That's just part of the charm, oddness and fun of this little spot. But, the best part? There are hidden gems galore just waiting to be discovered in almost every dusty and dry nook and cranny here. These are seven places of intrigue that we call the Wonders of Joshua Tree.
This museum may not be on everyone’s list of the most famous places to visit in the world, but it’s quirky to see for sure.
Established by artist Shari Elf in 2007 inside a tiny Fotomat booth in Joshua Tree, California, the Crochet Museum is bursting at the seams with kitschy yet loveable crocheted critters like Bunny, the “curator,” a crochet alligator who wears a frilly apron. Shari is not a crocheter herself, but she’s an avid collector who’s always looking for new finds to add to her collection.
A structure designed by George Van Tassel, the Integratron's claim to fame is that it is capable of rejuvenation, anti-gravity and time travel. Built supposedly following instructions provided by visitors from the planet Venus near Joshua Tree in Landers, California, the structure was financed predominantly by donations, including funds from Howard Hughes.
The building is now owned by sisters Joanne, Nancy, and Patty Karl - they promote The Integratron as an "acoustically perfect structure", giving tours and offering "sound baths" by tones from quartz bowls.
Located in the barren desert near Joshua Tree National Park, 15 miles from the nearest human settlement, Yucca Crater is a synthetic earthwork that doubled as a recreational amenity during High Desert Test Sites on October 15 & 16, 2011. After the event, Yucca Crater was abandoned to the entropic forces of the landscape. The work resembles a basin that stands 30 feet from rim to low point and is depressed 10 feet into the earth. Rock climbing holds mounted on the interior allow visitors to descend into a deep pool of salt water.
Noah Purifoy's "Outdoor Desert Art Museum" is 7.5 acres of open land displaying Purifoy's assemblage sculptures, all created on-site between 1989 and 2004.
Visitors must drive on dirt roads to access the site, where they'll be greeted with a hand-painted "Blair Lane" street sign and dozens of large-scale sculptures made from materials such as castoff metals, burnt wood, and blown-out rubber tires. The sculptures are all assemblage pieces, adorned with "junk" bits like hamburger wrappers, broken computer keyboards, or glass fragments, and most are large enough to walk into and experience from dizzying angles.
Jeff Hafler's Beauty Bubble Salon and Museum right outside of Joshua Tree now includes over 2,000 pieces of hair and beauty memorabilia.
Among the many items in his collection, highlights include a curling iron oven from 1889, a Duart perm machine from 1940, a hairdryer from 1911 and loads of old products & advertisements.
Located next door to The Moon Way Lodge - a private poolside retreat rental that can accommodate up to 8 - the attraction is open for hair and tours by appointment only.
In 1946, Pioneertown was founded by a group of Hollywood investors with dreams of creating a living movie set -- an 1870's frontier town with facades for filming and interiors open to the public. On the outside were stables, saloons, and jails, and on the inside, were ice cream parlors, bowling alleys, and motels. Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Russell Hayden, and the Sons of the Pioneers (for whom the town was named) were some of the original investors and personalities who helped build and invent Pioneertown. More than 50 films and several television shows were filmed in Pioneertown throughout the 1940's and 1950's.
Today, the facades used as sets for numerous western films still exist.
Bonita Domes is a large earthbag dome project underway in Joshua Tree, CA. Started to promote sustainable building techniques in the desert, these domes located on the edge of Joshua Tree National Park are available as dwelling spaces for travelers.
Small on the outside, the cozy and roomy dwellings are earthquake-proof and cool inside to beat the desert heat outside.