Historical Sites to See in Southern California
Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum | Rancho Dominguez
The museum offers tours of the Adobe to the public every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. Also, the first Thursday and Friday of the month, all tours are led by volunteer docents at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. No reservations are needed for parties that have less than 10 people. Feel like taking a stroll? You can explore hidden grottos, orchards and more in their Rose and Cactus Gardens. Call or visit their site for more event information.
Drum Barracks Civil War Museum | Wilmington
Enjoy exploring the past and present at the Drum Barracks Civil War Museum, housed in the last remaining original wooden building of the 22 structures built as a military post during the Civil War in the Los Angeles area. Drum Barracks served as the Union Army headquarters for Southern California and the Arizona Territory from 1861-1871.
Closed Monday and Friday. $5, suggested donation; kids 12 and under free.
Guided tours only. Public tour schedule: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Heritage Hill Historical Park | Lake Forest
Heritage Hill Historical Park’s 4.1 acres includes four restored and furnished historic buildings that span the early history of the Saddleback Valley and El Toro area from the Mexican Rancho era.
Guided tours through the buildings are provided to the public Wednesday – Sunday. There are no fees for entrance or public tours of Heritage Hill Historical Park for groups of seven or less.
The tours offer an interpretation of Saddleback area history through the artifacts, events and people associated with each building. Landscaping of the park is in keeping with the historic nature of the buildings.
Call or visit the website for more information.
Heritage Museum of Orange County | Santa Ana
At the Heritage Museum of Orange County there is a lot to see and explore. Visit a working blacksmith shop, a rancho home, take a walk in the gardens, or experience the Kellogg House, a late example of Queen Anne-style Victorian architecture.
Education and group tours are available, visit their website for pricing.
Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. General admission to the museum: $7 children and adults 13+; $5 seniors; children under 3 free.
Check their website for upcoming special events.
Homestead Museum | Industry
Homestead Museum is located in the heart of a former Mexican rancho and offers free-guided tours of two historic houses, Wednesday – Sunday. Tours last up to 45 minutes each. The only way to visit the museum’s historic houses is on a guided tour or at a special event.
While visiting the rancho, don’t forget to explore El Campo Santo, one of the oldest private cemeteries in Southern California that contains the remains of the original families that lived in the house and Pio Pico, the last governor of Mexican California.
Visit their website for special events.
The Lincoln Memorial Shrine | Redlands
Current exhibits include “And the War Came,” which commemorates the Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War and “The Sultana Disaster,” the worst maritime disaster in American history. Tuesday – Sunday, 1-5 p.m. Closed Mondays. Free admission.
Mission San Juan Capistrano | San Juan Capistrano
Visit the historic chapel, landmark and museum at the San Juan Capistrano Mission.
Guided tours, audio tours, and special tours just for 4th graders are available.Their guides do a wonderful job of hosting you through the 10 acres of museum rooms, exhibits, gardens, fountains and more. Guides also provide details of CaliforniaÕs early history and the birthplace of Orange County.
On weekends, kids can pan for gold, make adobe bricks, and arrowhead necklaces.
Be sure to visit the Teachers and Kids tab on their website for a list of other fun things to do while you’re there. Plus, check their online calendar for special events.
Adults: $10; seniors (60+), $9; children (4 to 11 years), $7; children under 3 years, free
Hours: Open daily: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Pio Pico Historic Park Adobe | Whittier
The five-acre park encompasses historic gardens and the beautiful restored adobe home of Pio Pico, the governor of California in 1832, and again in 1846 before and during the Mexican-American War.
Guided tours of the adobe are offered by appointment only except on weekends, groups of 10 or more need to reserve ahead of time.
Year-round events include fiestas, Living History Days, and Junior Ranger/Junior Rancher programs.
Park hours: Saturday and Sunday, 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Historic adobe hours: Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Closed on all major holidays.
Point Fermin Lighthouse | San Pedro
Built in 1874, the Point Fermin Lighthouse was the first navigational light into the San Pedro Bay. It is near many local attractions in the Los Angeles Harbor such as the Los Angeles Maritime Museum, the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, and the Fort MacArthur Museum.
