date schedules; www.metrolinktrains.com

Blast to the Past

16. The Wild West - The William S. Hart Park & Museum is the home of the former silent film cowboy star and director. Enjoy Western art, movie props and Native American artifacts, plus enjoy the buffalo (to pet, not to eat). Admission is free; 254-4584

17. Explore Local Heritage - Heritage Junction Historic Park has an old-time train, historic buildings, and more. Open weekends with free admission; 254-1275

18. Ghost Town - The remnants of Mentryville, an 1880s oil town, is said to be home to spooky specters. Trained volunteers are available for free tours; www.mentryville.org

19. Go Backwards through History - Fillmore Western Railway's train tours will take you back to the 19th century - all starting at $20; 800-773-TRAINS

Live the High Life

20. Speak with an English Accent - Pretend you're "over the pond" and enjoy an English afternoon tea experience from Victorian Tea Time. The relaxing and tasty chick-fest can be had for $25 a person; 600-2870

21. Let's Do Brunch - Relax on Sunday morning with mimosas and fresh-carved fare for only $28 per person. Brunch runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; 678-4044

Adults Only

22. Laugh the Night Away - J.R.'s Comedy Club, located in Marie Callender's on The Old Road, draws big names and boasts a small price tag; dinner and the show is a miniscule $22.99; 259-2291

23. Sip Martinis on the Patio - Ever had a Christini Martini? It'll be the best $10 you ever spent. Go to Salt Creek Grille right now and people-watch on the covered patio or enjoy live music in the bar; 222-9999

24. Enjoy Top-Shelf Wine - Wine 661 offers First Class Flights of their best offerings for $16.95 on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; 288-2980

Off-the-Beaten-Path Eats

25. Visit some Farmers - The City of Santa Clarita's Farmers' Market runs every Thursday through spring and summer and is located between 5th and 6th street on San Fernando Road from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is free, but bring cash for the freshest fruits, veggies, handcrafted jewelry, flowers and other treats.

26. Way Out There - The Way Station is way-outa-the-way on San Fernando Road, which is why it's a favorite of both weekend-warrior bikers and locals. Enjoy history and hearty portions; 255-0222

27. Hey, is that a Shrimp in your Hat? - Dining at Kisho means you'll get a delicious Japanese meal and a show - chefs prepare your food at your table. Dishes start at $16; 284-3856

28. Diner Goodness 24 Hours a Day - The Saugus Cafe is as tasty as it is historic; it goes back all the way to 1887! With offerings ranging from chili spaghetti to Mexican-style breakfast burritos, there's something for everyone starting at $3.95; 259-7886

29. From Westridge, CA to Castro with Love - Mojito's Cuban Jazz band plays Fridays and Saturdays from 10 p.m. to midnight. The free performance is best accompanied with a minty mojito libation; 254-2018

30. When they Say "Spicy," they Mean Spicy! - Fresh, delicious and cheap, the Thai food at Mom Can Cook Thai Kitchen comes with true ambiance; the restaurant's walls are wood-lined, the waiters are Thai, and the music is unobtrusively authentic. Lunch specials start under $5; 251-8103

Visit Nature

31. Feel like a Flinstone - Vasquez Rocks is known nationally for its spiky rock horizon, but did you know that the sunsets are gorgeous (and free)? Pack a picnic and go to hike or just to take in the scenery; 268-0840

32. Golden Dreams - Located just a short walk from the Placerita Canyon Nature Center, the Oak of the Golden Dream is where California's first gold was found. Call the Center for free tour times; 259-7721

33. Lions and Tigers and Tippi, Oh My! - Tippi Hedren's Shambala Preserve is an 80-acre wildlife habitat that's home to dozens of leopards, panthers, cheetahs, lions, tigers and more. Tours are periodically available for $35; 268-0380

34. You Look Lovely in the Moonlight - The Placerita Canyon Nature Center offers monthly moonlight hikes, as well as bird watching excursions and lots more for free!; 259-7721

Time to Play

35. Unlimited Fun for One Price - Moutasia Fun Center offers unlimited play passes during the summer, which includes go karts, bumper boats, miniature golf and more starting at $19.99; 253-4386

36. Glow Bowling - Valencia Lanes offers neon bowling on Fridays and Saturdays, complete with funky music, for $14 including shoe rentals; 222-9080

37. AYS Oh My! - Enjoy open play at the Santa Clarita Soccer Center for a kickin' $7; 288-2600

38. Take Aim - BYOG (Bring Your Own Gun) to A Place to Shoot. This rifle, pistol and shotgun range caters to the family with $11 all-day entries; 296-5552.

