California’s largest lake seems to attract an eclectic crowd. On the east side, odd art installations litter Bombay Beach. To the south is the painted dirt mound known as Salvation Mountain and to the far north, there’s the International Banana Museum featuring everything banana-related.
To find this roadside oddity you will have to keep your eyes peeled. The International Banana Museum has odd hours and is not well advertised. Just look for the bait shop and liquor store just outside of Mecca, California on Highway 111.
If the bright yellow Camaro is outside chances are Fred Garbutt is inside spouting out some of his favorite banana puns.
“When people go, I say ‘sorry to see you split’ or ‘don’t peel out’ and 'You are so appealing,'” said Garbutt. There are more BUNCH more puns where that came from. Garbutt has what’s he calls “yellow fever.”
“Ya! I’m crazy! I’m nuts, come see me" said Garbutt. "Well, if that’s what brings them in whatever.”
And bring them in he does. Visitors from all over the world come to marvel over Garbutt’s side-splitting collection of more than 25,000 banana related items.
Garbutt’s day job is building tennis courts and running the family liquor store.
The banana museum idea came to him after seeing a random eBay listing. “The guy took my offer and I was hemming and hawing over did I really want to do this, but eventually I jumped in with both feet,” explained Garbutt.
The banana collection is always growing. Visitors regularly donate banana artifacts to the museum. One visitor even painted a banana mural.
"After they are done in the museum they can take a banana selfie in front of it,” said Garbutt.
Whether you stop by to use the banana bathroom or taste Fred’s famous banana ice cream the International Banana Museum is a BUNCH of fun.
Go Bananas! Learn more about the Banana Museum here.
It's easy to take the same route. There's over 50,000 miles of California State Highway and it only takes you to well-known destinations, but Bartell's Backroads will take you to some of the hidden places that you won't want to miss.