Guided tours are offered every hour at 1, 2 and 3 p.m., Tuesday – Sunday. Large groups or private tours should call ahead for special arrangements. Reservations are not necessary for the general public.
The lighthouse is open Tuesday – Sunday; 1-4 p.m.
General admission is free, however a donation is requested for each visitor. Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult, and children less than 40 inches may not be admitted to the tower.
Queen Mary | Long Beach
Once the grandest ocean liner ever built, now a full-service hotel and historical landmark with tours and exhibitions. Explore the ship from bow to stern on your own, or take guided tours.
From the ship’s groundbreaking construction and royal launch, to her duty as a troopship during World War II, from her golden days of the 1950s, to the time she earned the nickname the “haunted ship,” the Queen Mary’s history is full of action, adventure, romance and paranormal activity. Learn about Winston Churchill’s relationship with the Queen Mary when visiting “Their Finest Hours” exhibition, and see original set pieces from the award-winningfilm, ”Darkest Hours.” The Queen Mary has something for everyone with tours departing daily!
The Steam and Steel tour will take you 25 degrees below the water line where you will walk through four Boiler Rooms, the Turbo-Generator Room, and end in the Engine and Propeller Box room.
Or visit the LEGO Queen Mary on board made from 250,000 LEGO bricks, measuring 26 feet and weighing over 600 pounds.
Visit their site for special events, ticket and pricing information.
For 25% off, use code “KIDSGUIDE19”
Rancho Los Alamitos | Long Beach
Rancho Los Alamitos, the “Ranch of the Little Cottonwoods,” is a Long Beach City Landmark and is twice listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Rancho is on a 7.5 acre site and includes four acres of nationally significant historic gardens, a ranch house (1790-1948), and restored barnyard of the early 20th Century working ranch.
Children and adults can tour the ranch house and experience nature in the lush gardens as well as visit the farm animals (horses, sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and rabbits) housed in the barns area.
The Rancho is open to the public Wednesday – Sunday, 1-5 p.m. Guided tours of the Ranch house and Barns Area start every 30 minutes from the Rancho Center with the last tour beginning at 4 pm. Visitors may tour the gardens with a docent or opt for a self-guided tour.
Admission and parking are free.
Rancho Los Cerritos | Long Beach
Free admission, parking, and tours. Public hours Wednesday Sunday; 1-5 p.m. Rancho Los Cerritos is a historic site that includes an 1844 adobe home, lush gardens, and rotating exhibits. RLC also hosts free and affordable special events for families such as Storytime, Creation Station, Mud Mania, Summer Camps, and more. Special Rancho Adventure tours for youth are available by appointment ($5 per person).
Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum | Yorba Linda
See an exact replica of President Nixon’s Oval Office, explore the Pat Nixon Gardens, tour President Nixon’s original birthplace, and climb aboard Marine One. The Nixon Library features 70 major exhibits, 30 multi-media experiences, 11 original films and more than 300 artifacts. New exhibit for 2019: Apollo 11, April 29 – October. Admission: $10-16. Open daily.
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum | Simi Valley
Walk onboard the actual Air Force One aircraft, view a full-size replica of President Reagan’s Oval Office and see a first-of-its-kind hologram of our nation’s 40th President. Special exhibit: “Pompeii: The Exhibition,” features over 150 original, 2,000-year-old objects preserved in ash, through April 21 and “Regan and Thatcher – The Special Relationship Between the United Kingdom and United States and the Friendship that Changed the World,” April 13 – June 2. Admission: $13-29. Open daily.
The Banning Museum | Wilmington
The Banning Museum was home to Phineas Banning entrepreneur, the founder of the city of Wilmington, and “the Father of the Port of Los Angeles.” The home was built in 1864 and has 23-rooms. In 1927 the residence, stagecoach barn, and the surrounding 20 acres of parkland were acquired by the City of Los Angeles.
Take an introductory tour of the Banning Residence, Stagecoach Barn and Improbable Gateway Exhibition at the regularly scheduled times. No reservations are necessary except for groups of ten or larger. Tours are free; suggested donation, $5 for adults and $1 for children.
Guided Museum Tours:
Tuesday – Thursday: 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30 p.m.
Saturday – Sunday: 12:30, 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m.
This post was written by Kidsguide