This weekend's adventure with the kids involved a half-hour drive up to Santa Clarita to check out the William S. Hart Ranch and Museum. Run by the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum, the Hart Museum is located on the former ranch of silent movie star Hart. The grounds are a tribute to cowboys and the Wild West, and includes a petting zoo in addition to tours of Hart's mansion and ranch house. Details:
The William S. Hart Park and Museum is the former retirement home of the famed silent film actor and director who produced a series of hit Western movies in the early 1900's. His beautiful Spanish Colonial Revival Style Mansion – now the Museum – exhibits an impressive collection of Western artwork by noted artists Charles M. Russell, Frederic Remington, and Joe de Yong, as well as mementos from early Hollywood, personal furnishings and effects, and artifacts representing multiple Native American cultures.
The Museum also includes an historic 1910 Ranch House that exhibits Hart's tack and saddle collection, personal furnishings, and additional Hollywood mementos.
Both the Mansion and the Ranch House are located in scenic William S. Hart Park, where guests may enjoy visiting a live collection of farm animals, a herd of American bison, a vast picnic area, a series of hiking trails, and a charming Western-themed Gift Store.
The best part: the Park and Museum are free. There's always events going on as well; this Saturday we stopped by for a cowboy-themed event, and the kids did various arts and crafts plus rode a carriage. Some pics:
The William S. Hart mansion; tours are given on the weekends.
Office inside the house
Lookout castle near the mansion
Small tea room near the house
The William S. Hart ranch house (which he built before building the mansion at the top of the hill)
Saddle collection, located inside the William S. Hart ranch house
William S. Hart Park and Museum
24151 Newhall Avenue
Newhall, CA 91321
Wednesdays - Fridays, 12:00pm - 3:00pm
Saturdays - Sundays, 11:00am - 4:00pm