During our trip to California, my Mom and I made a spur of the moment stop at The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Unfortunately, we only had about half an hour to go through the museum, but I could have spent all day walking around. I am incredibly grateful for having the chance to visit this beautiful Presidential Library.
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library is located in Simi Valley, California, 4o miles from Los Angeles. It is the largest Presidential Library in the United States. Upon its opening in 1991, it was the first time that five US Presidents had gathered in the same place: Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carer, Ronald Reagan, and George H W Bush. The Library cost $60 million to build ($137 million in 2015) and was funded entirely through private donations.
The museum is open from 10-5 every day, except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day. Admission is as follows: $29 General, $26 Senior (ages 62+), $19 Youth (11-17), $16 Child (3-10), and children ages 2 and younger can access the museum at no charge. Parking at the Library is free and it fills up almost entirely at opening.
There are two dining choices at Ronald Reagan’s Presidential Library. Located at the Air Force One Pavillion is the “Ronald Reagan Pub” which offers self-service food. The second food choice, “Reagan’s Country Cafe”, is open to the public. It offers self-serve and made to order items and can be found next to the Berlin Wall exhibit and Museum Store.
Tours are self-guided and generally take anywhere from two to three hours. If you are traveling as a group, the museum offers tours for your party. This state of the art museum showcases Ronald Reagan’s life, from childhood until his death, through twenty-four galleries. There is even a full-size replica of Reagan’s Oval Office. Eight years worth of Reagan’s diaries are scattered throughout the museum. These diaries were something that Reagan wrote in daily and it was really awesome to see how he felt about different situations he was presented with while President of the United States.
A cool exhibit at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library is the Air Force One Pavillon. This massive airplane even contains room for a Presidential motorcade and helicopter. It has been referred to as the “flying White House” and flew seven US Presidents. Personal photography is not allowed on the plane. The grounds at the museum are made to look like the White House Lawn and there is even a piece of the Berlin Wall on property.
The amount of Nancy Reagan memorabilia throughout the museum was awesome. Visitors can definitely see the strong bond that Ronald and Nancy had and I really enjoyed learning about her life as well. She had some beautiful dresses on display and the museum showcased all of her contributions to the US. What a powerful woman!
My favorite thing at the Library was an Inaugural Address podium where visitors can stand and have their picture taken. The background was the same as it was when Reagan gave his Inaugural Address, so my favorite family, The Bush Family, was in the background (even though Melody cut out George H W in this picture). I also loved all of the Reagan quotes throughout the museum. They were very moving.
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library serves as the final resting place of both Ronald and Nancy Reagan. We visited the museum only days after Nancy’s funeral and fresh flowers were still scattered around the entrance. It was a very powerful thing to experience.
If you ever find yourself in the Simi Valley area, do yourself a favor and stop at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. With tons of history in one museum, it is something that you do not want to miss. Plus, you may learn a thing or two about President Reagan in the process.
This article was written by Taylor Pittman.
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