Thousand Oaks is the second-largest city in Ventura County, California, United States. It is in the northwestern part of Greater Los Angeles, approximately 35 miles (56 km) from Downtown Los Angeles and is less than 15 mi (24 km) from the Los Angeles city neighborhood of Woodland Hills. It was named after the many oak trees that grow in the area, and the city seal is adorned with an oak.
The city forms the central populated core of the Conejo Valley. Thousand Oaks was incorporated in 1964, but has since expanded to the west and east. Two-thirds of neighboring Westlake Village and most of Newbury Park were annexed by the city during the late 1960s and 1970s. The Los Angeles County–Ventura County line crosses at the city's eastern border with Westlake Village. The population was estimated to be 129,339 in 2015, up from 126,683 at the 2010 census. Thousand Oaks is 55 square miles, which, for comparison, is 20 percent larger than San Francisco.
Thousand Oaks and Newbury Park were part of a master-planned city, created by the Janss Investment Company in the mid-1950s. It included about 1,000 custom home lots, 2,000 single-family residences, a regional shopping center, a 200-acre (0.81 km2) industrial park and several neighborhood shopping centers. The median home price is around $669,500.
Thousand Oaks is one of the safest cities in America based on consistent FBI reporting. It was ranked the fourth-safest among cities with a population greater than 100,000 in the United States by the FBI's 2013 Uniform Crime Reports.
One of the earliest names used for the area was Conejo Mountain Valley, as used by the founder of Newbury Park, Egbert Starr Newbury, in the 1870s. During the 1920s, today’s Thousand Oaks was home to 100 residents. In the 1920s came talks of coming up with a name for the specific area of Thousand Oaks. A local name contest was held, where 14 year-old Bobby Harrington’s name suggestion won: Thousand Oaks. The valley was - and still is - characterized by its tens of thousands of oak trees (50-60,000 in 2012).
When the city later was incorporated in 1964, Janss Corporation suggested the name Conejo City (City of Conejo). A petition was signed by enough residents to put "Thousand Oaks" on the ballot. An overwhelming majority － 87% － of the city’s 19,000 residents voted for the name Thousand Oaks at the September 29, 1964 election.
Chumash people were the first to inhabit what is now called Thousand Oaks, settling there over 10,000 years ago. It was home to two major villages: Sap’wi ("House of the Deer") and Satwiwa ("The Bluffs"). Sap’wi is now by the Chumash Interpretive Center which is home to multiple 2,000 year-old pictographs. Satwiwa is now an Indian Culture Center which sits at the foothills of Mount Boney in Newbury Park, a sacred mountain to the Chumash.
A smaller village, Yitimasɨh, was located where Wildwood Elementary School sits today. The area surrounding Wildwood Regional Park has been inhabited by the Chumash for thousands of years. Some of the artifacts discovered in Wildwood include stone tools, shell beads and arrowheads. Another small Chumash settlement, known as Šihaw (Ven-632i), was located where Lang Ranch sits today. A cave containing several swordfish and cupules pictographs is located here. Two other villages were located by today’s Ventu Park Road in Newbury Park. These were populated 2,000 years ago and had a population of 100-200 in each village. Other villages included Lalimanuc (Lalimanux) and Kayɨwɨš (Kayiwish) by Conejo Grade.
The Chumash also had several summer camps, including one located where Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza currently stands, known as Ipuc (Ven-654). Another summer camp was located at the current location of Los Robles Hospital.
Each village was ruled by a chief or several chieftains, who often traveled between villages to discuss matters of common interest. A council of elders directed village life and organized events. Most villages had a cemetery, gaming field, a sweat house and a place for ceremonies. Locally discovered tribal artifacts are at display at Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center and the Chumash Indian Museum.
The region's recorded history dates to 1542 when Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo landed at Point Mugu and claimed the land for Spain. The Battle of Triunfo, which took place by Triunfo Creek, was waged over land between native Chumash and the Spanish newcomers.
From 1804 to 1848, Thousand Oaks was part of Alta California, which originally was a Spanish polity in North America. It was the Spaniards who first named it Conejo Valley, or Valley of Rabbits. The Spaniards and indigenous Chumash clashed numerous times in disputes over land. Conejo Valley was given the name El Rancho Conejo in 1803. This year Jose Polanco and Ignacio Rodriguez were granted El Rancho Conejo by Governor José Joaquín de Arrillaga of Alta California. The land contained 48,671.56 acres. El Conejo was just one of two land grants in what became Ventura County, the other being Rancho Simi.
