Walk through Air Force One in the middle of the huge airplane hangar at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. See a large section of the Berlin Wall that United States President Reagan so famously stood in front of when he exclaimed, “Mr. Gorbashev, tear down this wall!” Visit the memorial site of President Reagan and his beloved wife, Nancy. Stand inside the full-scale replica of the Oval Office in the White House, decorated exactly as it was when Ronald Reagan was the 40th President of the United States of America. Read this blog and listen to my podcast using the audio link at the end of this post to learn even more about the highlights of visiting the Ronald Reagan Library, just one hour north of Los Angeles, California.
Ronald Reagan Library Exterior Grounds
When you go, be sure to arrive about 30 minutes before your ticket entry time and begin your visit outside the Ronald Reagan Library at the memorial to Ronald Reagan and his beloved wife, Nancy. Look out over the grounds of the beautiful Simi Valley countryside. You will be able to see why President Reagan loved this peaceful part of California as much as he did.
Follow the path from the memorial away from the parking area. Look for the large piece of the Berlin Wall that was given to the museum to commemorate President Reagan’s role in the fall of Communism.
You can visit this area of the Ronald Reagan Library, as well as the gift shop, without paying an admission fee. Be sure to stroll through the Reagan Library’s replicas of the White House’s Rose Garden and White House South Lawn. Take a look at the official Reagan Library map of the facility at this link: http://www.presidential-catering.com/library/map_of_facility.asp
Walk inside the museum from the rear through the double doors in front of the Berlin Wall section. When Ronald Reagan helped to plan the museum, he said:
“The story that will be told inside the walls…is the story not only of a Presidency but of a movement – a determined movement dedicated to the greatness of America and faith in its bedrock traditions; in the essential goodness of its people; in the essential soundness of its institutions; and, yes, faith in our very essence as a nation.”
-Ronald Reagan, November 21, 1988
The exhibits in the Ronald Reagan Museum integrate hundreds of artifacts and dozens of interactive displays for visitors of all ages to explore. There are 18 galleries that pay tribute to America’s 40th president and his accomplishments by capturing his patriotic spirit, his respect for individual liberty, his belief in global democracy and his support of economic opportunity. There are original letters and artifacts, including President Reagan’s “Farewell to America” letter where he wrote that he had become afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease.
The exhibits contain information about the loving relationship of President Reagan with First Lady Nancy Reagan. There is a section of the museum containing the dresses worn by Nancy Reagan, too.
A newer section of the Ronald Reagan Library and Museum contains an exhibit honoring American Heroes. The exhibit includes a beam from the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York that was destroyed with so many lives on September 11, 2001.
Oval Office Exhibit
The Oval Office is an exact replica of the Oval Office as it was decorated during President Reagan’s term in office. The decorating was inspired by President Reagan’s love of western art.
Air Force One Pavilion
A highlight of the museum is visiting the presidential plane, known as Air Force One. The plane is located in a huge pavilion that was built around the plane after it was brought to the Ronald Reagan Library. This particular Air Force One is now retired. It served seven U.S Presidents from 1973 to 2001, including Presidents Nixon, Carter, Ford, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton and George W. Bush. For Ronald Reagan, this was the plane in which he hand-wrote many of his speeches, signed important legislation and even officially started the Daytona Beach, Florida NASCAR race via phone.
The plane is on loan from the United States Air Force. The current Air Force One is much bigger than this one! You may want to get your picture taken as you enter.
In addition to Air Force One, the pavilion contains a presidential limousine, a theater with information about Air Force One food preparation, and a Marine One helicopter. Be sure to walk inside this actual Marine One helicopter that flew President Johnson. You can get your picture taken here, too.
Note the license plate on the presidential limousine. “Win one for the Gipper” was a slogan used by Notre Dame football players in honor of player George Gipp under famous coach Knute Rockne. President Reagan played “The Gipper” in a movie during his Hollywood career, and it became associated with him, as well.
Plan to enjoy lunch at the Ronald Reagan Library, too! Consider these three options:
- The Ronald Reagan Pub is housed in the Air Force One Pavilion. It is the actual Irish pub from Ballyporeen, Ireland. President Reagan visited the pub in Ireland on a diplomatic trip in 1984. It was moved to the Ronald Reagan Library in his honor. Menu items include sandwiches, wraps, salads, a cheese plate, desserts, beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages. Entrée prices are about $10. Admission to the museum is required to visit the pub. Reservations are not accepted. The pub is open 11:00 am until 4:30 pm Monday through Saturday and 11:30 am until 4:30 pm on Sunday.
- Reagan Country Café offers self-serve and made-to-order meals near the Berlin Wall terrace. Menu items include soups with Corn Bread, Steakhouse Chili, Quality Deli and Grilled Sandwich Specialties, Fresh Salads, Air Force One Angus Beef Hamburgers, F-14 Fighter Dogs, Daily Specials, Desserts, Snacks, Fountain Beverages, Specialty Bottled Beverages, Beer and Wine. Don’t miss our FAMOUS Smokey Southern Pulled Pork Sandwich plate. Self-serve items are available from 9:30 am until 4:30 pm daily. Grill and deli items that are prepared to order are available Monday through Friday from 11 am until 3:00 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 am until 4:00 pm. Menu items include Visitors to the café do not need to have tickets to visit the library. Reservations are not accepted.
- Or, take self-serve café items outside or bring your own picnic lunch and enjoy it outside at the “Future President’s Park”.
Location of Ronald Reagan Library and Museum
To reach the Ronald Reagan Library from Los Angeles, drive north on I-405 to US-101 North to East Olsen Road. Take exit 17 from CA-23 N take exit 43A toward Fillmore. Take exit 17 for Olsen Road. Olsen Road will become Madera Road. Turn left on Presidential Drive and follow the signs to the free parking at the Ronald Reagan Library.
Ronald Reagan Library and Museum: Hours and Tickets
The museum is open from 10 am to 5 pm daily. Plan on about a half-day to see the permanent exhibits and the grounds. Current ticket prices are $16 for adults, but there are various discounts for seniors, youth ages 11-17, and children ages 3-10. Admission is free for children under age 3. Check for price and calendar updates, and buy tickets online in advance to avoid the lines at the official box office link here: https://www.reaganfoundation.org/library-museum/online-ticket-sales/
Link to home page:
Be sure to listen to the accompanying “One Perfect Day in Travel” podcast episode about the Ronald Reagan Library by clicking on the audio link below. At the end of the podcast, you may want to listen to me, my husband and my sister-in-law and brother-in-law as we each discuss our favorite highlight of our recent visit to the museum.
If you enjoy learning about the United States, consider checking out my posts, podcasts and walking tours about Washington, DC below:
Remember you can always contact me through email at email@example.com.
Until next time, I hope all of your travel days are just perfect!