Under 3 Free
The Ronald Regan Library Museum
A Presidential Library doesn’t fall in the “fun” category for little kids, but the Regan Library does have some highlights that even our boys found interesting…like Air Force One parked in the building! Other rooms focusing on the Berlin Wall brought up interesting conversations with our oldest, that I’m glad we had the opportunity to discuss. But the only reason we considered dragging the boys along was to see the visiting Spy Exhibit…which the boys went absolutely nuts for.
We typically start our weekly adventures at 9am. Kids are fresh, the weather is cool, and crowds are minimal. By the time we rolled up at the Ronald Regan library at 9:30, the crowds were already there. I didn’t realize how popular this place was.
The kids bounced around the grand atrium while we waited for the doors to open; playing with snap-dragons and feed coins to the fountains. Once the doors opened, we waited in line to purchase admission. The lobby was pretty impressive. This place was constructed on a pretty generous budget.
This isn’t exactly a children’s museum, but they did build displays with children in mind. A green screen allows you to play the reporter on a television interview with Regan, there are crawlspaces running through the reconstruction of the Berlin Wall, and a tilt-table for an oversized marble maze. But what really gets the kids attention is Air Force One and Marine One parked right in the building. And yes…the kids can go on board.
The displays themselves are very elaborate, and there are various ones that can get the older kids attention. For example, think of the conversations to be had when viewing the suit Regan was nearly assassinated in. Or trying to explain the Berlin wall.
We ate lunch at a recreation of Regan’s favorite Irish pub. We were grateful there were sandwiches and snacks on hand.
So this review covers and subsequent “Kid Rating” is for the museum itself. But part of what drew us to the Regan Library was a temporary exhibit SPY: The Secret World of Espionage. THAT exhibit was absolutely incredible in every aspect and made the entire trip worth it. So be conscious of the traveling exhibits when planning an excursion to the Regan Library. In its own right, the monumental tribute to Regan is educational, conversationally provoking, and has a few things (like a full size airplane) that the kids will like to see and try. But an exhibit about spies is icing that takes a rating from 60% to 100%.
This is not a children’s museum, so there is limited hands-on activities. I recommend attending during a temporary exhibit that matches your children’s interests. For example, The Spy Exhibit made the entire trip worth it for our family.
This place is surprisingly busy. We arrived before the doors even opened and were able to snag a parking space. By the time we were leaving, people were parking all along the hillside and hiking up.