If you’re a homeschooler looking for a fun and educational field trip destination, The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, CA is a great place to go. It’s a massive monument dedicated to the life of one of America’s most influential presidents, Ronald Reagan.
The library has been open to visitors since 1991 and is one of the largest Presidential libraries in the U.S. It features exhibits that look at Ronald Reagan’s life from childhood through Hollywood actor, governor of California (1967-1975), President (1981-1989), his farewell speech on January 11, 1989, and his funeral in 2004.
It also houses many exhibits that showcase American History and the Cold War. Plus you can apply to be a researcher if you’d like to access the public files and documents from Reagan’s presidency in the actual library part of the museum.
Table of Contents
Why you should go to the Reagan Library:
- Check out the life-sized replica of the Oval Office.
- The Airforce One exhibit is exciting to see and the views from the hangar are AMAZING!
- See an actual piece of the Berlin Wall on the west side of the museum overlooking the gorgeous valley below.
- Visit the memorial for both Ronald and Nancy Reagan.
Best Things to Do at the Reagan Library
- Walk around Air Force Once and see how the President lived and worked when he was up in the sky.
- Crawl through a tunnel in an attempt to escape from East Germany without getting caught.
- Hop onto a horse and pretend you’re riding through Reagan’s Rancho del Cielo.
- Stand behind the Presidential Podium and give a speech to your fellow Americans.
- Visit the special exhibit that is currently on display. When we visited in October 2021 we got to experience the FBI Exhibit which was pretty spectacular. We’ve also seen Egypt’s Lost Cities, Pompeii: The Exhibition, The World of DaVinci, and the Titanic.
Check Out these Resources before Your Visit
I’ve sourced books, websites, and videos for you to utilize in case you want to make it a more well-rounded educational experience. You can easily use these resources to create a unit study of Ronald Reagan, the U.S. Presidency, and more.
From his childhood in rural Illinois to moviemaking days in Hollywood and on to a career in politics that took him all the way to the Oval Office, Ronald Reagan kept an abiding faith in America and in what our country stood for. The oldest President ever, he survived a near-fatal assassination attempt and lived to be 93. Who Was Ronald Reagan? covers his life and times in a balanced, entertaining way for children. More than 100 black-and-white illustrations fill out the portrait of our fortieth president. – Amazon
Simple History: The Cold War – Amazon
The Iron Curtain and nuclear missiles. The Cold War was a scary situation. As the Capitalist West faced off against the Communist East, the world anticipated a nuclear showdown. Witness the Berlin Wall – a symbol of the great divide. See the Cold War conflicts. Be amazed at super spy gadgets, and marvel at the space race. Simple History, telling the story without information overload. – Amazon
In 1961, overnight a concrete border went up, dividing the city of Berlin into two parts – East and West. The story of the Berlin Wall holds up a mirror to post-WWII politics and the Cold War Era when the United States and the USSR were enemies, always on the verge of war. The wall meant that no one from Communist East Berlin could travel to West Berlin, a free, democratic area. Of course that didn’t stop thousands from trying to breach the wall – more than one hundred of them dying in the attempt. (One East Berliner actually ziplined to freedom!) Author Nico Medina explains the spy-vs-spy politics of the time as well as what has happened since the removal of one of the most divisive landmarks in modern History. – Amazon
My kids love to color as they learn History or science, so I’m constantly snapping up books like these for them.
#1 New York Times bestselling author Kate Andersen Brower shares a special inside look into the most famous home in America—and the lives of hardworking staff members and first ladies who’ve maintained it. – Amazon
The presidential plane wasn’t always known as Air Force One. The first potential presidential plane was a transport version of the four-engine B-24 Liberator heavy bomber specially modified for FDR and named Guess Where II . Later presidential aircraft included the Dixie Clipper and Sacred Cow (FDR), Independence (Truman), Columbine II and III (Eisenhower), followed by Air Force One. For the last sixty years Air Force One has seen every president and first lady through each administration’s triumphs and tragedies, and has flown over a million miles around the globe. – Amazon
This was one of the few books we added to our home library this year. It’s an accurate and well-written book aimed at 8-12-year-olds. The author is an AP History and Political Science high school teacher in Florida.
An annotated version of the U.S. Constitution written for 4th – 8th graders.
