One of the last things we did while my parents were in town was to visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. It was only about a 45-minute drive up to Simi Valley, where the museum/library is located, and was a GREAT way to spend a fairly-dreary overcast day.
I’d never been to a Presidential library before, so I can’t speak to how this one compares to others, but the Reagan library is very well laid-out and has some great interactive elements and unique memorabilia.
First, the views from where the Library sits are fantastic.
The museum walks through Ronald Reagan’s life from birth to death; has some extra exhibits devoted to The White House and his presidency; and has a room dedicated to Nancy’s early life, and her interests as the First Lady.
They recreated the Oval Office, with replicas of the furniture the Reagan’s used.
Nancy’s room included many of the iconic outfits she worn as First Lady:
That included this dazzler… (worn as a joke)
One of the most unique aspects of the museum is that it includes the ACTUAL Air Force One that the Reagan’s flew on. They were able to include it because they were upgrading planes and weren’t going to be using it anymore anyway — Reagan was actually the one who ordered new planes to be built and used…but they weren’t completed before the end of his terms!
You can walk through the plane, but alas, are not allowed to take pictures. They have a typewriter sitting at one of the desks on the plane — apparently they have had to explain to multiple elementary school students exactly what a typewriter is and why it was used. That was mind-boggling to me, as I actually owned a typewriter in middle school, and played with my grandfather’s as a kid. I really shouldn’t be surprised, given how fast technology moves lately, but I definitely was.
I took this picture of a picture (as ridiculous as that sounds) because they are in front of Ashford Castle in Ireland, which is where my family stayed during part of our visit back when I was in high school. This photo was in the large room holding Air Force One, as the room was dedicated to Reagan’s foreign travel during his presidency.
One of the interactive-ish elements to the museum was in the room dedicated to Reagan’s love of horses and his ranch.
You could go horseback riding with Reagan!
One of the last rooms of the museum had a mini in-depth replica of the White House – it travels so it’s actually up-to-date decoration wise, and includes decorations that the Obama family have implemented in their personal quarters.
Overall, I would highly recommend a trip up to visit if you’re in the Southern California area and looking for an engaging afternoon activity.