As a result of the Mexican War of Independence in 1822, Alta California became a Mexican territory. In 1822, Captain José de la Guerra y Noriega filed Conejo Valley as part of the Mexican land grant. It remained a part of Mexico until the short-lived California Republic was established in 1846. It became a part of the U.S. after California gained statehood in 1850. The valley was now known as Rancho El Conejo. The ranch period began when the de la Guerra family sold thousands of acres through the 1860s and early 1870s.
Two men owned most of Conejo Valley in the 1870s: John Edwards, who came from Wales in 1849, and Howard Mills, who came from Minnesota in 1870. While Edwards owned most of present-day Thousand Oaks and Newbury Park, Mills owned most of Westlake Village and Hidden Valley. Edwards' home was located on an acre of land where The Oaks Mall currently is located, while Mills built his home where Westlake Lake sits today. The third person to buy former Rancho El Conejo land was Egbert Starr Newbury. He bought 2,259 acres of land here in 1874, land which stretched from Old Town Thousand Oaks and into today’s Newbury Park. He later established the valley’s first post office in 1875: Newbury Park Post Office. When the Conejo Valley School District was established in March 1877, there were 126 residents living in Conejo Valley.
In the late 19th century Newbury Park was on the stagecoach route between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. The Stagecoach Inn (Grand Union Hotel) was built in 1876, and is now a California Historical Landmark and museum.
Thousand Oaks was home to a Norwegian community in the late 1890s and early 1900s, known as Norwegian Colony. Norwegian settlers were among the first to settle in Conejo Valley. The Norwegian Colony was located at today’s intersection of Moorpark- and Olsen Roads, now home to California Lutheran University (CLU) and surrounding areas. The Norwegian Colony constituted of over 650 acres and stretched from Mount Clef Ridge to Avenida de Los Arboles. The son of Norwegian immigrants donated his ranch to California Lutheran College in the 1950s. California Lutheran University is now home to the Scandinavian American Cultural and Historical Foundation and the Scandinavian Festival.
Many place names are named after Norwegian immigrants such as the Olsen- and Pedersen families. The first Norwegians came from the village of Stranda by Storfjorden. Ole Anderson bought 199 acres here, while Lars Pederson owned 111 acres. Other Norwegian pioneers also included Ole Nilsen, George Hansen and Nils Olsen. A major contribution was the construction of the hand-made Norwegian Grade in 1911, a 1-mile road leading from Thousand Oaks to Santa Rosa Valley.
With no doctors or hospitals nearby, the Norwegian Colony was short-lived. The Olsen family lost seven of their ten children, while Ole Anderson, Lars Pederson and George Hansen all died in 1901 due to a diphtheria epidemic.
Newbury Park was a more established and older community than Thousand Oaks at the turn of the 20th century. A few lots existed early in the 1900s, wedged between Borchard land on the south and Friedrich land on the north. The Janss family, developers of Southern California subdivisions, purchased 10,000 acres (40 km2) in the early 20th century. They eventually created plans for a "total community" and the name remains prominently featured in the city. Despite early aspirations, no large subdivisions were developed until the 1920s. The development was slow and hampered even more under the Great Depression of the 1930s. Besides agriculture, the movie industry became an important industry in the 1920s and 1930s.
Between 1950 and 1970, Conejo Valley experienced a population boom, and increased its population from 3,000 to 30,000 residents. From 3,500 residents in 1957, Thousand Oaks had over 103,000 inhabitants by 1989. While ranching and agriculture were the dominant industries until the 1950s, a number of new businesses appeared throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Particularly many high-tech firms moved to Thousand Oaks in the 60's and 70's. Packard Bell and Technology Instrument Company were two high-technology businesses that moved into Newbury Park's industrial park in the 1960s. Other companies that followed included Westinghouse Astroelectronics Laboratory, Semtech Corporation, Purolator Inc., and Westland Plastics.
Jungleland USA put Thousand Oaks on the map in the 1920s and helped attract Hollywood producers to the city. Hundreds of movies have been filmed in Thousand Oaks. Some of the first films to be made here were The Birth of a Nation (1915) at Jungleland USA and Roaring Ranch (1930) at the Stagecoach Inn. Thousand Oaks Boulevard was featured in the "Walls of Jericho"-scenes in the Oscar-winning film It Happened One Night (1934). A western village was erected at California Lutheran University for the filming of Welcome to Hard Times (1967), while Elvis Presley and John Wayne starred in several westerns made in Wildwood Regional Park. A nearby road, Flaming Star Avenue, is named after the film Flaming Star (1960) starring Elvis Presley, which was filmed here. Other movies filmed in the valley included Lassie Come Home (1943), To the Shores of Iwo Jima (1945) and The Dukes of Hazzard (1979–85). Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis visited Thousand Oaks for the filming of Hollywood or Bust (1956), which included a scene filmed on Live Oak Street.
