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Posted: 12/29/2005 8:51:16 PM EDT
Not the usual touristy or drinking and partying ideas, submitted for your perusal.

I hate to say this but I would recommend against going to Disneyland, CA Adventure, Universal Studios, They are far more crowded this holiday season than usual. DL has been restricting entry as early as 10 am the last 4 days, usually that doesn't happen except on Holidays and then generally not before 1 pm.

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Simi Valley

Richard Nixon Presidential Library, Birthplace and burial site, Yorba Linda

Gene Autry Museum of Western America, Griffith Park, Los Angeles(Includes both movies and TV portrayals and the real thing)

William S. Hart Ranch, Santa Clarita, Bill Hart was one of the first mega stars and this is the big house on the hill he built for his ranch. He was a real cowboy in his younger days, and his house and collection reflect both the real thing and the movies.

San Pedro Eclectic -Take the 110 Freeway south into San Pedro, and then the Harbor Blvd offramp. Follow Harbor down to the Gaffey St exit, turn right up to Channel and back under the freeway, and right and then along the harbor front. You'll see the container ship facilities, after you pss under the bridge you can visit a WW2 Liberty ship, or take a restored streetcar, a little further along on your left at 5th/Sampson is the Maritime Museum. Fun to visit, builders models, exhibits on the good old days of the fishing fleet and burly longshoremen, also there are the Fishing Fleet Memorials and WW2 Merchant Marine Memorial, A 16" naval rifle barrel and projectiles, the big Fireboat station, which has tours and if tours not available, the walls are glass and you can get a good look at the fire boat.

Now if you really want to get down and dirty, continue a little further down into Port's of Call Village area. the Crusty Crab is really good, the San Pedro Seafood Company has some great lunch specials, and if you feel really adventurous, get the fish or shrimp fajitas, or pick your own fish out at the fish market and get it fried or grilled and eat out on the pation on the main ship channel. The crowd on the weekend is not for the faint of heart but the fajitas feed is worth it. From there drive on south past what is left of Ft. MacArthur (named after the Dad) and up to the former Upper Reservation on the seaward end of Gaffey St.. They have a Ft. Mac museum which highlights the Coast Artillery role of the fort and several of the batteries are available for touring. (And may look familiar if you saw the movie "Midway") Model RR museum up there in one of the old barracks, which is interesting, but if open the view out back over the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach is damn impressive. Also the Korean Friendship Bell is out there and the view from there out over the Catalina Channel is great. In clear weather you can see several of the Channel Islands, down the coast to Dana Point in OC, and generally several ships transiting in and out of the harbor. You can then take the road around Palos Verdes Peninsula past the an old and then modern lighthouses, the old Nike battery and other views of the coast defense batteries and then the coastal cliffs as you wind around up to Redondo Beach and the south bay beach city areas.

If you've thought about seeing "Narnia", consider seeing it at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood. The El Cap is a restored gem, and Disney puts on a great show experience, a variety of props and costumes are displayed, the mighty Wurlitzer is played before the movie, and a few surprises that make it a fun time. Across the street is Graumans Chinese (think "Blazing Saddles" and hand and shoe prints of the stars) and the Kodak Theatre Complex home of the Oscars. Hey you gotta see some Hollywood. And take a side trip up to the Griffith Park Planetarium (think "Rocketeer") the view out over the LA basin is damn impressive.

The Museum Complex at Exposition is worth visiting, the LA County Museum of Natural History is a classic, lots of stuffed animals, dinosaurs, prehistoric mammals from the La Brea Tar Pits, gems and gold, exhibits and ancient Egyptians. You might also recognize the musem form many uses in TV and movies, there is also a pretty good Aviation Museum, concentrates on Southern CA, aviation pioneers, McDonnel, Douglas, Lockheed, JPL and othe space activities. You will also recognize the Rose Garden in the center of the complexand the bbokstore across the street will have the best collection of Rose Bowl Souvenirs available.

Again these aren't the big touristy or glitzy things but a lot of fun to see. But big cities are big cities and these are some of the things you won't find too much of in most of Texas.
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