(credit: Jkinsocal/wikipedia)

(credit: Jkinsocal/wikipedia)

Getting out of downtown Los Angeles and seeing what the extended area has to offer can be just the ticket for both locals and tourists. With that in mind, visiting the Santa Clarita Valley might find its way onto your schedule this year, especially with all it has to offer. Whether you’re looking for individual fun, things to do for couples, or even taking the entire family, there is likely something that will wet your appetite.
Birthplace Of The Oil Industry

For starters, have you ever been to Mentryville? Established in 1876, the town was a haven for explorers looking to strike it rich with gold discoveries. It was in late September of that year that a notable gusher of oil went all the way to the top of the 65-foot California Star Oil derrick. Better known as “Pico Number 4,” it would become known as the first commercially successful oil well in the western part of the country.

Holywood North

Many decades later, Mentryville (named after Charles Alexander Mentry) again landed on the map as the locale for a number of television shows and movies, including The X-Files, The A-Team, Murder She Wrote and Highway to Heaven. Movies that used the town for filming included The Color Purple and Walking Tall Part 2.

Bringing History Back To Life

When it comes to Old Town Newhall, revitalization is the name of the game. Here, you will find historic charm mixing with today’s eateries, shops and much more. Old Town Newhall (named after businessman Henry Newhall) has a great reputation when it comes to theater, hosting the  Repertory East Playhouse, Canyon Theatre Guild and the William S. Hart Museum. Visitors and locals can also enjoy the monthly OutWest Concert Series, featuring some great musical talent.

You Can Meet Some Of The World’s Rarest Animals
Gibbon Center
19100 Esguerra Road
Santa Clarita, CA 91390
(661) 296-2737

Established in 1976 by Alan Richard Mootnick, the GCC offers visitors the experience of seeing some of the rarest apes found in the Western Hemisphere. Don’t know what a gibbon is? These endangered, small, arboreal apes are thought to be among the world’s greatest acrobats. Gibbons are mostly located in the dwindling rain forests of Southeast, South and East Asia. Travelers will typically see them in Thailand, China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, Malaysia and Indonesia (including Sumatra, Java and Borneo). Visitors to the GCC (especially students) can learn about the conservation efforts being put forth to save these creatures.

The GCC is open to the public every Saturday and Sunday morning from 9:30 a.m. to noon (except for rainy days and holidays). No reservations are required. A tour is given at 10:00 a.m. Admission: $15 (adults); $12 (Teens and Students); $10 (seniors); $5 (children 6-12); (Children under 5 are free).

See Some Of The World’s Most Popular – And Rare – Artifacts
Passages Exhibit
26565 Bouquet Canyon Road
Santa Clarita, Ca. 91350
(888) 297-8011

If you and/or your family have an interest in the Bible, this is the place to visit. Passages offers a 30,000-square-foot interactive exhibit presented by Museum of the Bible, chronicling the remarkable history of the Bible, from its transmission and translation all the way to its impact and controversies.

Visitors will find some 400 priceless artifacts that are used to speak of the stories at Passages. They are set against immersive environments, such as the Caves of Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered; the Jerusalem Chamber at Westminster Abbey, where a committee of scholars worked to finalize the King James Bible translation; and even the surface of the moon itself, where a complete copy of the Bible was carried by astronaut Edgar Mitchell on Apollo 14.

Santa Clarita is the sixth U.S. city to host Passages. This rare collection of treasures from the Jewish, Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox faiths has been seen by hundreds of thousands of people during its exhibitions in Oklahoma City; Atlanta; Charlotte; Colorado Springs; and Springfield, Missouri.

Passages is open Sundays from 1 to 6 p.m., Tuesday/Thursday/Friday/Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. It is closed Easter, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

With all Santa Clarita has to offer visitors (and locals for that matter), make sure to stop by and see a world of entertainment and fun this summer. Even better, you’ll like the fact that many options are in fact free to the public.

Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on Examiner.com.