The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library is such an interesting, unique, and educational place to take your family. If you haven’t read my Visiting the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library – Part 1 post yet, please go back and do so! In Part 1, I talked about the basics of the Library and gave a brief overview of the museum. However, I left out one of the biggest exhibits (that also happens to be my favorite part) of the museum. In this post, Part 2, I will talk about a few more things to see at the Library. And now, onto the main event…. Air Force One!
That’s right- you read that correctly. Air Force One!
This is the same plane that Ronald Reagan flew on during his presidency. He flew over 660,000 miles – to 26 foreign countries and 46 U.S. states in this very plane. In 2001, after transporting through six presidencies, this plane ended its service. If walls could talk!
Air Force One is housed in an enormous pavilion that has a great view out of its gigantic windows. I loved looking outside as much as I loved looking inside.
I liked this image because it shows the grand scale of everything about the Air Force One Pavilion. You can see how tiny the people look as they’re walking by! Standing in a place so overwhelmingly huge, I was awestruck.
Selfie time! There is a professional photographer that will take your photo by Air Force One, but selfies are just fine for us. My husband and I had to get a quick pic before we went continued our tour through Air Force One. That’s right- you get to actually walk on the airplane. Here we go!
Inside Air Force One
Walking through Air Force One was amazing! It was like a time capsule. Seeing the three corded telephones really took me back. To think- this was cutting technology back in the day. I’m sure many productive meetings and conversations happened at this desk.
I loved this couch with the seatbelts! You can also see a bed in the background.
These are areas for the press, which travel aboard Air Force One with the president. Now wouldn’t that be a cool job perk! I bet traveling on Air Force One was a highlight for many people.
There were many interesting items to see on Air Force One and in the exhibits around it- such as “The Football”. It really puts into perspective the necessary security measures and coordination for a typical day for the president!
After you walk through Air Force 1, be sure to stroll out to the observation deck. Don’t miss the opportunity to get some fresh air while taking in the beautiful view!
President Reagan’s Travel
Each of the countries President Reagan visited were represented with flags lined in a row. I thought this was such a neat way to represent what an international figure he was!
As you look down the walkway across from Air Force One, you will see this cool exhibit. Each sign represents a year of Reagan’s eight years in office, from 1981-1988. Next to each year is another number- the number of flight miles that the President traveled that year. In his first year alone, Reagan traveled 45,809. It’s amazing to think of the travel and burdens placed on our president.
Along with Air Force One, another highlight of President Reagan’s travel was seeing his armored car. I thought the license plate “GIPPER”, one of the president’s nicknames was a pretty cute touch.
Germany is one of the places President Reagan traveled to during his time in office. While in Germany in June of 1987, President Reagan famously declared the words, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”. Fittingly, you will find a section of the Berlin Wall at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. It is an actual piece of the wall, and you can see the history as you look at the wear and tear, the graffiti, and the hardware. You can even go up and touch the wall section. This is an amazing, real piece of history from President Reagan’s life.
We visited Franklin D. Roosevelts Presidential Library this past winter. We thoroughly enjoyed learning about FDR. The museum is very nice and his house was great to tour. However, it doesn’t compare in the scale and beauty of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Since we were visiting the Hudson Valley my husband and I made the FDR house a priority to visit. I’m glad we did. I really enjoy learning so many interesting things about the president’s and their amazing spouses.
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Tips
- Get there when it first opens, rather than later on in the day. It will be a lot less crowded!
- Give yourself enough time! We were there for 2.5 hours, and could’ve easily stayed for another hour. I would suggest allowing yourself a minimum of 2 hours, up to 3 or 4. It really depends what kind of museum goer you are. Some people breeze through, and some like to read every plaque and sign.
- Take your kids with you! When we went, there were lots of families there. It is a very family-friendly place. But it can also be a great date with a friend or spouse minus the kids.
- Plan your trip during a less-busy time, if possible. We went on a weekend in March, and while we had gorgeous weather, it was crowded. Do keep in mind that school groups often go during the week, but a weekday is probably less busy than a weekend.
- Plan to make a whole day trip out of it! After the museum, we went to the beach. There are several beaches within a 45 minute drive. It really was a lovely way to spend the day in the area.
- Grab a souvenir to remember your fun day! One of my favorite ways to remember my travels to places like presidential libraries is to buy a Christmas ornament to add to my memory tree.
I hope you enjoyed both segments of my visit to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. President Reagan was truly an amazing man with an interesting life- I know you won’t regret checking out this unique place on your next California visit. I can’t wait to hear what was your favorite part!