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International Banana Museum

International Banana Museum

Unpeel a bunch of secrets at this desert oddity

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-colored 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.