On May 7, 2022, Joshua Tree National Park proudly opened their new Visitor Center in downtown 29 Palms, in the newly completed Freedom Plaza. Made possible through partnership with the City of Twentynine Palms, Joshua Tree National Park’s traditionally associated Native American communities, Joshua Tree National Park Association (JTNPA), and the Bureau of Land Management, the new Joshua Tree Visitor & Cultural Center is a must-see destination for park visitors.
In addition to the beautiful bookstore and information center, this new Visitor Center features an incredible museum space which will feature rotating exhibits celebrating the culture, history, and stories of the Native American communities. The new facility is located at 6533 Freedom Way, in the center of 29 Palms’ newly completed Freedom Plaza, and is open 7 days a week from 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM.
The opening exhibition, Home Maintenance: Keys Ranch, tells the story of the park’s role in the preservation of cultural resources. This temporary exhibit was developed by Joshua Tree Art Innovation Lab (JTLab) and weaves the stories of people on the landscape in the present and the recent past. The next set of exhibits, scheduled to be installed in the fall of 2022, are being developed in partnership with the traditionally associated Native American communities. This more permanent exhibition will share the rich heritage of the many peoples who have stewarded this land for millennia. JTNP acknowledges these original stewards, and this exhibit will pay respect to the people, past, present and emerging who have been in this area for generations.
The Oasis Visitor Center (OVC) in Twentynine Palms closed its doors at 5:00 PM Monday, May 2, 2022 after 60 years of operation. The new Joshua Tree National Park Visitor Center in 29 Palms replaces OVC in welcoming visitors and providing park information. Other park visitor facilities are Joshua Tree Visitor Center, Cottonwood Visitor Center, and Blackrock Nature Center and Art Gallery. These are open to welcome the public daily.
About Freedom Plaza
Formerly known as Project Phoenix, the Freedom Plaza site is dynamic downtown revitalization project along Highway 62 in the heart of 29 Palms that will serve to meet the community’s recreational, professional, and educational needs.
The multi-faceted complex features an 11,000 square foot Community Center with a gymnasium/multipurpose room and culinary arts kitchen, a 4,100 square foot Joshua Tree National Park Visitor Center, a 10,000 square foot entry plaza and a three-block long Paseo.
The Community Center will serve as a flexible athletics facility and recreational hub for the community’s youth and adults and can also be used for special events and conferences. Through the City’s new partnership with Copper Mountain College and the Morongo Unified School District, the culinary arts kitchen in this new Community Center will be used as a teaching space for the next generation of aspiring chefs.
A beautiful outdoor event stage graces the corner of Freedom Way and the Paseo parking lot between the Community Center and Joshua Tree Visitor Center. Freedom Way’s newly designed protected walkway also transforms into an event space that can be reserved for special events such as festivals, farmers markets, art shows, car shows and musical events.
A decade in the making, the City of Twentynine Palms proudly unveiled and officially opened Freedom Plaza on March 12!