RONALD REAGAN PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY, a library about all things Reagan.
Presidential season is upon us, and the next man or woman elected to the nation’s highest office will be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States of America. Cue Hail to the Chief, and send the eagles aflutter.
But why not, whilst in these throws of pre-primary campaigning, take a look back at one of the president's who’s already been-there-done-that. 45 minutes outside Central Los Angeles in the Simi Valley is the Presidential Library honoring our nation’s 40th president, Ronald Reagan.
You can be a Reaganite, a fan of Bedtime for Bonzo (50’s movie where then actor, Ronald Reagan, went all science on a chimpanzee) or two pro-choice, pro-backgroundcheck millennials who think it’d be cool to walk through Air force One and eat jelly beans. In any variation, the library is a fine place to spend an afternoon.
The library is unabashedly pro-Reagan. But it’s his namesake library and a celebration of the man’s legacy, so fair enough. The staff and docents are all dressed in red, white and blue uniforms reminiscent of what you’d see a flight attendant wearing in the golden days of Pan Am.
The docents are mostly grandma/grandad aged, and we unintentionally crushed it with our bad dad jokes. At one point, one of the docents fumbled what he was saying, and said, “Whoops; let me rewind that.” Hillary made a rewind noise, and the man nearly keeled over laughing. [tip: always interact with the docents at museums, they’re usually awesome and it makes your time and their time better].
The demographic of guests was no shocker. The two of us pretty much represented our age group that day. The rest of the guests were either school children or between ages of about 50 and 90 years-old.
Again, you don’t need to have been alive during the Reagan years to enjoy the library. But, we imagine that if you were, and if you have a soft spot for Reagan, the experience is that much more exciting. It captures him as a man that helped shape and change the nation’s conscience. When the Obama library opens in Illinois, I’m sure we can go there and get that tingly feeling of what, for our generation, felt special and momentous….acknowledging, again, that it is an unabashedly pro and one-sided version of the president and his administration.
It’s also interesting to note that, having just recently explored Scientology and visited the “L Ron Hubbard Life exhibit, the movies and media at this museum were presented in a very similar way as the media of Scientology.
Some of the highlights:
First and foremost, Air Force One. You can walk through actual Air Force One that chauffeured Reagan around. You’ll see where they kept the “football” that held the nuclear weapon codes.
Replica of the Oval Office. There is a reconstruction of the Oval Office as it existed during the Reagan years.
Some of the amazing gowns worn by Nancy Reagan are on display.
In the section about Reagan’s Hollywood years, there’s a place for you to be on TV. You sit in front of a green screen and choose one of three options to film.
See video footage of secret service agents throwing themselves over the president and whipping out their firearms, during the assassination attempt on Reagan.
There is a section of the Berlin Wall on display outside.
The view of the Simi Valley from anywhere outside.
40 Presidential Drive
Simi Valley, CA. 93065
Regular Museum Hours:
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. seven days a week
EXCEPT New Year´s Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day
Regular Admission Fees:
ADULT -- Ages 18 - 61 years: $16.00
SENIOR -- Ages 62 + years: $13.00
YOUTH -- Ages 11 - 17 years: $9.00
CHILD -- Ages 3 - 10 years (children 2 and under are free): $6.00