Museum GuideThings To Do in Los Angeles with Kids

Exploring the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum

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Reagan Library sign (photo by Paul Kennar)

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum
40 Presidential Dr., Simi Valley, CA 93065

Hours: The Museum is open 10:00 am to 5:00 pm each day of the year
(closed only on New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day)

Description:

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum offers visitors the opportunity to learn about our country’s 40th President. Exhibits include a look at Mr. Reagan’s life — from his childhood, to his days as a GE spokesperson, to his acting days, and his time in politics — as the governor of California and then later as our nation’s President.

Oval Office at the Reagan Library (photo by Wendy Kennar)

Permanent exhibits include personal artifacts, photographs, documents, and more. There is also a full-size replica of the Oval Office (as it was decorated when Reagan was President, complete with jars of jelly beans), interactive opportunities, as well as artifacts dedicated to First Lady Nancy Reagan.

Outside, visitors will stand in awe at a section of the Berlin Wall and stand in quiet contemplation at the memorial site for Mr. and Mrs. Reagan.

Perhaps most exciting to many young visitors is the site of Air Force One. The Air Force One on display is the same one that President Reagan (and six other Presidents) flew in. Families are able to step aboard, have a fun photo opportunity, view the cockpit, and walk the length of this extraordinary plane! The Air Force One Pavilion also houses Marine One which families are welcome to step aboard as well (but watch your head!)

Special Exhibit: Visitors to the Reagan Library will also have the chance to view a special exhibit, Titanic at the Reagan Library, on display through January 7th, 2018. This 10,000 square-foot exhibit combines items from the 1997 James Cameron, Oscar-winning film as well as actual artifacts from the ship’s 1912 sailing. Certain items from actual passengers “dispersed over time, will be reunited in this exhibit for the first time in over 100 years.” The Titanic was discovered in 1985 during President Reagan’s administration. To preserve the history of the historic site, President Reagan “issued the 1986 RMS Titanic Memorial Act to designate the wreck as an international maritime memorial.” The wreck is considered a sacred final resting place; as a result, none of the items on display were salvaged from the ship itself.

Learn about the technology that made it possible for the wreckage of the Titanic to be found; view one of the ship’s deck chairs; observe the sheet music found on the body of Wallace Hartley, the ship’s bandleader who continued to play even as the ship began to sink; and much more.

From the movie, you’ll see costumes and props from the famous film starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. A full-size life boat from the film as well as the suite Rose (Kate Winslet’s character) shared with Cal (played by Billy Zane).

Parts of the exhibit really makes you feel as if you are viewing items submerged in water. For our family, it was a sobering experience to walk among these artifacts and personal mementoes and think about how many lives were lost on that one fateful night.

Price: General admission to the Reagan Library also includes admission to the Titanic exhibit. General adult admission is $29, youth ages 11-17 are $19, children ages 3-10 are $16, and children under 2 are free. An optional audio tour rental is also available at a fee of $7 each and includes over 50 stops within the Museum. (The tour is narrated by President and Mrs. Reagan).

Membership options are available allowing for unlimited visits to the Reagan Library. (However, members must pay a slight fee for admission to the temporary exhibits). Members also receive special benefits throughout the year including  discounts to the Museum store and cafe, a newsletter, and advance notice to special events. In addition, membership at the Reagan Library also provides free annual admission to all NARA (National Archive and Records Administration) Presidential Libraries.  A family membership begins at $95 per year.

Parking: Parking at the Reagan Library is free!

Food: You’ll find two dining options at the Museum. The Ronald Reagan Pub is located adjacent to Air Force One. It’s a convenient spot to stop for a quick snack including self-service sandwiches and salads, fudge, speciality teas and coffees. The Reagan Country Cafe has a more extensive menu, including self-service items as well as made-to-order items. Families can choose to sit inside or dine outside while admiring the views of the Santa Rosa Valley. Menu options include sandwiches (grilled or deli-style and all made-to-order), soups, salads, pizza, hamburgers and hot dogs, and more.

Nearby Attractions: The Reagan Library and Museum is located atop a hill and isn’t located near any other major attractions. Some families prefer this isolation so they can focus their energy and attention on this one site and not feel pressured to have enough time to get to another destination. If, however, you want to extend your time in Simi Valley, be sure to click here to read about family-friendly things to do in Simi Valley.

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