We moved here in August of last year. Nearly a year later I visit The Collection Riverpark in Oxnard for the first time. On a whim really, my wife having suggested it after a Starbucks run in the morning. The shopping area around Starbucks entertained the girls while she took care of phone calls. They played near the fountain looking at the dead bugs floating in the water. My kids really seem to notice insects, dead or alive. My two year old exclaimed there were also coins in the fountain. We explained about wishing wells. “Wishing wells is where you throw a coin in and make a wish,” my six year old says. “But you can’t tell anyone.” She looks at me. “Papa, can you tell a wish if it already came true?” Stunned that she remembered a wishing well wish, I said, “I don’t see why not.” “Well I had wished that I had a Happy Fourth of July.” You can’t make this up. We go to Oxnard at least once every few weeks for shopping, but we had yet to go to The Collection. We had heard about the kid friendliness from other families. Having visited, I can now say I am impressed by how family friendly The Collection is as a whole.
We walked into a few stores that were stroller friendly. I was surprised at the amount of families that were walking around. I was pleasantly surprised to find the Container Store had a kid sized table, chairs, paper and crayons to draw with. My six year old was thrilled and quickly sat down to draw. The two year old lost interest after two minutes. She was especially interested in the lightweight, brightly colored kid chairs which she un-staked and formed a train with. I think she remembered playing musical chairs with her cousins on the Fourth of July. In four years they will both be able to sit and draw for six minutes! When we exited it, I quickly missed the air conditioning.
But that is okay! They have a splash area for the kids to cool off while you jealously watch them. As rookies, we arrived at the beginning of the ONE-hour in the middle of the day in which it is turned off for maintenance (12:00 - 1:00pm). Undeterred by the long wait ahead, people had already camped out in certain areas with shade. It is like a decent sized area with a few restaurants dotted around it. I look forward to coming back prepared with bathing suits and an extra set of clothes. We then headed to the park. What a big park! It has a playground for the kids. There was a fairly large group of kids enjoying the see-saw. I had never seen one as large. It held about 3 kids on each side. It was the only contraption drawing attention. My daughters quickly took off their shoes and ran to the other structures. My youngest lasted about 15 seconds before she came running back. My daughter made it to a spinning chair before she had to cool her feet. We had to put the two year old’s shoes back on so she could enjoy the playground. She lasted about 5 minutes before the two year old came back unwilling to exert herself on an almost 80 degree day. My six year old spent at least ten more minutes climbing. I challenged her to do the arc monkey bars. She surprisingly failed and seemed okay with it.
Let’s get a shade! I saw very little shade throughout the outdoor mall. We should have put sunblock on our daughters and we will next time, The Collection Riverpark is in dire need of more shading, particularly at the playground in the park. It might not get too hot in Oxnard, but on the day we visiting, it felt uncomfortable at the playground while the two parents huddle around a tree like dogs trying to pee. By the way, we saw a French Bulldog at the playground. I can see the collection being somewhat dog friendly. I’m sure the dogs could also use some shade and maybe water bowls for hot summer days.
I can see the pull of The Collection Riverpark of people coming from Ventura County and even Los Angeles. They had the Hello Kitty Cafe Truck a few days ago. My six year old was fascinated by everything and enjoyed the visual experience. My two year old was not won over and quickly passed out in the car on our way home. Why? Because the collection is ENORMOUS! There is so much to see and do. Which is why we will be going back. And I want a Five Guys Burger.