Movie actor Joel McCrea was advised by Will Rogers to buy land in Thousand Oaks, and he later purchased 3,000 acres here in the early 1930s. Numerous celebrities later joined McCrea and relocated to the Conejo Valley, including Dean Martin, Bob Hope, Roy Rogers, Strother Martin, Virginia Mayo, Michael O’Shea, Ben Johnson, Slim Pickens, Ronald Colman, George Brent, Eve Arden, Alan Ladd, Richard Widmark, Charles Martin Smith, and Bing- and Kurt Russell.
While the city was home to 1,700 businesses in 1970, Thousand Oaks had 11,000 businesses in town by 1988.
Louis Goebel of New York bought five lots off Ventura Boulevard (today’s Thousand Oaks Boulevard) in 1925. He worked for Universal Studios, and decided to create his own film industry zoo after the closure of Universal Zoo in the mid-1920s. He established Goebel's Lion Farm in 1926, situated where Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza is located today. While Goebel began with five lions and seven malamute dogs, he soon got new animals such as giraffes, camels, hippos, monkeys, tigers, gorillas, seals and other exotic animals.
It became home to several Leo the Lion of MGM Pictures fame. There were held public animal shows, which drew thousands of spectators from throughout California. The animals from the park have been used in a variety of movies and TV-series, including numerous Tarzan films, The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) (which was filmed on site) and Doctor Doolittle (1967). Goebel himself camped by the filming site of Tarzan, the Ape Man (1932) by Lake Sherwood to watch his lions during filming.
It became one of Southern California’s most popular tourists attractions in the 1940s and 1950s, when the 170-acre park offered shows, lion training, elephant rides, train rides, safari tram buses and more. The park changed name to Jungleland USA in 1956 after Disneyland was established. The park later went bankrupt in May 1969, due to competition from parks such as Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm and Universal Studios. The park’s 1,800 animals were sold at a public auction in October 1969.
The City of Thousand Oaks was incorporated on October 7, 1964, the first incorporated city in the Conejo Valley. Some sources mistakenly state that Thousand Oaks was incorporated on September 29, 1964, which was the date that voters approved the incorporation and selected the name. However, the incorporation only became official once the certificates of election were filed with the California Secretary of State, and then the record of affidavit was filed with the Ventura County Clerk.
The results of the cityhood election was clear on September 24, 1964. 2,780 residents voted to set up a city, while 1,821 had voted no to incorporation. Certain areas however tried to set up its own municipality. An attempt at a cityhood election in Newbury Park, CA failed in 1963, as Talley Corporation and Janss Rancho Conejo Industrial Park refused to join the efforts. Reba Hays Jeffries, a local opponent of cityhood, told interviewers why she thought the cityhood election failed: Cityhood backers had to collect signatures from owners who represented 29% of the land that was to be incorporated. As the efforts collected 29% of registered voters, the measure never came on the ballot. Most Newbury Park land were annexed through the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s. Casa Conejo and Ventu Park are the only parts of Newbury Park left, which are not parts of Thousand Oaks. Lynn Ranch also decided to remain outside city limits.
Two-thirds of Westlake Village were annexed by Thousand Oaks in two portions - in 1968 and 1972. The Westlake neighborhood of North Ranch remained an unincorporated area until January 1973, when Thousand Oaks approved the annexation of North Ranch. North Ranch borders Oak Park, CA, an unincorporated area where voters have chosen not to be annexed into Thousand Oaks.
Thousand Oaks is encouraging mixed-use retail and housing development along the downtown portion of Thousand Oaks Boulevard. The city is "built-out" within the confines of the Conejo Valley and has adopted a smart growth strategy as there is no room for the sprawling suburban growth the city is known for.
It is known for being a planned community, as the city is one of few that have actually stayed with the master plan. Increased development in Moorpark and Simi Valley in the late 1990s and early 2000s caused the Moorpark Freeway (Highway 23) to become heavily congested during both morning and afternoon rush hours. A major widening project began in 2008 to alleviate most of this congestion. Because of its desirable environment and location, property values appreciated more than 250% in less than ten years, primarily during the mid-1990s to early 2000s.
