Sunday, October 1, 2023

Travel with Terri to Ronald Reagan’s Presidential Library

There’s so much to do and see when in southern California – but I think I have found my favorite place! I was inspired by my Denton friend, Kay Cross Copeland. She has been to all the presidential libraries in the United States. Kay challenged me to do so as well, and I love this idea!

Challenge accepted!

In Simi Valley, California, President Ronald Reagan’s legacy thrives at The Reagan Library where events and exhibits rediscover his values, actions and spirit of determination. In an unbelievable career that spanned more than five decades, Ronald Reagan inspired Americans to act and achieve even more than they imagined.

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum is a must-see Southern California tourist attraction. We were very excited to get to walk onboard Air Force One, act in a movie with Ronald Reagan, touch a piece of the Berlin Wall, and so much more.

Perched on a mountaintop with sweeping views of the surrounding mountains, valleys and the Pacific Ocean, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum is one of California’s most beautiful and unique destinations. The Library’s 300-acre site, about 45 miles from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), represents the “shining city on a hill” often referenced by President Reagan and appropriately serves as the final resting place of the nation’s 40th President.

As a Presidential library administered by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the Reagan Library, under the authority of the Presidential Records Act, is the repository of presidential records for President Reagan’s administration. It quite impressive and has over 60 million pages of documents, over 1.6 million photographs, a half million feet of motion picture film and tens of thousands of audio and video tapes. Additionally, the Library houses personal papers and collections, including documents from Ronald Reagan’s eight years as governor of California.

This is such a great place to learn so much about my personal favorite president and also everything that transpired or that was used during that time period. The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum offers visitors the opportunity to learn all about this dynamic and intriguing man. The beautifully displayed exhibits include a look at Mr. Reagan’s life — from his childhood, to his days as a GE spokesperson, to his acting days, and his time in politics — as the governor of California and then later as our nation’s President.

Permanent exhibits include personal artifacts, photographs, documents, and more. There is also a full-size replica of the Oval Office (as it was decorated when Reagan was President, complete with jars of jelly beans), interactive opportunities, as well as artifacts dedicated to First Lady Nancy Reagan. I loved seeing many of her classy clothes. Nancy Reagan was certainly a fashion icon!

Outside, visitors will stand in awe at a section of the Berlin Wall and stand in quiet contemplation at the memorial site for Mr. and Mrs. Reagan. It was really a special moment.

Perhaps most exciting to many, including my husband, is the site of Air Force One. We were in awe of how they even got this enormous aircraft on this California hilltop. The Air Force One on display is the same one that President Reagan (and six other Presidents) flew in. We were able to step aboard, have a fun photo opportunity, view the cockpit, and walk the length of this extraordinary plane! It was truly fascinating and also surreal being in this famous aircraft.  I personally loved seeing the presidential official china. Air Force One Pavilion also houses Marine One which library guests are welcome to step aboard as well. Another surreal moment! Never did I dream I’d ever be inside either of these historic aircrafts.

So I thought this travel article would be perfect for this month since we honor President’s Day. But what exactly is President’s Day and why do we celebrate it? Well, it’s actually also known as Washington’s Birthday and is an annual federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday of February.

The holiday commemorates the birthday of George Washington, the first President of the United States, born on February 22, 1732.

It was celebrated on February 22, Washington’s actual birthday, until 1971, when it was officially changed to the third Monday in February.

It has now become a celebration of the birthdays and lives of all the President’s who have served the United States.

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