Hemet makes a great  weekend getaway  from LA, OC and San Diego

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Center for Water Education

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Hemet California Vacation - California's Desert Gem, Hemet
hemet water center picture
poseidon and mermaid picture
people watch museum show
The Center for Water Education, 2325 Searl Parkway, Hemet, CA 92543 Call: (951)791-0990.  www.centerforwater.org

Hemet California Vacation - California's Desert Gem, Hemet (note: Center is Closed, it was great while it lasted!)
by Debbie Stock

Hemet is a dusty diamond ready to brush off and explore..  Diamond Valley Lake, Southern California's largest drinking water reservoir, is a favorite among fishermen who line up in the early morning to rent a boat and try their luck at catching some bass, catfish or trout. While Riverside County's newest lake is a great sporting attraction appealing to anglers, another crop of touristsfamilies, historians, archaeologists and paleontologistshave begun to flock to Hemet because of the lake. They come to visit two fabulous, new museums, dine at all the popular restaurants, shop at Marshall's, Ross and other chain stores and spend the night at this desert delight.

Known as an affordable retirement and bedroom community for commuters, Hemet changed practically overnight.  During Diamond Valley Lake's construction, bulldozers came to a screeching halt when significant  artifacts buried deep in layers of dirt and rock were uncovered. The find put Hemet on the map and caused humans to look into the past far beyond the disappearing orange groves and recent history you can study at Hemet Museum.

Incredible mastodon bones and artifacts dating back more than 230,000 years were uncovered in one of the most important finds from the Ice Age. Unofficially referred to as the Valley of the Mastodons, nearly 1 million specimens were found! Animals such as "Max," the largest mastodon found in the Western United States; "Xena," a 10,000-year-old mammoth; and a giant ground sloth that stands almost 7 feet tall, provide but a glimpse into the ever-changing climate on earth. This now semi-arid desert that keeps cars covered in a light layer of dust, was lush and fertile, producing ample food for huge animals that thrived and roamed large areas.

While one museum, Center for Water Education, was planned, another had to be funded and built to house the incredible collection of bones, teeth and body parts of extinct animals discovered at the soon-to-be lake.  Western Center for Archeology and Paleontology  came to fruition, offering an equally interesting (if not more compelling) journey into the study of our past. The water education center would hold its own, attracting students on field trips, travelers, and special events with its meeting space. But the archaeology center is poised to become one of the great depositories for rare artifacts and is sure to attract a broader audience of adult travelers and scientists.

In addition to offering hands-on fun and learning opportunities for all ages, the museum campus in which two separate museums are joined by commons areas, includes award-winning architectural designs utilizing energy-saving, argon-filled glass panels, solar collectors, steel edifices and concrete walls. The substantive stature of the combined structures provides a study in scale and form, contrasted by the brown, desert landscape and Santa Rosa mountain range. 

You can make Hemet a singular weekend trip that's especially enjoyable in the autumn through spring when the weather's dry, pleasant and rejuvenating. Or you can tie it to a nearby San Jacinto mountain resort getaway or Temecula wine escape. A whole new crop of tourists to Hemet include families with children, couples visiting Temecula Wine Country, vacationers on their way to Idyllwild mountain resort and academicians hoping to learn more.

The dusty, dry country of Hemet is anything but boringhidden gems have been there for eons. But now that they've re-surfaced, get ready to see a facelift, thanks to those old bones! 

What to do and see in Hemet & nearby:

Center for Water Education
Western Center for Archaeology and Paleontology

How to get there:
BlackJack private air charter

Where to eat:

Where to stay:
Best Western
Hampton Inn

More info:

Hemet is located in Riverside County east of Highway 15 that extends to San Diego. Located on Highway 79, it passes by one of the nation's largest rail and train museums in Perris, and isn't too far from Temecula wine country, either. 


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