The city of Thousand Oaks Is situated in the Conejo Valley in southeastern Ventura County, halfway between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, and 12 miles east of the Pacific Ocean. Conejo Valley lies at 900 feet; 55 of its 1,884 square miles are located within Thousand Oaks city limits. For comparison, the city is larger in area than Long Beach, CA, and 20 percent larger than San Francisco.
Designated open-space nature areas occupy 34 percent of the city as of 2017 (15,194 acres). 928 acres of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) is within the southern borders of the city. Thousand Oaks is within the Greater Los Angeles Area and is 38 miles west of Los Angeles. Malibu is located on the other side of the Santa Monica Mountains. Conejo Valley is bordered by the Santa Monica's to the south, Conejo Mountains to the west and north, and the Simi Hills to the northeast.
Thousand Oaks is located at  According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 55.2 square miles (143 km2). 55.0 square miles (142 km2) of it is land and 0.15 square miles (0.39 km2) of it (0.27%) is water.(34.189489, -118.875053).
Although Thousand Oaks has several shopping centers focused around the Janss Marketplace mall, The Oaks mall, and W. Thousand Oaks Blvd.), a large portion of the city's inhabitants live in suburban communities a distance from the commercial centers of the city. The large housing districts near Lynn Road to the north and west are an example of this sprawl, despite attempts by Ventura County planners to reduce it. Many housing tracts are surrounded by walls. This design is meant to keep heavy traffic away from residential roads.
The physiography is dominated by prominent knolls, surrounding mountains, open vistas and native oak woodland. It is home to 50-60,000 oak trees, and the city is characterized by its many oak trees and rolling green hills.
The northern parts consist of mountainous terrain in the Simi Hills, Conejo Mountains and Mount Clef Ridge. Narrow canyons such as Hill Canyon cut through the steeper mountainous areas. Conejo Mountain and Conejo Grade are found in westernmost Newbury Park, while the southernmost parts of Thousand Oaks are made up of Russell Valley, Hidden Valley and the steep rugged slopes of the Santa Monica Mountains. The elevation ranges from 500 feet in the northwest to the 2,403 feet Simi Peak. The major drainage is Conejo Creek (Arroyo Conejo).
The region experiences a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Csa in the Köppen climate classification) or dry-summer subtropical zone climate, with hot, sunny, dry summers and mild winters with moderate rainfall. Vegetation is typical of Mediterranean environments, with chaparral and grasses on the hillsides and numerous western valley oaks. Its elevation ranges from about 500 to 900 feet (excluding the mountains and hills). The area has slightly cooler temperatures than the surrounding areas, as it receives cooler air from the ocean through various hill and mountain passes. On March 10 and 11, 2006, snow fell on the peak of Boney Mountain, the first snow to fall in the area in about 20 years. Snow also fell on Boney Peak on December 17 and 18, 2008.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
The city neighborhoods were built for the blue- and white-collar class in the 1950s. Today it is an upscale city with highly educated residents. The 2010 United States Census reported that Thousand Oaks had a population of 126,683. The population density was 2,295.8 people per square mile (886.4/km2). The racial makeup of Thousand Oaks was 101,702 (80.3%) White, 1,674 (1.3%) African American, 497 (0.4%) Native American, 11,043 (8.7%) Asian, 146 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 6,869 (5.4%) from other races, and 4,752 (3.8%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 21,341 persons (16.8%). The largest ancestry group is German-Americans (15.8%), followed by Mexican (12.9%), English (11.7%), Irish (10.7%), Italian (7.2%), Russian (3.4%), Chinese (3.3%), French (3.2%), Polish (3.2%), Scottish (2.7%), Indian (2.7%), Norwegian (2.2%) and Swedish (2%).
The census reported that 124,941 people (98.6% of the population) lived in households, 1,390 (1.1%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 352 (0.3%) were institutionalized.
There were 45,836 households, out of which 16,439 (35.9%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 27,206 (59.4%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 4,260 (9.3%) had a female householder with no husband present, 1,925 (4.2%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 1,761 (3.8%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 284 (0.6%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 9,728 households (21.2%) were made up of individuals and 4,459 (9.7%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.73. There were 33,391 families (72.8% of all households); the average family size was 3.15.
The population was spread out with 30,076 people (23.7%) under the age of 18, 10,226 people (8.1%) aged 18 to 24, 29,853 people (23.6%) aged 25 to 44, 37,964 people (30.0%) aged 45 to 64, and 18,564 people (14.7%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41.5 years. For every 100 females there were 95.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.3 males.
