California natives may remember studying Missions in 4th grade, but transplants are often sadly lacking a few facts about the history of our Pueblo. Cinco de Drinko, er, Mayo (we have kids now!), is the perfect time journey back in time to the days of adobes and rancheros. Here are our favorite cinco sites for experiencing local Mexican history with kids that will give you a whole new appreciation of our City of Angels. Feliz Cinco de Mayo!
Uno: El Pueblo de Los Angeles & Olvera Street
This is where it all began. El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles (or the Town of Our Lady Queen of the Angels) is the name of the Spanish pueblo founded in 1781 – and over 200 years later it is now Los Angeles. El Pueblo area is now a living museum, with 27 surviving buildings from the days when the city was founded. Free guided tours are given Tuesday – Saturday at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. & noon; you can reserve a tour online. Olvera Street is the heart of the area – a fabulous shopping and eating mecca.
Hours: Vary by museum or shop; most museums are open daily 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Check the website for specific museum information.
125 Paseo de la Plaza, Downtown Los Angeles
Phone: (213) 628-1274
Dos: Rancho los Alamitos
Go back in time to the early 1800’s when you visit Rancho Los Alamitos (think the days of Zorro!). Kids can experience the sights and sounds of the original working ranch – the historic barns, working blacksmith shop, feed shed and corrals. Not to mention the animals… You can take a self-guided tour of everything on the property except the Ranch House, where there are docent led tours every half hour from 1:30 p.m. – 4 p.m. Plenty of free parking is on site.
Hours: Open to visitors Wednesday – Sunday from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Rancho Los Alamitos
6400 Bixby Hill Rd., Long Beach
Phone: (562) 431-3541
Tres: Reyes Adobe
The Reyes Adobe was built in 1850 and is the first home in what is now Agoura Hills. The Reyes home was one of the last watering holes before Santa Barbara on the trek north, so loads historical figures passed through here. When you wander around the house you can see furniture, clothing and history through the ages. See the clay oven that could bake as many as 50 loaves, and the grape arbor where they grew grapes to make their own wines. If you wanted something, you had to make it – a great concept to explore with today’s “just buy another at Target, mom” kids!
Hours: Tuesdays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and the 2nd and 4th Saturday of every month from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Admission: Suggested donation of $3 per adult and $1 per child.
5464 Reyes Adobe Rd., Agoura Hills
Phone: )818) 597-7361
Cuatro: Leonis Adobe
Welcome to the home of the “King of Calabasas”, Miguel Leonis. The adobe house (which was probably originally a stage coach stop) is now a living history museum that features an authentically furnished two-story Monterey-Style adobe with original buildings, period livestock, gardens and a vineyard. (You can also visit “The Oldest House In Hollywood” – the Plummer House, which was moved here from Hollywood in 1983.) While you’re here, look into the Passport to History Program, which provides more ideas for local historical sites to visit.
Hours: Wednesday – Sunday from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.; Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Admission: $4 per adult and $1 per child.
23537 Calabasas Rd., Calabasas, Ca 91302
Phone: (818) 222-6511
Cinco: Los Encinos
This early California rancho includes the original nine-room de la Ossa Adobe, the two-story limestone Garnier building, a blacksmith shop, a natural spring, and a pond. The blacksmith shop and old adobe are fun, but let’s be honest – the real draw here for kids is the natural springs which have created a duck pond. Watch the ducks, chase the ducks, feed the ducks… and try and learn a little on the side.
Hours: Wednesday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Admission: Free, but donations are encouraged. Duck food is available for a donation of 25 cents a bag.
Los Encinos State Historic Park
16756 Moorpark St., Encino
Phone: (818) 784-4849
When you’ve finished the history lesson, grab yourself a margarita while the kids devour chips, salsa, burritos and quesadillas at one of our favorite family friendly spots. Because a frosted tequila, lime and salt beverage always helps make a holiday happier.
Have you explored our local history lately? What’s your favorite rancho, adobe or pueblo?