Culture with a Twist

Go off the beaten path to find bananas, dinosaurs, and a replica of the Pharoah’s tomb. These quirky collections of artifacts scattered across the Coachella Valley are bound to intrigue.

June Allan Corrigan Attractions, Current Digital, Current Guide

Cabazon Dinosaurs were famously featured in the classic 1980s films Pee wee’s Big Adventure and The Wizard.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ANDREA AMENT
Mellow Yellow

Head out to Mecca, a town by the Salton Sea, to find the International Banana Museum. Mecca is hardly ripe with banana plantations, but no matter — this sunny establishment is filled with more than 25,000 banana-shaped items — bananabilia, if you will. The puns come as fast and easy as the banana milkshakes and other frozen treats served at the banana bar. internationalbananamuseum.com

Kitschy Cozy

Housed in a former drive-through photo kiosk, space is tight inside the World Famous Crochet Museum in Joshua Tree, but local artist Shari Elf’s collection of crocheted animals doesn’t seem to mind, nor do needlework enthusiasts from around the globe who stop by to visit. Elf began collecting the wooly creatures in 2006, and the collection shows no signs of unraveling. sharielf.com

Dino-mite!

Jurassic Park has nothing on the Cabazon Dinosaurs off Interstate 10 — and visitors don’t serve as lunch for the iconic steel-and-concrete exhibits: a 65-foot-tall T-Rex and a 150-foot long Brontosaurus housing a gift shop. The roadside attraction was famously featured in the classic 1980s films Pee wee’s Big Adventure and The Wizard. cabazondinosaurs.com

The Original Amazon.com

Travel back in time to the 1930s and browse Ruddy’s General Store Museum in Palm Springs, an establishment chock full of pristine products from that era. Whether they’re canned or boxed goods, medicines or sundries, the celebration of Americana consumerism boasts original period packaging right down to the display cases.
ruddy1930generalstoremuseum.com

Knock Off the Old Block

A new entry on the museum scene, the Museum of Ancient Wonders in Cathedral City contains a treasure trove of historical artifacts, both real and replicated. A laboratory cast of a 3-million-year old Tyrannosaurus rex head, sanctioned reproductions from the Pharoah’s tomb, as well as Grecian vessels, represent just a few of many enlightening glimpses into the past on exhibit. moaw.org

PHOTOGRAPH BY DAVID A. LEE

International Banana Museum

PHOTOGRAPH BY JON CRAMER

World Famous Crochet Museum