There were 47,497 housing units at an average density of 860.8 per square mile (332.3/km2), of which 33,501 (73.1%) were owner-occupied, and 12,335 (26.9%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 0.8%; the rental vacancy rate was 5.6%. 92,510 people (73.0% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 32,431 people (25.6%) lived in rental housing units.
The median income for a household in the city was $121,088.
According to the city's most recent (2009) Comprehensive Annual Financial Report Fund financial statements, the city's various funds had $118.1 million in revenues, $113.5 million in expenditures, $245.0 million in total assets, $63.4 million in total liabilities, and $214.2 million in investments:
The structure of the management and coordination of city services is:
|City Manager||Andrew Powers|
|City Attorney||Tracy Noonan|
|City Clerk||Cynthia Rodriguez|
|Cultural Affairs||Barry McComb|
|Community Development||Mark Towne (acting)|
|Human Resources||Gary Rogers|
|Library Services||Heather Cousin|
|Public Works||Jay Spurgin|
Elected officials are very aware of the anti-growth sentiment that is common among the residents. All new development is described as slow-growth in order to be accepted by the community. Ordinances protect oak trees and the city prioritizes planting more in street medians and other public land. More than 15,000 acres (61 km2) have been preserved as open space, containing more than 75 miles (121 km) of trails. Open space has been acquired through land dedications by developers, purchase, and conservation easements. Donations of open space have been made by Bob Hope and Joel McCrea. The largest donor has been the Prudential Company which developed the community of Westlake and eventually gave more than 3,000 acres (1,200 ha).
Thousand Oaks and neighboring Simi Valley are strongholds for the Republican Party in Ventura County. As of 2007[update], Thousand Oaks had three registered Republican voters for every Democrat. Over 60 percent of voters were registered Republicans in 2008. However, by 2014, the party registrations for Thousand Oaks residents were 40.6% Republican, 31.6% Democrat, 22.1% no preference, with the remainder split among other parties.
While agriculture was the dominant industry in Thousand Oaks until the 1950s, a number of high-tech companies moved to Newbury Park in the 1960s. Today it is home to a number of hightech and biotech companies, and has been dubbed "the next Silicon Valley" for this reason. Thousand Oaks has been named one of the wealthiest cities in the United States. It was ranked the 7th-richest city in America by Trulia in 2013, while it was ranked the 13th wealthiest U.S. city by NerdWallet in 2016.
The city's economy is based on a small range of businesses, with biotechnology, electronics, automotive, aerospace, telecommunications, healthcare, and financing occupying most of Thousand Oaks' employment sector. Amgen, Teledyne Technologies, SAGE Publications, and Skyworks Solutions have corporate headquarters in the city, while Bank of America, Baxter International, General Dynamics Corporation, Verizon, Verizon Wireless, Volkswagen, Audi, General Motors, BMW, Silver Star Automotive Group, and Anthem Blue Cross manage regional offices. Thousand Oaks also has large employers as Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center, Conejo Valley Unified School District, City of Thousand Oaks, Hyatt Hotels, and California Lutheran University headquartered in the city. The city was also the former home to the corporate offices of Wellpoint and GTE, which later became Verizon, which relocated in the last decade. Hewlett-Packard was also previously located here.
J.D. Power and Associates is headquartered in Thousand Oaks. J.D. Power began moving its employees from its former headquarters in Agoura Hills, California, to its current headquarters in the Westlake section of Thousand Oaks in the weekend after April 11, 2002. The communities of Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, and Agoura Hills are served by the Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce, one of the few in California to receive four-star accreditation from the United States Chamber of Commerce. The small business community in Thousand Oaks is especially strong; Fundera ranked the city the 5th best city in California for small business in a 2016 study.
Demographic data shows that more and more of the local labor force lives within 20 miles of their place of work, and fewer Thousand Oaks residents are making the 30-mile commute to Los Angeles. Over 40 percent of residents are employed as executives or business professionals.
According to the City's 2016 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:
|No.||Employer||No. of employees|
|2||The Oaks (shopping mall)||2,460|
|3||Conejo Valley Unified School District||1,900|
|4||Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center||1,720|
|5||California Lutheran University||1,061|
|10||Silver Star Automotive Group||560|
Conejo Valley Art Museum has showcased collections from artists such as Elizabeth Williams, David Rose and Howard Brodie. Chumash Indian Museum on Lang Ranch Pkwy has displays of Chumash artifacts and a re-constructed Chumash village. Another museum, the 1876 Stagecoach Inn, is located in Newbury Park and is a California Historical Landmark. Also in Newbury Park is Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center, a museum at the foothills of Mount Boney, which is a sacred site for the Chumash people. American Radio Archive is a museum at Grant R. Brimhall Library dedicated to the history of radio.
Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza is home to two theaters: the 1,800-seat Fred Kavli Theatre and Ray Scherr Forum Theatre. Willie Nelson, Paul Anka, Vince Gill, Kris Kristofferson and Peter, Paul and Mary have performed at Fred Kavli Theatre.
Conejo Players Theatre has over 200 active members and was established in 1958. Hillcrest Center for the Arts is home to Gothic Productions, Young Artists Ensemble, Thousand Oaks Actors Guild and other groups. Hillcrest Center is also home to Classics in the Park, which arranges annual summer concerts in Conejo Community Park. Galleries include Fred Kavli Theatre Gallery and Thousand Oaks Community Art Gallery.
The Ventura County Fire Department (VCFD) provides fire protection and emergency medical services for Thousand Oaks and the surrounding areas. American Medical Response is the contracted paramedic ambulance provider for the area.
Thousand Oaks Police Department (TOPD) and Ventura County Sheriff's Office provide law enforcement services for the city. Thousand Oaks Police Department was established on July 1, 1965, nine months after the city was incorporated, and has contracted the sheriff's department to provide police service since inception.
Thousand Oaks is one of the safest cities in America according to consistent FBI reporting. In October 2013, Thousand Oaks was ranked the fourth safest city with a population over 100,000 in America, according to an annual report by the FBI. It has one of the lowest crime rates in California. The company Niche ranked Thousand Oaks as America's second-safest city in 2016. The city experienced its first homicide in four years in October 2014. No homicides took place in 2015 nor 2016.
Despite a significant population growth since the 1990s, the city has experienced a general crime decline. In 2015 there were 1.05 violent crimes per 1,000 residents, up from 0.99 in 2014. Overall, the city experienced an one percent crime decrease between 2014 and 2015. Petty theft was the most-reported crime category in 2013, accounting for 40 percent of all crimes.
Thousand Oaks is served by the Conejo Valley Unified School District. Academic scores in public schools are high. Several schools are scoring in the top ten percent of schools in California. It includes numerous elementary schools, Colina Middle School, Redwood Middle School, Los Cerritos Middle School. The high schools of the area include Thousand Oaks High School, Newbury Park High School, and Westlake High School. Also part of the school district are Sycamore Canyon Middle School and Sequoia Middle School, located in Newbury Park. Oaks Christian High School, while located immediately outside Ventura County, matriculates numerous students from the county. La Reina High School is a private Roman Catholic, all-girls junior/senior high school. California Lutheran University is located in Thousand Oaks.
The Thousand Oaks Library system is consistently ranked as one of the best public libraries in California. The library consists of the Grant R. Brimhall Library in Thousand Oaks and the Newbury Park Branch Library in Newbury Park. A 22,000-square-foot (2,000 m2) children's library was added to the existing 62,000-square-foot (5,800 m2) main building in June 2006. The children's library expansion resulted in an improved children's services area, a 3800-gallon, salt-water aquarium; quiet study rooms; a technology training room; a children's programming room; and additional seating and shelving capacity for both the children's services area and adult services area. Both the main library and Newbury Park Branch offer free wireless Internet access.
AYSO soccer, Club Soccer such as Apex Soccer Club, Newbury Park Soccer Club and Conejo Valley United, Conejo Youth Basketball Association, also known as CYBA, Conejo Valley Thunder Wrestling, Pop Warner football, Little League baseball, CYFFA flag football, girls' softball, organized swim team leagues, ice hockey, and even organized lacrosse, rugby and field hockey have active programs. Conejo Simi Swim Club is the oldest (est. 1974) and most successful youth swim program in the area.
Ventura County Fusion, a minor league soccer team playing in the USL Premier Development League, while based in nearby Ventura, has held home games at Newbury Park High School in Newbury Park. The Conejo Oaks semi-pro collegiate baseball team play in Thousand Oaks at Sparky Anderson Field.
In professional sports, the city is home to the Sherwood Country Club, a golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus. The annual Chevron World Challenge golf tournament hosted by Tiger Woods took place at the course from 2000 to 2013.