39. Hit a Homer - Tournament Batting Cages offer everyone a chance to be a homerun hitter starting at $ ; 298-0624

40. Futuristic Fighting - Laser Dome Tag is fun for all ages, although being beaten by your 7 year old can be embarrassing. Games start at $6.50; 253-4386

41. Goal! - Watching high school hockey at the Ice Station Valencia is nothing if low-cost entertainment (about $5), or take to the ice yourself for $ ; 775-8686

42. Ugh... You Got Me! - What could be more fun than shooting your friends and family with neon-colored paint pellets while running through the Proving Groundz Astroturfed, glass-enclosed field for $49.95?; 253-9600

43. He Shoots, He Scores! - Basketball, racquet ball and volleyball glory can again be yours on the community courts at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex or the Castaic Sports Complex. Rentals start at $2.50; 250-3758 and 775-8865

44. Eight Ball in the Corner Pocket - Play billiard games for free at the Santa Clarita Activities Center (13 and over); 250-3703

45. Tee Off - Vista Valencia offers two golf-oriented words that rarely meet: fun and affordability. Play a "chica" course starting at $11; 253-1870

46. Gone Fishin' - Grab your tackle box and a sack lunch - you're going freshwater fishing at Castaic Lake, where you'll pay $11 per vehicle; 257-4050

Special Events

47. Patriotic Showcase - A host of events are planned for the annual Fourth of July celebration in Santa Clarita. The Fourth of July parade through the community runs north along San Fernando Road from 5th Street to Lyons Avenue, turns west on Lyons and north onto Orchard Village Road, ending at 16th Street. The parade commences at 9:30 a.m. That evening, fireworks provided by the City of Santa Clarita will begin at approximately 9:20 p.m. at the Valencia Town Center.

Summer Concerts

48. Concerts in the Park - The city will be producing the Concerts in the Park series this summer at Central Park every Saturday at 7 p.m. for eight weeks. Admission is free. Here's the rundown for this year:
July 8 Queen Nation (Tribute to Queen)
July 15 Travelin Band (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
July 22 Hotel CA (Eagles)
July 29 Hollywood U2 (U2)
August 5 Rod Hanna (Rod Stewart)
August 12 Pretzel Logic (Steely Dan)
August 19 Natural Wonders (Stevie Wonder)
August 26 Spazmatics (The Eighties)


49. Lexus of Valencia Jazz & Blues - This year's series, set to begin Friday, June 9, will run consecutively for 14 weeks through September 8. Hours for the concerts will be 7 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. The events will take place on Town Center Drive adjacent to the Hyatt Valencia.

In addition to the extraordinary sounds offered from some of the top jazz and blues recording artists in the world, the scheduled series will bring a variety of interactive programming for the entire family as well as a variety of food and beverages, including wine and beer for the adults. No pets or outside food or beverages are allowed. Admission is free; 290-2911

50. Westfield Valencia Town Center's Hot Summer Nights Concert Series - This concert series will take place every Tuesday from July 18 to August 8 between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Presented by Keyes Lexus of Valencia and Countrywide Home Loans, the Hot Summer Nights concert series is complimentary and will be held in Town Square, located outside the food court entrance of Westfield Valencia Town Center.
Westfield Valencia Town Center's Hot Summer Nights concert series calendar includes:
July 18 Boogie Knights
July 25 Radio Disney Family Night
August 1 Kings of Swing
August 8 The Spazmatics
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