Interpretive Programs for School Groups

Junior Curator Guided School Program

Date: Select Wednesdays by reservation only during the school year. Heavy rain may cancel and be rescheduled.

Time: 9:30/10:00 am- 12:00 pm followed by lunch.

Students start the day with a short discussion of “what is a park?” and how State Parks differ from local city parks with playgrounds. Historic parks are another type of park within the State Parks system which have cultural areas of significant value, in the case of Will Rogers, it is his ranch home and the surrounding barns and buildings. Will Roger’s home is full of a collection of items and gifts given to him and his wife. Curators are those whose duties include cataloging and cleaning the artifacts within the building to preserve them for future generations. In addition to understanding the importance of Will Rogers in early Hollywood film and the 1930’s Great Depression, students will learn how to think like a Curator and the importance of preservation.

After the talk, students split into 3 groups and rotate through 3 stations.

  1. Horse barn: Understand the importance of branding and rope lassos on ranches. Make a jump rope using a design from the early 1900’s.
  2. Carpenter’s shop: Will Roger’s maintained his own staff of carpenters and blacksmiths. Learn the art of horseshoes (farrier) and see wooden corbels and the hands-on craft of leather stamping that was used to embellish saddles and take home a bookmark.  
  3. Ranch House tour: Stand under the coastal live oak and discuss the pre-European contact life of the native groups such as the Chumash and Tongva. Inside the house, view the largest collection of Western art in the California State Park system. Brainstorm the function and materials of various items in the main room. Listen to how the items connect to the life events of Will Rogers and the role of a curator to preserve them.

National Parks Every Kid Outdoors

The Every Kid Outdoors Act formally authorizes the Every Kid in a Park program (now called Every Kid Outdoors) for seven years, to encourage children and their families to visit their national parks and public lands. The Angeles District of California State Parks has been partnering with the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SAMO) for the last 2+ years to offer free or low cost transportation and curriculum based outdoor education programs at our parks in both our District and SAMO.  We offer school programs at about 16 sites in the Santa Monica Mountains and beyond for students in Los Angeles and Ventura county. Every Kid Outdoors educational programming is offered once per year school year to 4th graders. Each school may participate in one program for the 2019-2020 school year. 

Will Rogers State Historic Park is a proud participant in the Every Kid Outdoors program. 

Every Kid Outdoors State Parks- Angeles Locations

Every Kid Outdoors National Parks

Self-guided Recreational Activity K-12

Teachers are encouraged to develop and conduct their own program tailored to their students’ needs depending on their particular school curriculum. This program time is completely self-guided and does not include park staff involvement or participation unless you are visiting the Ranch House, but staff would be glad to discuss possible activities during the reservation process.
For more information or to make reservations regarding this program, please contact the Park Interpreter wr.interp@parks.ca.gov or call (310) 230-2024. 

Please note that only guided tours are allowed inside the Ranch House. 

Teachers 

  • Allow for at least 2 hours minimum for a school visit to Will Rogers SHP.  Please allow 20 minutes prior to program starting time for restroom breaks and group organization
  • Please note that there must be a ratio of 1 adult chaperone for every 7 students. Chaperones are responsible for the behavior of their students. 
  • We ask teachers to prepare their students on the background of Will Rogers: a good source of information is this website.  It is also recommended that students do some kind of school project based on their visit, such as group reports, drawings or writing projects, etc.
  • Reservations for picnic tables must be made in advance by calling (310) 230-2024.
  • School bus or vehicle parking fees are waived for school groups with reservations only.  School groups without a reservation will be expected to pay all fees.

Ranch House Tours

Will's Home


Ranch House tours are a popular feature and are available for school groups by reservation only.  Students will learn about Will Rogers’ Ranch House, as well as Will Rogers’ life, family and ranch history.

Programs last 1 hour and have a maximum of 35 students per tour.

Reservations are required. Email wr.interp@parks.ca.gov or call (310) 230-2024 to make a reservation. 

Special Program available upon request
Other special activities can be scheduled in lieu of the Ranch House Tour with at least 30 days prior notice and can include the following:

Leathercraft Activity
Students will have the opportunity to use leather making tools to make bookmarks and bracelets which they will be allowed to take home with them.  Please note that the leathercraft activity requires $50.00 materials fee for this program.  (30 maximum students for this program.)  Approximately 1 hour duration.

Steer Head Roping Activity
A hands-on steer head roping program is available upon request.  (30 maximum students for this program.)  Approximately 1 hour duration.

For more information or to make reservations regarding these program, please contact the Park Interpreter at  (310) 230-2024.

"I never met a man I didn’t like."  - Will Rogers