The Wild West was a dangerous place, replete with blinding whiskey, roaming bands of mischievous tumbleweeds, and menacing cowboys constantly challenging each other to “Tasers at dawn!” Enjoy the West on safer, modern-day terms with today’s Groupon: for $7, you get two admissions to Desert Caballeros Western Museum (up to a $15 value) in Wickenburg. Children 16 and younger are admitted free.
Lauded in Frommer’s for its cowboy collection, Desert Caballeros Western Museum calls itself “Arizona’s Most Western Museum,” transporting guests into Arizona’s storied past with a collection of more than 400 cowboy paintings, cases stocked with memorabilia, and a mock 1915 street scene. Visitors can peek into several exhibits, including dioramas of the gold rush and the dude ranches. The Native American exhibit showcases the handicrafts and heritage of the land’s original dwellers, and the Spirit of the Cowboy collection congregates authentic cowboy memorabilia from the 1870s to the 1950s, including guns, saddles, ropes, and 40-gallon hats that cowhands could use as makeshift hammocks. Spurred stompers can mosey through the gem-and-gold collection or view the 1915 street scene, exploring the rowdy saloon, the Victorian home, and the Western storefronts.
Desert Caballeros Western Museum
Desert Caballeros Western Museum traces its origins back to 1960, when local leaders including Barry Goldwater and H. K. MacLennan founded the non-profit "to collect and preserve the history, learning, lore and mementos incident to the development of Wickenburg and the Arizona Territory." What started as a small-town museum blossomed into a regional institution full of artifacts of the Old West and Arizona culture. Thanks to the tireless work of local historians and curators, as well as hundreds of volunteers, the Desert Caballeros Western Museum draws droves of visitors to Wickenburg with its insightful art collections, historical exhibits, and hands-on learning opportunities.
Visitors can take in the picturesque landscape of the nearby Boyd Ranch as they converse with real-life cowboys and horses, or decorate their homes with paintings and sculptures made by Western women at the Cowgirl Up! exhibition. Regular exhibits enrich minds of all ages, dazzling guests with intricate artwork and pottery, the natural beauty of the gem collection, and the tiny, tiny people living inside the historical dioramas.