Home to some 20,000 banana themed items, this wacky museum could drive you ape-crazy. “Some people call it bananabilia,” says owner Fred Garbutt, who is frequently on hand to talk about his collection, housed in a bright yellow building in the sleepy desert town of Mecca, on the north end of the Salton Sea. (Just look for the guy in the banana coloured sunglasses pulling up in a yellow 1960s Volkswagen bug.) “People who stop in here are always happy and surprised by what we have,” he says.
Garbutt’s collection includes banana shaped and themed gadgets and gizmos—from harmonicas and squirt guns to a “Go Bananas” slot machine and road crossing signs for banana slugs. For an a-peeling treat, have a seat on a yellow barstool and slurp a banana milkshake, nosh on banana bread, or split a banana split. Everything is deliciously weird, or weirdly delicious, depending on your perspective. Garbutt will waive your admission fee if you buy a souvenir. Surely someone back home yearns for a banana shaped fridge magnet, right?
The museum, about an hour’s drive south of Palm Springs, is usually open Friday through Monday, but call ahead before you make the trek.
The thwack of a golf club, the hum of the wind buffeting towering sand dunes, the splash of a dive into a perfect pool—the desert region is a sensory feast.
Following winter rains, springtime wildflowers paint the desert with colour.
Death Valley National Park holds the record for hottest temperature ever recorded (129°F/54°C in 1913), while the deserts of Joshua Tree National Park have giant boulders and alien-like yucca plants. At Anza-Borrego, California’s largest state park, discover amazing springtime wildflowers. The oasis-like Palm Springs region (2 hours east of L.A. and 3 hours northeast of San Diego) has golf resorts, midcentury modern architecture, and every spring, the epic Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
For all of the desert’s natural splendor and outdoor destinations, creativity comes with the territory, too. Throughout the year, the region finds ways to celebrate art, design, music, and film...