Kern County Museum in Bakersfield.
It's not so much one museum as it is a little town of it's own full of historical buildings with cool displays. And the buildings are all totally different- everything from adobe brick to log to fine Victorian craftsmanship- pretty much the whole gamut of housing in the area from the last hundred and fifty years. Many of the buildings were authentic, and they had been moved to the site in one piece on trucks, even the cool mansion style ones.
They also had a big, fancy exhibition hall on "black gold" which was all about the areas rich oil history. I knew the area had an agricultural past, but I had no idea it had oil riches going on as well. I think we all learned enough there to count for several days of homeschooling.
We left and headed down a winding, beautiful and semi nerve wracking highway along the Kern River. The river was gorgeous. The huge rocky cliffs above and below me were impressive. The giant boulders bigger than me that had fallen into the road in the last rain were what I would rather not have driven next to. The jagged rocks hanging OVER the roadway were not something I enjoyed either. Thankfully, it wasn't raining and the boulders were not falling when we drove past.
That kind of sounds like I only had traumatic memories there, but really I wasn't traumatized at all (well, maybe the flies- that was pretty awful.) I actually remember the area and my time with my grandparents with fondness and thinking back makes me smile.
It was wonderful to visit my relatives with my kids, and to show them the birth place of many of my childhood stories they have heard. Boy Child enjoyed admiring the extensive toy car collection that belonged to one of my cousins who is away at college, and I made sure we were all as clean as we could be when we left, as we were heading to camp in the desert for days.
Next stop, Joshua Tree National Park.