One of the best things about moving to a new city is that you get to be a tourist...for like the next two years. When I (Haley) visit a city over a long weekend or even a week's vacation, I feel like I need to cram as much STUFF into the trip as possible, because who knows when I'll be back? But living in LA means that I have all the time in the world to explore, and I'm loving doing it at my own pace.
Los Angeles itself is HUGE and has so many cool attractions and beaches and parks that I'll never be able to visit them all. But it also has a lot of suburbs and outlying areas (Pasadena, Newport, Catalina, etc.), so the bucket list is basically infinite. Thankfully, my church organized a trip for the youth to the Reagan Presidential Library (about an hour away in Simi Valley) a couple of weekends ago, and I got to tag along as a chaperone, crossing one awesome item off my list. We only had a couple of hours to walk around but there was so much to see that I'll definitely be back (and I'll take more pictures next time!). I'll also bring Jared because he's a mega history nerd and I know his mouth would have hung open the entire time.
The first part of the museum was all about Reagan's early life and acting career, prior to his involvement in politics. I think one of the coolest things was Clark Gable's WWII military discharge order, signed by then Captain of the First Motion Picture Unit, Ronald Reagan.
Fun Fact: Every US president gets to redecorate the Oval Office any way they want during their presidency. The Reagan Library had a recreation of how the Oval Office looked during Reagan's terms in office. Don't think I would have gone with the peachy curtains, but then, this was the 80s.
(Also, side note that I'm kicking myself for not taking pictures of Nancy Reagan's outfits that they had on display. That lady had class and I was swooning over the vintage vibes.)
Without a doubt, the coolest thing in the library was the actual Air Force One used during the Reagan administration. You can walk through it and they've kept it era accurate, but you can't take pictures inside so these exterior shots will have to suffice. Let's just say there were jelly beans everywhere and the computer room had floppy disks aplenty. (I'm not sure the teenagers I was with had any idea what they were. Some of them hadn't even heard of Reagan...)
The Marine One helicopters that flew President Reagan are still in service, but this one flew LBJ. Still pretty cool, right?
Looking at all of the switches and buttons and gauges in the helicopter and cockpit of the plane made me feel pretty good about my decision not to become a pilot.
While he was running for governor of California, Reagan started eating jelly beans to help distract him from smoking. It worked, and the Jelly Belly company continued to ship him jelly beans throughout his terms as Governor and President. Check out this awesome mural of Reagan, composed entirely of Jelly Bellies. I can only hope to be so important that one day my face is made into an edible mural.
The grounds of the library are gorgeous, with well manicured lawns and gardens and views of the mountains and valleys below. The next time I come I think I'll pack a picnic and plan to spend several hours just soaking it all in.
A piece of the Berlin Wall, displayed on the grounds at the Reagan Presidential Library.
Ronald Reagan's grave: