Living History Tours
First, third and fifth Sundays, June-August, 1, 2, 3 & 4 pm - Free.
Explore the Rancho with "Visitors from the Past" for a unique perspective on the site's history.
Living history volunteers represent historical figures from the 1840s, 1870s and 1930s.
Second and fourth Sundays, June-August, 1:30, 2:30 & 3:30 pm - Free.
Discover the beauty and history of the Rancho's backyard, orchard, courtyard and native garden areas, and enjoy stories of the families who planted and used the gardens in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Summer Concerts in the Gardens
Sunday evenings - Pack a picnic dinner, grab some friends, and join us for a concert on the historic grounds. Gates open for picnicking after 5pm, with concerts from 5:30-7:00 pm. The adobe home will remain open for tours throughout the evening. Free.
Sunday, June 26 - Wartime Radio Revue - 1940s music
Sunday, July 24 - Crazy Rhythm Hot Society Orchestra - 20's big band
Sunday, August 28 - Band of the California Battalion - Civil War era music
Children will learn all about life in Old California through historic crafts, hands-on activities, games and stories at these week-long "camps" for kids. Historically-themed programming will focus on daily life at the rancho - participants will get to churn butter, dip candles, punch tin, tool leather, stomp adobe, wash clothes by hand, make a corn-husk doll, and more!
Session I: Vaquero Adventures - July 18-22
Session II: Old Time Adventures - July 25-29
Session II: Adobe Adventures - August 1-5
For children entering 1st-5th grade in the Fall. Each session is Monday-Friday from 10am-2pm; $90 per session. Advance reservations are required; please call (562) 570-1755.
Mud Mania: A Celebration of Adobe
Sunday, August 21, 12:30-4:30 pm
Mud Mania is back - this is the muddiest and wackiest event in Southern California! Visit Rancho Los Cerritos and learn about our local adobe soil and its many uses throughout history. Guests will make real adobe bricks, plaster a wall with mud, construct a mini-adobe home, compete in mud relay races, and much more. There are also plenty of "clean" activities, and live bluegrass music will be featured throughout the afternoon. $4 kids 3-12; $6 13+up
Have a passion for history? Enjoy teaching young children and watching them learn and grow? Interested in living history and costuming? Want to learn about gardening or museum collections? Contact the Rancho at (562) 570-1755 for information on our many exciting volunteer opportunities - and get involved in your community!
Plans are underway to build a Visitor Center and a small dwelling on the grounds to house the caretaker, and open more of the historic site to the public. A private capital fundraising campaign by the Rancho Los Cerritos Foundation is at 76 percent of the goal.
The historic rancho building dates from prior to 1844, when John Temple constructed a single story ranch building after marrying an heir of the Nieto family, the original recipients of the land grant in 1784. It replaced two earlier buildings on the site. John Temple then sold the 27,000-acre property to Bixby, Flint and Company, of which the Jotham Bixby family occupied the site and added a second story to the eastern end of the Rancho building. The Bixby family lived in the Rancho until 1881, after which it was occupied by other than family members until 1930, when it was remodeled and again occupied by the family until 1955. It was then donated to the City. The Rancho is a national, state and City landmark.
On February 16, 1949, a sundial was dedicated to the memory of Jotham Bixby in Auditorium Park. In 1975, because of the auditorium's redevelopment, the sundial was moved to Rancho Los Cerritos.
A restoration master plan for the Rancho was completed in 1999. The master plan calls for three phases of restoration. The first, the seismic stabilization of the structure was completed in about 2004 with funding from the Los Angeles County Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond Act of 1996.
The second phase is to construct a visitors' center, caretaker residence and restore the arroyo with native plants. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2009 with funding from the Rancho Los Cerritos Foundation and the California Cultural and Historic Endowment (funded by the California Parks Bond Act of 2004). The Visitor Center and caretaker's residence will allow those functions to be relocated from the historic rancho, and allow those spaces to be reopened to the public.
The third phase will be the reconstruction of the historic barn. This will allow for a classroom to be used during school tours and for the relocation of offices and inventory storage out of the historic rancho so the entire building can be open to the public.
Other completed improvements not included in the plan are Americans With Disability Act accessibility improvements in 2005, the reconstruction of the water tower (2007) and the improvement to Virginia Road with landscaping, repaving, and construction of a visitor's parking lot (in a joint agreement with Virginia Country Club in 2008 and 2009).