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FOR THE KIDS : Campers Take a Journey Through the Rain Forest : Program at Oxnard children's museum teaches youngsters about the diminishing wilderness.


First came traditional summer camp--swimming, tennis and crafts. Then came computer camp with its high-tech approach, and drama camp with its show-biz slant. Now, we have rain forest camp.

Gull Wings Children's Museum mixes environmental consciousness with fun during its weeklong Rainforest Camp. Elementary school-age children learn about the rain forest by doing things like preparing soup from vegetables and fruits that grow there.

It all happens at the Oxnard museum from 9 a.m. to noon July 25 through 29. The cost is $30 per child.

The museum offered the unusual camp for the first time last summer and it was a hit. So many kids signed up that there was a waiting list.

Why Rainforest Camp? It's not just that the diminishing rain forests throughout the world are of concern, said museum director Gig Wishon. "It's fascinating--the animals and the vegetation are so unique," she said. "And the bugs are big."

In fact, one day during the camp the kids will get a up-close look at some of the rain forest animals. Brenda Josephsen, who trains birds and does animal shows, will bring in some of her exotic animal collection, including a python, boa constrictor, cockatoo, iguana, chinchilla and basilisk, a lizard with a crest at the back of his head that makes him resemble a dinosaur.

Everything the children do is somehow related to the rain forest. One day they make clay models of animals that live there. They do a rain forest mural. They craft instruments like the rain stick (actually a decorated Pringles container with things that rattle inside.) They make bread in the shape of snakes. They make puppets and see a puppet show. And they hear stories every day.

Next month, the museum is offering a Backyard Science Camp for elementary school-age children. The kids will conduct experiments, like making mold and creating rain.

That camp runs 9 a.m. to noon Aug. 22 through 26 at the museum. The cost is $30.


If it's culture you're looking for, the Thousand Oaks branch of the American Assn. of University Women is holding its summer youth cultural program for kids entering grades one through six.

Each of the weeklong programs touches on a different country. The participants learn about the food, games, music, dance, crafts, drama and folklore of each culture.

The sessions run from 9:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at the Arts Council Center, 482 Greenmeadow Drive, Thousand Oaks. The cost is $45 per week.

The AAUW has been offering the program since 1976. It kicks off July 11 with Ireland as the focus country. Then a study of Japan begins July 18, India on July 25, and finally, Mexico on Aug. 1. Because of the program's popularity, the first two sessions are already full. For information, call 492-4401.

The whole gang from "Winnie the Pooh" will be at the Arts Council Center in Thousand Oaks for performances that begin Saturday and run through July 17.

This is a combination of A.A. Milne stories about the famous bear and his pals and is performed by the Young Artists Ensemble, a group of theatrically minded children, ages 10-14.

This family production will be in the courtyard of the center at 482 Greenmeadow Drive. Shows are on Saturdays and Sundays, at 1 and 3 p.m. Tickets are $4. For information, call 499-4355.


You don't have to go to the drive-in to see movies under the stars. In Simi Valley, you can sit on a blanket or lawn chair at Rancho Simi Community Park's Bicentennial Amphitheater and see some family-oriented movies.

On Monday, the Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District will show "We're Back, A Dinosaur Story" at 8 p.m. It's free, but the district is hoping for $1 donations to keep the summer program running.

Here's the lineup for the rest of the summer: Aug. 1, "All Dogs Go to Heaven;" Aug. 21 and 22, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." All shows begin about 8 p.m.


* WHAT: Rainforest Summer Camp.

* WHERE: Gull Wings Children's Museum, 418 W. 4th St., Oxnard.

* WHEN: July 25-29, from 9 a.m. to noon.

* COST: $30 per child.

* FYI: 483-3005.

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