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 strike 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.
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Death Valley National Park holds the record for the hottest temperature ever recorded (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 spring wild flowers. The oasis like Palm Springs region (two hours’ east of Los Angeles and three hours north east of San Diego) has golf resorts, mid-century modern architecture and every spring, the epic Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
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