In California, few things are as strong as the allure of the cowboy and visions of life in the Wild West. In April, you’ve got two chances to “cowboy-up” with the kids.
Santa Clarita hosts its Cowboy Festival April 15-19. Many Western films and TV shows have been filmed in the area, and one of the festival’s main locations, William S. Hart Ranch and Museum (24151 Newhall Ave., Newhall), is the former home of the silent-film actor, one of the first great stars of the motion-picture western and friend to sheriff Wyatt Earp and U.S. Marshall Bat Masterson. This marks the festival’s 22nd year, and attractions will include trick ropers and gun spinners, cowboy poets and Native American dancers, living history exhibits and chuck wagon cuisine. Tickets: $10 adults, $7 children; www.cowboyfestival.org.
The Autry National Center of the American West (4700 Western Heritage Way, L.A.; www.theautry.org) will open a new exhibition April 25 that offers a fresh look at the Civil War. “Empire and Liberty: The Civil War and the West” explores the role the West played in the Civil War and the subsequent Reconstruction Era. On display will be Ulysses S. Grant’s revolver, George Custer’s bible, an 1842 expedition flag, Frederick Remington artwork and period photography. Audio-visual presentations will enhance many of the displays. The Autry is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tues.-Fri. and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat.-Sun., and the exhibit runs through Jan. 3. Admission is $10 adults, $4 ages 3-12.