For 27 years, California Lutheran University (CLU) hosted the training camp for the Dallas Cowboys. The final camp was held in 1989. The CLU football practice field used by the Cowboys as well as the CLU Kingsmen football team was replaced by a large sports complex in 2006. The Cowboys Clubhouse in Thousand Oaks still stands across from the complex, and is currently a family residence. The Los Angeles Rams' temporary headquarters and practice facilities will also be located on the same campus beginning in 2016 until the team constructs their permanent training complex in Los Angeles (in a separate July 2016 agreement, the Rams signed a three-year deal with UC Irvine to use that university's Crawford Field for the team's training camp.)
In August 1994, a team from Thousand Oaks Little League became the first Little League team in Ventura County to win a World Championship, winning the Junior League World Series championship game 20-3. In 1996, a Senior Division (ages 14–16) Thousand Oaks Little League team won a National Championship. Two years later in 1998, a Big League Division (ages 17–18) Conejo Valley Little League team won a World Championship, defeating a Venezuelan Team 10-9 in the Big League World Series and going 26-1 in tournament play. In 2006, Thousand Oaks won the World Championship in the Big League Division (ages 16–18) of Little League by defeating a team from Puerto Rico 10-0. The Thousand Oaks Big League team were also World Series runners-up in 2003 and 2005. In 2007, they were United States runner-up. In 2009, they won the United States Championship and appeared on prime time on ESPN. In the summer of 2004, the Little League National Championship team hailed from Thousand Oaks. The Conejo Valley East team of 11 and 12-year-olds went 22-0 in local, regional, and World Series tournaments play claiming the national title at the 2004 Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania before losing in the international title game to the team from Curaçao, Caribbean.
Thousand Oaks Acorn is the main newspaper covering Thousand Oaks, Newbury Park and Westlake Village. Ventura County Star is a larger regional newspaper covering Ventura County. Los Angeles Times circulations increased after the newspaper began covering Conejo Valley in 1987. KCLU-FM is a NPR radio station based at California Lutheran University (CLU).
The first newspaper, Oaks Post, was published during the 1940s. Conejo Valley News was established in 1954, while Village Chronicle was established in 1959. Thousand Oaks Journal was another early local newspaper in the 1960s.
Thousand Oaks lies in the heart of the Conejo Valley, with the city of Los Angeles to the east and the city of Ventura to the west. The city is served by U.S. Route 101 (Ventura Freeway), as well as State Route 23. Highway 101 runs through the city and connects it with Los Angeles and Ventura. CA Route 23 connects to the 101 near downtown Thousand Oaks, runs north toward Moorpark and Simi Valley, and essentially divides the city in two. Thousand Oaks is also served by Thousand Oaks Transit (TOT), which provides public transportation in the form of shuttles and buses. TOT buses provide service to Thousand Oaks as well as some neighboring communities.
A regional transportation center provides bus and shuttle lines to Los Angeles, Oxnard, Ventura, Moorpark, Simi Valley, and Santa Barbara via the VISTA, Metro, and LADOT Commuter Express bus lines. In addition to being a transfer station from Los Angeles and other nearby cities, it also serves as the primary station for Thousand Oaks Transit buses. Metrolink Ventura County and Pacific Surfliner services are available at the train stations in Moorpark and Camarillo. The Amtrak Coast Starlight stops at the Oxnard Transit Center and the Simi Valley Amtrak/Metrolink Station.
Commercial air travel is provided primarily by Los Angeles International Airport for regular commuters, while the Bob Hope Airport (in Burbank) offers an alternative for domestic destinations. Thousand Oaks offers public transportation that runs to both airports, via the VISTA, Metro, and LADOT bus lines. Los Angeles International Airport is approximately 40 miles (64 km) southeast of the city, while Burbank Airport is approximately 35 miles (56 km) east of the city. General aviation airports include Camarillo Airport, approximately 15 miles (24 km) west of the city; Oxnard Airport, approximately 25 miles (40 km) west of the city in Oxnard, California; and Van Nuys Airport, 25 miles (40 km) east of the city.
The now-closed Conejo Valley Airport operated in Thousand Oaks from 1926 until 1962 with a 2,600-foot (792-metre) airstrip. When the route of the new 101 Freeway intersected a part of the original airfield it was closed. It served general aviation, and featured an aerial sightseeing service. On May 5, 1960, Rancho Conejo Airport was opened as a replacement, northwest of Conejo Valley Airport. The new facility was considered an 'executive airport', with a paved and lighted 4,500-foot (1,372-metre) runway. A flying school, restaurant and air charter service operated there for several years. This airport appeared in It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World in 1963; some Three Stooges episodes were filmed there. Rancho Conejo Airport closed in 1966.
