I enjoy taking my five year old to the park, I really do, but sometimes the mindless sitting on a bench watching him hang precariously from the jungle gym gets a little tedious, this is why I was happy to find a park that we can both enjoy, Strathearn Historical Park & Museum located in West Simi Valley.
Strathearn Park is at the end of a cul-de-sac, just past the big gleaming Target building on Madera Road, which stands in stark contrast to Strathearn Park’s collection of early Simi Valley buildings, such as the Strathearn House built in 1892. Once you pull into the park’s free lot, park under the large branches of an aged oak tree, you can see the open grounds and elder buildings that make up Strathearn Park, resembling an early twentieth century California town.
While the park offers docent guided tours of the many buildings, such as the first barbershop and library built in Simi Valley, on Saturday and Sundays for a requested donation of $3 per adult, the Sonny Boy and I meandered our way around unguided. We found ourselves abundantly entertained walking around the exterior of the buildings, glancing in the antique glass windows of the playhouse that has antique toys on display, ducking into the garage with it’s carriages that have gas lamps in the place of modern headlights, and reading the informative signs posted in various places in the park.
Strathearn Park has plenty of space for the kiddos to run around, a chicken coup with very vocal hens roaming and pecking in the dirt, and rusty farm equipment to climb on and explore (not necessarily the most tetanus safe environment, but appealing nonetheless). Parents, you should be aware that Strathearn Park does not have a climbing apparatus or swings, it is not that type of park, interacting with each other will be necessary to keep your young ones interested.
After exploring the grounds of the park we stopped in at the Visitor’s Center, it is a good idea to start here, and we found displays related to early Simi Valley inhabitants that are free to explore (hands off, course, sorry kids). It is also within the Visitor’s Center that you can find out more information about Strathearn Park’s events and the their speaker series, which are free to attend.
Strathearn Park kept my five-year-old’s attention for a solid two hours with no complaining, if you have small children you know how rare that is, and the park was a great way for my boy to make a connection with the history of the city he lives in.
Here are a few of the upcoming events at Strathearn Park (contact the park for further details):
Civil War Encampment (Non-Battle Event)
February 15 & 16, 2014
Ages 12 and Up: $5
Children under 12: $3
Children under 5: Free
Details: An encampment with Union and Confederate soldiers reenacting their way of life during the Civil War and a Lincoln impersonator delivering the Gettysburg Address.
June 14, 2014
$7.00 per person
Details: Self tours available through the different buildings, antique car show, and horseshoeing demonstrations.
Strathearn Historical Park & Museum
137 Strathearn Place
Simi Valley, CA 93065
Mon – Fri. 9am – 3pm
Sat. & Sun. 1pm- 4pm