October 28, 2017

Photo Essay: The Museum That's Gone Bananas

I guess you'd expect to find a wacky collection of tropical fruit out in the desert.

But while the area surrounding the Salton Sea is generally dominated by palm date groves and offerings of date shakes, there's only one place where you can have your pick of a banana sundae, a banana shake, or a banana bread muffin: the International Banana Museum.

In the town of Mecca near the North Shore of the Salton Sea (just up Highway 111 from the failed balloon festival grounds), just look for the bright yellow robot banana, a creation of outsider artist Kenny Irwin of Robolights fame.

Past that and through the door, you're welcome to "go bananas" for a nominal fee of $3 (waived if you buy something, which you definitely should)...

...and surround yourself with the world's largest collection devoted to the banana (or, any one fruit, for that matter).

Of course, you'll be in good company with other banana lovers...

...and every kind of banana-fana-fo-fana you can imagine...

...from Chiquita and Dole... bananas in disguise...

...banana splits...

...and way beyond.

They're all ready to party with you.

Some might even sing to you.

But you have to be sure it's a real banana...

...and not just somebody dressed up as one...

...or some monkey dressed as one, for that matter.

Of course, there's plenty of opportunity to monkey around at the Banana Museum...

...but the "top banana" here, of course, is the fruit.

And that includes not only how it looks in various commercial and artistic renderings...

...but also how it tastes.

If it's not the most a-peeling destination in the world, it certainly is along the eastern shore of the Salton Sea—especially if you're looking for some refreshment beyond what Bombay Beach has to offer at the Ski Inn.

It's a new discovery for me at the Salton Sea, as its current iteration opened in 2012, during a nearly six-year period of me being absent from the area. And now, I'm glad to see that it fits perfectly here, in this land—and sea—of misfits, misunderstandings, and tropical heat.

After all, nobody needs a fruit shaped like a smile more than the denizens of the Salton Sea.

Related Posts:
Photo Essay: The Bunny Museum Strikes Back
Photo Essay: Hoppy Holidays from The Bunny Museum
Sunrising the Salton Sea and Its Forever Folly

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