The Hi-Desert Museum is a small museum in Yucca Valley, not far from Joshua Tree National Park that focuses on the natural, cultural and historical aspects of the high desert. There is a tiny zoo with creatures common to the desert such as snakes, tortoises, and ground squirrels. The kids corner is a great little area filled with hands on activities for kids to enjoy. When we visited there was an extensive exhibit on the California Missions in a gallery that appeared to have rotating exhibits. Dioramas, fossil collections, and Native American artifacts all make for a nice way to spend a hour or two with the kids.
It is easy to pass by this little museum if you do not know that it is there! The Hi-Desert Nature Museum not a big place by any means, but it still offers a few hours of fun for the kids. They have a variety of collections, exhibitions and educational programs that can teach th kids about the Hi-Desert's unique natural and historical elements.
My kid's favorite part is the small live animal dosplay. They loved the little chipmunk named Sweet Pea and still talk about him to this day!