Due to the temperate climate and relatively close proximity to the studios in Hollywood, a number of movies and television series have been filmed in Thousand Oaks. Thousand Oaks Boulevard can for instance be seen in the Oscar-winning film It Happened One Night (1934), while Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis stop at a service station on Live Oak Street in Hollywood or Bust (1956). Hills nearby California Lutheran University (CLU) were used in the filming of Welcome to Hard Times (1967). Spartacus (1960) was also filmed by CLU.
A number of movie productions took place in Wildwood Regional Park between the 1930s and 1960s. Examples include Wuthering Heights (1939), Dodge City (1939), The Rifleman (1958–63), Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier (1955), The Grapes of Wrath (1940), Duel in the Sun (1946), Bonanza (1963–73), The Big Valley (1965–69), Gunsmoke (1955–75), Wagon Train (1957–65), Clearing the Range (1931), Flaming Frontier (1958), The Horse Soldiers (1959) starring John Wayne, Roustabout (film) (1964), and Flaming Star (1960) both starring Elvis Presley, among others.
More recently, Greenfield Ranch appeared as a zoo in We Bought a Zoo (2011). The ranch has previously been featured in films such as Down Argentine Way (1940), Heart and Souls (1993) and Bitter Harvest (1993). It has also been seen in TV-series such as True Blood (2008–2014), Monk (2002–2009), Bones (2005–2017) and Criminal Minds (2005–). A Hidden Valley home was also used in the filming of It’s Complicated (2009) starring Meryl Streep.
Other films include Memoirs of a Geisha (2005), Come On, Tarzan (1932), The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), To the Shores of Iwo Jima (1945), Lassie Come Home (1943), The Guns of Will Sonnett (1967–69) and The Dukes of Hazzard (1979–85).
Thousand Oaks' fauna includes mammals such as mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, grey fox and mule deer, as well as smaller mammals as the striped- and spotted skunk, California raccoon, Virginia opossum, Audubon's cottontail, long-tailed weasel, Botta's pocket gopher, ring-tailed cat, California vole, western brush rabbit, western gray squirrel, and several species of rats and mice, where the most common are deer mouse and Merriam's kangaroo rat. The dangerous lion often creates a hazard in suburban areas, but generally speaking is only found in the adjacent Simi Hills, Santa Monica Mountains, and the Santa Susana Mountains. Some of the amphibians and reptiles found in Thousand Oaks include lizards such as side-blotched lizards, southern alligator lizards and western fence lizards, as well as the southwestern pond turtle and crawdads, and numerous species of snake, including southern Pacific rattlesnakes, San Diego gopher snakes, striped racers, California kingsnakes, common kingsnakes, ringneck snakes, and western aquatic garter snakes. Some amphibians found in Thousand Oaks include ensatina, slender salamander, western toad, American bullfrog, California toad, Pacific tree frog, and the California red-legged frog.
There have been observed a total of 171 bird species within the city limits. The most commonly encountered avifauna include the house sparrow, house finch, Brewer's blackbird, California towhee, spotted towhee, oak titmouse, acorn woodpecker, and California quail. Raptor population densities in the Conejo Valley, which therefore has some of the highest quantities of raptors in the U.S. Some of the raptors found in the City of Thousand Oaks include the golden eagle, red-tailed hawk, Cooper's hawk, marsh hawk, sharp-shinned hawk, red-shouldered hawk, ferruginous hawk, pigeon hawk, prairie falcon, turkey vulture, barn owl, great horned owl, screech owl, American kestrel, and the white-tailed kite.
Wildwood Regional Park is a natural habitat for an abundance of native animals, such as coyotes, hawks, crawdads, ducks, turtles, mule deer, numerous songbirds, mountain lions, several species of snakes, and numerous species of raptors.
Thousand Oaks is home to mountain lions which can be encountered or observed in most larger open-spaces in the city. The city recommends hikers not to hike alone, and always to keep children near. Mountain lions have been encountered numerous times in recent years, such as in Lynn Ranch in 2017 and Newbury Park in 2016.
Thousand Oaks is home to over 100 species of plants, while 400 species can be found within 100 sq. mi. of the city. There are four endangered plant species: Conejo buckwheat, Santa Monica dudleya, Conejo dudleya and Lyon's pentachaeta. There are between 50- and 60,000 oak trees in Thousand Oaks.
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