Get the Skinny on the Best of Palm Springs Museums

Cabots Museum

The breadth of Palm Springs Museums is noteworthy. The quality and scope of museums in our Little Valley are one of the reasons visitors enjoy coming here so often. There are art museums, cultural museums, architecture museums and history museums, among others. This article discusses seven museums that will make this a note-worthy visit.

Palm Springs Art Museum

The Palm Springs Art Museum is four-levels of artistic bliss. You will find sections on glass sculpture, pop art, impressionism, and photography. There are also over 12,000 natural science and archeological artifacts to view, including a number of noteworthy Meso-American artifacts. In addition to its art holdings, the museum offers numerous classes and performing arts events. The Palm Springs Art Museum is one of the few museums that celebrate the White Party event where art from members of the LGBT community can be viewed. The lower level sculpture gardens are quite serene, a great place to have a relaxing bite from the café. You can also enjoy a complimentary one-hour tour at 2 PM.

In addition to the public tours and classes, the museum holds an art camp for children ages 5 – 12. The classes are divided into three different age groups. Children will get a hands-on experience by doing various projects and having fun gallery experiences.

The museum is located on Museum Way in downtown Palm Springs. It’s very convenient to most downtown Palm Springs hotels. Enjoy free admission on Thursday evenings, during VillageFest.

Operating hours are Sun, Mon, Tue, Fri, Sat from 10 AM – 5 PM and on Thur from 12 PM – 8 PM and free from 4 PM – 8 PM. Admission and all activities are free the 2nd Sunday of each month.

Cabot’s Pueblo Museum

Cabot Yerxa used only reclaimed materials to create his unique pueblo home. Wagon parts, old telephone poles, windows, and doors were collected and used to fashion this unique museum. The Pueblo is four-stories tall, 5,000 square feet and has 35 rooms, 150 windows and 65 doors. Considered a treasure to those in the Coachella Valley, this museum takes you back to a time when things were much simpler and a lot less complicated.

Guided tours are available all year long. Operating hours are October – May from 9 AM – 4 PM. Summer hours during the months of June – September are from 9 AM – 1 PM. Tours begin at 9:30 and last approximately 55 minutes, the tour is limited to 12 visitors at a time. This allows for a better learning experience. During the tour, visitors will learn the story of the museum and get a look inside this historic Pueblo. The museum is located at 67616 E. Desert View Avenue in Desert Hot Springs. 

Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert

Located at 71-701 Gerald Ford Drive Rancho Mirage, the Children’s Discovery Museum is open daily from 10 AM – 5 PM Monday – Friday during the months of January through May and from 10 AM – 5 PM Tuesday – Sunday from June through December.

The museum provides an outlet for children to express their intellectual curiosity and give them the opportunity to safely express themselves. There are activities for all ages, even some that adults can enjoy. Toddlers are led by a certified Childhood Educator every day from 9:15 AM – 10 AM before the museum opens to the public. This program allows toddlers to develop the social, developmental and emotional skills necessary to thrive and become successful.

The Butterfly Release and Earth Day Celebration is a huge hit at the museum. This activity is separated into 3 days. On the first day, participants will receive their butterfly larva and adoption packet. Bring along your own shoe box so you can create a safe comfortable home for your future butterfly. On the second day, visitors will learn about the life cycle of the butterfly and how to draw desert animals and landscapes. On the final day, the butterflies will be released and the afternoon will be filled with fun activities to celebrate Mother Earth.

Coachella Valley History Museum

The Coachella Valley History Museum can be found at 82616 Miles Avenue Indio, CA 92201. Monday and Thursday through Saturday during the months of October through May, the museum is open from 10 AM – 4 PM and on Sundays from 1 PM – 4 PM. Guests can visit the museum during the months of June through September on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 AM – 4 PM.

During the late 1800s, the Cahuilla Indians settled the Coachella Valley along with the Southern Pacific Railroad. Centrally located between Yuma and Los Angeles made Indio a convenient train stop. The museum opened in 1984 and has since been operated by volunteers who understand the importance of preserving the area’s history.

The museum grounds hold the adobe Smiley-Tyler house that was built in 1926. The old school house also occupies the grounds and was constructed in 1909. Visitors can enjoy the beauty of the Japanese and Memorial Date Gardens. The Cork Oak Tree is one of the oldest trees in the Valley! The beauty doesn’t end there. Visitors can view the works of local artists in the Pioneer Hall, stroll through the amazing gardens that showcase native plants as well as plants introduced by the pioneers. The Outdoor Gallery tells the story of how pioneers, blacksmiths, and railroad workers used their knowledge to get the Valley ready to enter the 21st century.

Palm Springs Air Museum

The Air Museum is open daily from 10 AM – 5 PM and is located on N. Gene Autry Trail in Palm Springs.

This museum is dedicated to educating visitors about how AirPlay was an integral part of our quest for liberties and freedom. The museum houses aircraft used in Korea, Vietnam, and World War II. Some of these aircraft are still operable. More historic information can be gained by utilizing the on-site library and learning about the exhibits and artifacts displayed here.

Every Memorial Day, the Air Museum celebrates all who served, fought and died for our freedoms by dropping 3,000 red and white carnations from a B-25 Mitchell bomber. Visitors can also enjoy a jazz band, activities for the children and be able to grab a bite from food vendors.

Bring the kids along and let them visit the children’s center. Here they can sit in a real-life airplane cockpit. Friendly, knowledgable museum staff deliver a wealth of information to guests. Please stop by the café and gift shop before you leave to get some trinkets for yourself as well as friends and family.

Sunnylands Center & Gardens

Sunnylands is located at 37977 Bob Hope Drive Rancho Mirage. Visitors can enjoy the center from Thursday – Sunday between the hours of 8:30 AM – 4 PM, on Wednesdays in April from 12:30 PM – 4 PM. The center is closed on Sundays after June 3rd and will reopen on Sundays beginning September 12th.

Widely known as the “Camp David of the West”, Sunnylands is a place for world leaders to come together to discuss world issues and try to come to an agreement on the best course of action. Only those who are experts in their fields are invited to attend Sunnylands.

Sunnylands offers several guided tours and activities for visitors to enjoy. Discover wildlife, stroll through the beautiful gardens and learn the history of the center.

Palm Springs Historical Society

Established in 1955 by Melba Berry Bennett. It is located at 221 South Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262. Admission is free and is open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM – 5 PM and on Sundays from 12 PM – 3 PM. The historical society offers several tours that may peak your interest.

The Heart of the City Tours lasts approximately 1.5 hours. The tour starts at The McCallum Adobe and takes you along the border of the Tahquitz Canyon Way. Taking this tour allow visitors to see the heart of the city, Welwood Murray Memorial Library, and the Oasis Hotel Tower. Be taken back in time as you take in the sites of Spanish style stucco buildings that still have the red roofs and arch passageways.

Prepare yourself for an amazing tour through Old Las Palmos area. The Old Las Palmos area has the most celebrity homes in one area than anywhere in the world. Guests will see homes that Dinah Shore, Gene Autry, Elizabeth Taylor and many more famous celebrities too numerous to mention.

The tour will take approximately 2.5 hours and begins at the corner of W. Alejo and Vine directly across from the Temple Isiah.  It is recommended that you wear comfortable shoes, have plenty of water and ample protection from the sun.

Depending on your interests, guests will most definitely find a museum or museums that they will enjoy. Make sure to include a museum visit on your next visit to Palm Springs.

Have you been to any of the museums mentioned here? Have a story or pictures to share? Let us know on Twitter using #XPLORzine or on Pinterest.

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