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Ric Romero's one-tank getaway: Simi Valley-Moorpark

August 25, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Simi Valley is often rated one of the safest cities in America. But safety is only one of its attributes.

At the top of that list is the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Library at 40 Presidential Dr. It was renovated earlier this year, making it perhaps the best in the country.

Two star attractions at the library are a replica of the Oval Office when Ronald Reagan was president and Air Force One - the exact 707 that was used not only for President Reagan, but for every president from Richard Nixon on up to the George H.W. Bush.

It's open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $12 for adults and $9 for seniors, but mention ABC7 and get $2 off those prices for the next 30 days.

Another historic site worth visiting is the Santa Susana Railroad Depot. Built in 1903, it has been fully restored and is now the home to an extensive model train exhibit.

But there's more to the depot than just trains.

"We have a working telegraph, a working teletype, we have signals and semaphores that we can operate for the public or they can operate themselves," said museum director Thomas Bergh.

The depot is at 6503 Katherine Rd. and is open 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday with a $1 per adult donation for admission.

Just down the road in Moorpark is Moorpark College at 7075 Campus Rd. There you will find what is called "America's Teaching Zoo," a program where students learn about the care and feeding of exotic animals.

It's open to the public on weekends from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The zoo puts on several animal shows, including one in which you can watch a carnivore feeding demonstration at 3:30 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for children and seniors.

Getting hungry? Stop at Green Green Acres Farm Market & Catering at 2918 Los Angeles Ave. in Simi Valley. To avoid getting lost, look for the old police paddy wagon out front.

Green Acres has been around for 44 years with a well-stocked grocery store and butcher shop.

Visitors should also try the outdoor barbecue - locals love it.

"I come here all the time, great service, good environment. You can't ask for anything better," said resident Kirk Kellerhals.

While you're at Green Acres, don't forget to mention ABC7. With the purchase of any barbecue sandwich, you can get your choice of sides and a free beverage

From there, go to the Strathearn Historical Park & Museum, 137 Strathearn Place, Simi Valley. Join up with a docent-led tour taking guests on a stroll through Simi Valley history. At Halloween time, they hold special ghost tours.

"Great lighting, we have actual actors who portray the people from the past and it's a wonderful way to learn about Simi Valley history in a fun way," said Sandy Jackson, a Strathearn docent.

Before you head back home, make sure you have some time to stop by the Underwood Family Farms at 3370 Sunset Valley Road in Moorpark. The produce at the market is remarkably fresh and some of it is quite different than what you may be used to.

"We love it, we actually rarely buy anything from the grocery store anymore. I pick all our produce," said Moorpark resident Nicole Anderson, adding that it tastes better than store-bought fruits and vegetables.

There is a large petting zoo for the kids, but the most fun might be taking them out to the fields to pick their own fruits and vegetables.

"We provide wagons for them, we make trails, we put up signs, we try and make it easy for them to pick and make it kind of a magical farm," owner Craig Underwood said.


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