Games & Puzzles
A multiple award-winning game, where two players or teams battle for critical electoral votes in a gripping race for the presidency. Use your dice pool to choose products or sums that could help you the most. Strategically target key states with freezes and re-rolls to counter your opponent’s progress, and be quick to adapt strategy as conditions change. Lockdown quick victories in small states or work for longer-term objectives in larger states on your way to gaining the 270 electoral votes you need to become President! – Amazon
Presidential IQ is a unique trivia card game about American history, presidential trivia, and related topics. Perfect for people who already love history and politics (and for those who should really know more)! Presidential IQ’s mission is to spread knowledge and appreciation of civics and American history in a fun way in any setting; from trivia game night to the classroom (ages 16 +) where students feel incentivized to know more to win the game! – Amazon
Professor Noggin’s series of educational games encourages kids to learn interesting facts about their favorite subjects. Each of the thirty game cards combines trivia, true or false, and multiple-choice questions. A special three-numbered die is included which creates interaction and promotes communication between players. Easy and hard levels keep kids interested and challenged – while of course having fun. For 2-8 players, ages 7 and up! – Amazon
There are 46 flashcards that contain information of all the Presidents of the United States including the current President. It is easier to memorize all the names like that of Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson and all the like. The learning process is fast because every card has particular details of the president. One side has the portrait of the president while the other displays all details regarding terms in office, party, name and signature. – Amazon
How to Become President of the United States (Double-Sided Puzzle)
A 500-piece double-sided jigsaw puzzle from Galison is a charming work of art that makes for a challenging and gorgeous puzzle that the whole family will love piecing together. This fun learning jigsaw puzzle features an illustration by Caitlin Keegan that explains the path to the presidency from the primaries to the general election day and the electoral college. This is a wonderful puzzle for families to work on together while learning about the presidential election process. One side is matte and the other is glossy for easy sorting. – Amazon
This is a complex strategy game with a bit of a learning curve, but worth it once you get through the first game!
Twilight Struggle is a two-player game simulating the forty-five-year dance of intrigue, prestige, and occasional flares of warfare between the Soviet Union and the United States. Twilight Struggle recreates the conflict between the most powerful nation-states the world has ever known. The scope of the game covers the entire world as it was found in 1945. Players move units and exert influence in attempts to gain allies and control for their superpower. – Amazon
Take over the world in this game of strategy conquest, now with updated figures and improved Mission cards. In the Risk game, the goal is simple: players aim to conquer their enemies’ territories by building an army, moving their troops in, and engaging in battle. Depending on the roll of the dice, a player will either defeat the enemy or be defeated. This exciting game is filled with betrayal, alliances, and surprise attacks. On the battlefield, anything goes! – Amazon
This game reminds me of Risk, but you play it alongside the game’s companion app.
The interactive strategy game for world domination! Develop. Conspire. Conquer. No sooner is the Second World War over than more dark clouds gather on the horizon. Diplomats woo potent allies, secret agents sniff around for classified information, scientists conduct research into powerful technologies and the generals are at work on major invasion plans. Are you ready to assert yourself in the struggle for world Domination? Which player can dominate the world by conquering foreign territories, exploring groundbreaking technologies, or completing secret missions? – Amazon
Learn chess while having a blast! Strategy games can stimulate critical thinking and mental development in kids. We recommend Quick Chess’ proven learning method to anyone 6 or older. Just follow our detailed activity guide and you’ll understand every piece on a chess board in no time. Then, challenge your friends or family to a witty competition. Includes a complete set of chess pieces, a double-sided game board, an activity guide with 10 levels of play and a quick reference mat to place under the board. For ages 6+. – Amazon
Portable and easy to store wooden chess set.
- Ronald Reagan | 60 Seconds Presidents | PBS
- Ronald Reagan’s One-Liners (begins with his attempted assassination)
- The Reagan Foundation has its own YouTube channel with over 40 videos.
- The Reagan Revolution: Crash Course US History #43
- Lesson Plans from the Reagan Library
- The Reagan Foundation’s Virtual Learning Hub
- We Rule: Civics for All of US from the National Archive
- Annotated version of the U.S. Constitution from Annenberg Classroom
- The White House – Presidents: Ronald Reagan
- Library of Congress – A Ronald Reagan Resource Guide
- Miller Center of Public Affairs – U.S. Presidents: Ronald Reagan
- Office of the Historian (Part of the State Department)
- American Archive of Public Broadcasting – Search results for Ronald Reagan (his speeches are great to study)
Visiting the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
The Library is located at 40 Presidential Drive, Simi Valley, CA. Parking is free, but the lot can be pretty full during the holidays and you may have to park along the hill.
Hours are from 10 am-4 pm every day except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day. To fully appreciate the museum, block out 3-4 hours for your visit.
As of November 2021, COVID restrictions are in place and masks are required inside the federal building.
Entrance is timed and includes admission to special exhibits. The museum recommends that you purchase your tickets online.
If you’re coming from far, I recommend that you include a visit to Underwood Family Farms in Moorpark while you’re in the area. It’s a great place for kids to run amok.
And if you’re able to score some adult time, the Reagan Library often hosts book signings, famous political guest speakers, and Presidential debates. Be sure to check out the Foundation’s events calendar to see what’s on the schedule.
See Our Field Trip to the Reagan Library
Before you go, be sure to check out our field trip video to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library to see the FBI Exhibit, and don’t forget to “like” and “subscribe” if you haven’t done so already.
Have you been to a Presidential museum or library before? If so, which one?
Xuan Klevecka is a Southern California-based homeschool mom, wife, and sometimes purveyor of vintage goods. She’s an Enneagram 5w4, a lover of good food, and a former middle school history teacher. You’ll either find her looking at road maps and daydreaming about her family’s next epic adventure or perusing recipes and cooking up a feast for the brood.