Will Rogers State Historic Park was once the Ranch of American humourist, film actor, radio personality and writer, Will Rogers, who was well-known in the mid-1930s for his curt and common-sense humour. It became the haven where Will Rogers relaxed with friends and family and pursued his favourite hobbies of riding and roping. When he died in 1935, the ranch consisted of a 31-room ranch house with neighbouring guest housing, a stable, corrals, riding ring, roping arena, polo field, golf course, and riding trails.
His widow, Betty, bequeathed the ranch to the California State Parks in 1944 and it became a state historic park.
Situated only 9 miles from the Loop, it is on the city’s far north side on the coast of Lake Michigan. It is bordered by Evanston and Howard Street to the north, to the west, Ridge Boulevard, to the south, Devon Avenue and the Edgewater neighborhood, and to the east, Lake Michigan. The neighborhood to the west, Ridge Boulevard, was part of Rogers Park until the 1890s and is still frequently called West Rogers Park.
The ranch shows Will Rogers’ appreciation for horsemanship, starting with the polo field, which is the foremost thing a visitor sees looking south from the parking space. Common activities at Will Roger’s park are largely equestrian related as is shown further on.
Ranch House Tours
On Thursdays and Fridays, tourists meet in front of the Ranch house for public tours from 11 am to 3 pm and from 10 am to 4 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. The ranch house is available for entry only with guided tours although there is no charge or registration required for the ranch house tour. However, groups of 15 or more people must make a private tour reservation.
Horse Riding Lessons & Trail Rides
The Westside Riding School is open to both children and adults for riding lessons at the park every day except Mondays. The Trail Rides offers guided trail rides on safe, dependable horses on the beautiful trails of Will Rogers State Historic Park.
Hikers can experience a modest 2-mile loop to and from Inspiration Point. The Rivas Canyon Trail also provides a 2.1-mile hike to Temescal Gateway Park. Visitors are also allowed to take their horses to the park for day-use to enjoy the riding and roping arena, Sarah’s Point, and the trail to Inspiration Point.
Furnished with picnic tables and barbecue grills, the picnic area above the polo field is available on a first come, first served basis. Some modest picnicking is also permitted on the front lawn of the ranch house.
Movies in The Park
Bringing your friends and family to enjoy the movies displayed outdoors on Will Roger’s front lawn.
Special Events and Filming
A permit is required whenever an onsite caterer, vendor, paid staff member of any variety is used for when the group event. All varieties of commercial filming, student filming, or photography beyond point and shoot also require a permit.
The special event application is available upon request, although it must be scheduled six weeks in advance and requires the approval of the superintendent. Need a towing company near will rogers airport? Call Ultimate Reflections Towing.
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