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March 20
2012 - County supervisors approve 50-year operating agreement for Placerita Canyon State Park [read]

The Good Long Road | Commentary by Jennifer Fischer
| Saturday, Sep 14, 2013

JenniferFischerThis is it – the final piece of the “ABCs of the SCV Series” – Z.

Z is for Zero.

No, not “zero ideas left,” but rather things to do in the Santa Clarita Valley that cost nothing. Zero!

Some have been mentioned previously in the series, but now they’ll be in once place along with other things we love to do as a family that cost absolutely nothing.

First, a brief recap of everything I’ve shared during the series: Animals, Bikes, Central Park, Drums, Education, Family Dinner, Golf, Hiking, Imagination, Jammin’, Kitchen, Library, Movies, Newhall, Out of Town, Pizza, Quake, Reading, Summer Meals, Taste (local eateries), “Um” that led to Unsung Heroes, Val Verde, We (a post about community), X-rays, Yoga and now, Zero.

Throughout the series, I’ve shared many of our favorite local parks and playgrounds and hiking trails, and I would definitely say that for us, outdoor play is our absolute favorite thing to do in the Santa Clarita Valley that costs absolutely nothing.

With two young children (2 and almost 4), we often like to do dinner at a park instead of a restaurant because it is so much easier. Our favorite parks are Valencia Heritage Park, Hasley Canyon Park and West Creek Village Park – but there are many amazing parks and playgrounds in the Santa Clarita Valley. Basically every area and neighborhood has one, so if you aren’t taking advantage of the park closest to you, you really should start.

For hiking, I love Placerita Canyon and Towsley Canyon, and there are plenty of bike trails and jogging trails. With my almost-4-year-old, I love to jog the paseos and trails that start behind Whole Foods, because when we leave the mall, we encounter two play structures for him to enjoy. He often brings his scooter, and I jog along side. It’s a pretty good (and free) workout.

Many other free opportunities in the Santa Clarita Valley come my way through both the city of Santa Clarita Public Libraries and the Los Angeles County Public Library, which runs the Castaic Library and the Santa Clarita Valley Bookmobile. Through both, we check out tons of books and rent movies (for free). There are also storytime, activities for elementary-aged kids and teens, book clubs and movie nights.

In the summer, of course, there are the Concerts in the Park at Santa Clarita Central Park and Jazz at the Westfield Valencia Town Center, as well as various free movie nights at parks throughout the city. Plus, the Val Verde Pool and Castaic Aquatic Center have swim times that are free (usually noon to 5 p.m.).

In Newhall, you can take advantage of Hart Park and the Hart Museum and enjoy Senses on Main Street every third Thursday through much of the year (this is for the grown-ups). It’s a free, themed block party from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. with live musical entertainment and much more. This coming Thursday, Sept. 19, head down there to go “Down the Rabbit Hole” with an “Alice in Wonderland”-themed event.

I can’t forget to mention the duck pond at Bridgeport – it’s a huge favorite with my sons. Finally, CalArts offers free live music and performances. Simply search “CalArts The Wild Beast” and you’ll see what’s coming up.

Did I forget something? Is there another free event or activity that you love? If so, drop a comment here or pop over to The Good Long Road on Facebook and let me know. I’m also looking for fun, free activities for my family or for a budget-friendly date night.


Jennifer Fischer is co-founder of the SCV Film Festival, a mom of two, an independent filmmaker and owner of Think Ten Media Group, whose Generation Arts division offers programs for SCV youth. She writes about her parenting journey on her blog, The Good Long Road. Her commentary is published Saturdays on SCVNews.com.


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