Visiting California always feels like going home for me. Especially when I go to places like the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, which has personal significance. Not only is my family is from Ventura (40 minutes from the libary), but my husband graduated from Simi Valley High School, which isn’t too far from the Library. The Libaray is located in Simi Valley and Ventura County. We love this beautiful area and enjoyed coming here as a family years ago. Another special connection to Ronald Reagan is that when he passed away, this area was flooded with people coming to pay their respects and attend the services. Due to the enormous, high profile crowds, additional law enforcement was brought in from throughout Southern California for support. My husband was on one of the SWAT teams that covered the funeral services, processional, and interment. It was an honor for my husband to help on this special day for such an incredible man. No matter the occasion, it is always a good idea to visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. I would highly recommend it! There is so much to see and learn here.
This post is part 1 of 2. In my next post about the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, I will be showing some of my favorite (and the biggest!) exhibits in the Library, as well as some tips to make the most of your visit. You won’t want to miss it!
Welcome to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library!
Whether you live in the area or are visiting nearby, take a day to explore the Reagan Library and surrounding areas. Depending on traffic, LA is typically about an hour drive (of beautiful views the whole way!). There’s a reason this location in Simi Valley was chosen for the Reagan Library. It is quite similar to the Reagan’s Rancho Del Cielo, their family ranch that was in Santa Barbara, just a few hours north. Their ranch was known for its rolling hills and beautiful views. Santa Barbara is typically known for the beach, but it is truly surrounded by the beautiful outdoors. Here’s a look of the Library’s entrance. As you walk up from the parking lot, you will see beautifully manicured landscapes and unique architecture. To me, the tour has already begun!
You’ll note that there are quite a few picnic benches and seating areas. There are great spots throughout the grounds that would be perfect for a picnic before or after your tour.
I love this statue of President Reagan. It truly captures his California ranching spirit- from his bright smile, right down to the classic cowboy boots.
Exploring Inside the Library
After you pay for tickets, the first thing you walk up to is Reagan’s portrait and the Presidential Seal. It truly is an impressive sight to see.
Next, I couldn’t pass up a photo op with one of my favorite couples!
The exhibits in the Library go through Reagan’s whole life- from his childhood, film career, military service, wedding, political campaign, family, Presidential term, and life at Rancho Del Cielo. I love this quote shared from Ronald Reagan’s parents.
Aren’t these photos from the Reagan’s ranch awesome? I love the action shot, showing the President doing some intense outdoor work at Rancho Del Cielo in Santa Barbara.
There were so many interesting photos, quotes, stories and artifacts to take in. Here is a diagram mapping out statistics from Reagan’s political campaign. I think this is an amazing representation of how well-liked Ronald Reagan was. All of the blue states voted for President Reagan in the 1980 election. He truly swept the nation!
Here’s one of the coolest parts- the Oval Office! This replica of the President’s office is decorated to the same style it was during Reagan’s presidency (circa 1980’s). Truly, it felt like a glimpse into history. As I looked around, I could just imagine all of the amazing people, fascinating conversations, and intense meetings that happened in the original Oval Office.
The portrait of President Reagan made completely out of Jelly Belly jellybeans was one of my favorite parts in the museum. If you’ll remember- Ronald Reagan loved Jelly Belly jellybeans. He always had a jar full of them on his desk in the Oval Office and would offer them to his visitors. I think that’s sweet! (jelly belly jellybeans)
Exploring the Library Grounds
Although the Library isn’t located at Reagan’s Rancho Del Cielo, I’m sure this location was chosen for the similarly beautiful setting. You can see the vast rolling hills of Simi Valley from the grounds. This breathtaking view looks over the Library’s 300-acre parcel of land!
Here is the rear lawn of the Presidential library. I loved walking around the well-kept grounds almost as much as I loved all of the exhibits inside. I enjoyed soaking in all of the beauty!
As we drove through the winding hills to and from the Library, I soaked in the scenery. There surely is land a plenty around there!
My hubby and I got a kick out of this elephant-shaped shrub. I’m sure Republican Reagan would approve of that! This cute bush greets you on right out front of the Library.
Finally, this is the serene resting place of President and Mrs. Reagan. I love the quote on the wall here – “I know in my heart that man is good, that what is right will always eventually triumph, and there is purpose and worth to each and every life.”
I have a lot of respect for President Reagan. He was such a good man, with good values. I really enjoyed learning more about this incredible man’s life. I find it inspiring to visit places like this when I am traveling. When I was on a Hudson Valley Getaway, I had the opportunity to visit the FDR Presidential Library. I love presidential libraries and would recommend you look into them when you travel throughout the United States- you never know where you might find one!
Be sure to look out for my post on Visiting the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library – PART 2! Your kids will love it just as much as you will. The exhibit I show might make this presidential library the coolest of them all. Check back next Thursday for our Travel Thursday !