Building a great team starts with building morale and camaraderie. From activities that push you outside the office to tasks that engage your critical thinking skills at full throttle, team retreats are a way to have productive fun.
Across the Tri-Counties, both indoor and outdoor spaces for corporate retreats and team-building exercises abound.
Here are a few curated ideas for when the boardroom gets a little stuffy:
Situation Room Experience at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum
Location: Simi Valley
Capacity: 25–41 people
Cost: Ranges from $5,000 (for nonprofits) to $10,000
Contact: Carol Cohea by calling (805) 577-4065 or emailing [email protected]
• This modern, fictional scenario transports participants into a high-stakes, fast-paced arena as they face an international crisis based upon historical fact and National Archives documents. In the actual Situation Room used by nine presidents, executives assume the roles of the White House Crisis Management Team, members of the intelligence community and the media. This three -hour event blends technology with historic events and realistic role-playing to provide a unique experience.
It offers personalized booking for each group with pre-briefing and post-briefing for teams. The library also has meeting rooms and an on-site caterer for an additional cost.
Dave & Busters
Location: Thousand Oaks
Capacity: 10-2,000 people
Cost: Varies based on date, time and group size. Buffet packages range from $29-$72 per person. A corporate group of about 50 guests in a private space with a buffet package (which includes a game card) as well as two alcoholic beverages per person would cost $2,500-$3,000 plus taxes and gratuities.
Contact: Stacey Hallam via email at [email protected] A minimum of 48 hours is recommended, and a contract and 50 percent deposit is required to secure a space.
• The 40,000-square-foot entertainment complex Dave & Busters features an arcade with hundreds of games as well as a chef-crafted menu with options for various diets and a bar with dozens of HDTVs.
The national chain adult activity center recently opened at Janns Marketplace in Thousand Oaks. It has two private rooms that can seat up to 50 people each or 100 if used together and they include access to AV equipment and tables.
If you’re looking for something more casual, corporate groups can rent out the sports lounge (seating up to 115) or the dining room (seating up to 150). Groups can also rent out the entire venue for up to 2,000 people. Room rentals are done on an hourly basis with customizable options for buffet access, adult beverage tickets and hourly bar packages, and pre-loaded cards for game playing.
The Ultimate Escape Rooms
Location: Ventura (also in Solvang)
Capacity: 40 people
Cost: Group rates of 8-16 people: $29 per person; 17-32 people: $27 per person; 33-64 people: $25 per person
Contact: Alexis Crouse via email at [email protected] or by calling (310) 463-1115 or visit online www.theultimateescaperooms.com
• The Ultimate Escape Rooms are a fun, physical and adventurous way to challenge your mind. Each room has a different theme and holds up to eight people. When the door locks, you have 60 minutes to solve a series of puzzles using elements of the room.
Finding an escape will require teamwork, communication and trust.
This family-run business has four escape rooms at its Ventura location and two at its Solvang location.
Santa Barbara Zoo
Location: Santa Barbara
Capacity: 1,200 people
Cost: Customized bids depending on the location
Contact: Rincon Events at www.eventsbyrincon.com/corporate-at-the-zoo
• Hang out with your co-workers and some animal friends at the Santa Barbara Zoo. On top of beautiful views, the zoo offers corporate event spaces with catering options and interactive animal exhibits. Where else can you feed a giraffe, ride a train and picnic on an oceanfront hilltop as part of company meeting? Zoo admission and animal encounters are included in all rentals, as is free event planning. Catering is available by Zoo Catering by Rincon or guests can “brown bag” and picnic on zoo grounds.
The most popular spaces for corporate events include the new Discovery Pavilion with meeting or theater-style seating for up to 150 guests and cocktail space for up to 200.
The Cabrillo Lawn overlooks East Beach and is adjacent to the African lion exhibit. It works well for barbecues and outdoor entertainment such as bounce houses and rock climbing walls. Capacity is 300 guests.
The Outdoor Elephant Junction can be rented for evening events of up to 150 guests, and the Zoo Hilltop can accommodate up to 1,200 people.
San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden
Location: San Luis Obispo
Capacity: 150 people with audience-style seating, 96 for dinner, 200 for cocktails and appetizers
Cost: Full weekend packages are $2,999. During weekday business hours, the half-day rate is $499 and the full-day rate is $899.
• Step away from work with a retreat to the San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden. This event space offers 2,140 square feet at the Oak Glen Pavilion, catering options and a full commercial kitchen. Attendees can participate in team-building exercises and take a guided hike or garden tour. For the more ambitious, the garden offers opportunities to have planting parties, prepare and plant a flower bed, weed, mulch or break ground on the garden’s new trail.
The experience is customizable with activities accommodating groups of 10-25 people.
• Contact Annabelle Blair at [email protected]