Remember your visit to Greater Palm Springs with a cool memento. Whether shopping for yourself or friends and family, there are many places featuring fun and interesting keepsakes, from souvenirs as simple as a key chain to elaborate works of art.
Cabot’s Pueblo Museum
Visit this quirky collection of Hopi-inspired buildings painstakingly built from found and reclaimed objects by desert pioneer Cabot Yerxa. Remember it with an item or two from Cabot’s Trading Post & Gallery in Desert Hot Springs. Find red bandanas like Yerxa wore (he claimed it was the most useful, adaptable thing he owned), a stuffed burro named “Merry Christmas” (Cabot’s trusty sidekick), and a beautiful collection of Southwestern-influenced paintings and pottery.
Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert
For a decidedly different kind of toy shop, visit CDMOD — an outpost chockablock with exciting things for kids to play with, explore, and learn from. Catering to the 2- to 10-year-old crowd, the museum in Rancho Mirage eschews computer games or gadgets, and in their stead presents items such as the “pizza set” that helps teach toddlers food items while encouraging them to discuss shapes, sizes, and colors. Fun straws, for those a little older, teach spatial creativity. And a wide selection of family games urges parentinvolved learning.
The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies
One of the area’s biggest local and visitor draws are the dancers and singers of The Follies. The entertaining show at Palm Springs’ historic Plaza Theatre runs from November through May and features show girls and guys ranging in age from 55 to 80-plus. After the show, pick up a copy of the in-depth souvenir program. If you didn’t get enough of MC Riff Markowitz’s homespun humor (not to mention performances by past guest stars, including John Davidson, Anna Maria Alberghetti, and Melba Moore), take home the two-disc CD, Great Moments at The Follies.
The Living Desert Zoo & Botanical Garden
Enjoy exotic flora and fauna from deserts around the world at The Living Desert in Palm Desert. Afterward check out the gift shop, which offers a wide range of products. You’ll find T-shirts with logos; classic souvenirs; and imported goods, including decorated ostrich eggs and carved animal figures. A dizzying array of stuffed animals will delight the little ones, and books ranging from Zoo Poo for toddlers to scholarly treatises on wildlife preservation further the organization’s educational mission.
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
A selection of functional and kitschy mementos await you at Palm Springs Aerial Tramway gift stores located in the Valley and Mountain stations. Alongside Indian art, jewelry, kachina dolls, hiking supplies, and scorpion suckers, you’ll find Tramlogo clothing — including winter jackets to keep warm at the top of the mountain where temperatures average 30 to 40 degrees cooler than on the desert floor. A ride on the tramway is an experience to remember.
Palm Springs Art Museum
While you may not find many things stamped with the Palm Springs Art Museum name (although the museum store does offer a very nice tote bag), what you will discover is an abundance of tasteful items you will treasure for years. An assortment of hand-dyed scarves, intricately beaded jewelry, objets d’art, and handcrafted ceramic items are joined by a selection of art books, including many of the museum’s exhibition catalogs. www.psmuseum.org
Palm Springs Visitor Center
Housed in the historic Albert Frey/Robson Chambers-designed former gas station (built in 1965), the Palm Springs Visitor Center is located on the northern end of the city on Highway 111. The midcentury modern building with the soaring roof contains free tourist information, as well as classic souvenirs, including key chains, mugs, magnets, and T-shirts. For a true keepsake memorializing the modern architecture of the desert region, pick up the DVD Modern Palm Springs.
Shields Date Garden
It might be challenging to take home Shields Date Garden’s famous date shake as a souvenir. But don’t despair — you can ship almost a dozen varieties of prepackaged fresh dates anywhere you want. In addition to the sweetest natural edible in the oasis, Shields offers a full selection of dried fruits and tasty snacks. Each time you indulge, you will remember your visit to this Coachella Valley institution, in operation since 1924.
Sunnylands Center & Gardens
Fully renovated and open to the public, the midcentury Annenberg estate in Rancho Mirage offers a spectacular visitors center and gardens built adjacent to the original residence of Leonore and Walter Annenberg. According to Retail Manager Rick Aronson, items sold in the gift shop reflect the style favored by the Annenbergs, who were known for their exquisite taste and love of beautiful design. A selection of bowls, glasses, serving pieces, art books, and a collection of midcentury-inspired birdhouses and feeders, serve as reminders of your visit to this distinctive retreat.