White’s City is the last commercial area you will drive through before entering the Carlsbad Caverns National Park. At one time, this little hamlet featured a museum, restaurant, RV Park, hotel, trading post, gas station, and water park. The town itself was sold on Ebay in 2010 and the museum was disbanded.
With the advent of COVID-19, not sure what may still be open and what may not be. The day I was there, it appeared that the water park may be permanently closed, the restaurant may be open for take out orders only although it looked closed during the hours I was there, the RV Park was doing a little business. There is a small laundromat and grocery along with a public restroom and the trading post in the main little strip mall, with the RV Park adjacent.
Million Dollar Museum
Some of the items from the Million Dollar Museum are still on display in the trading post and grocery store buildings. I asked if I could take pictures as I walked through and the salesclerk was fine with that. I’m sure the items still available are just a small portion of what was originally housed at the museum. I believe many of the museum items were auctioned off. There isn’t much left but it did make for an eclectic display.
I couldn’t find much information left on the internet regarding the Million Dollar Museum but here are a few links:
- Roadside America — Million Dollar Museum
- Summer Sale — Buy Your Own Museum
- The Million Dollar Museum — You Tube
I felt this was a worthwhile trip, just 20 miles south of Carlsbad and 4 miles from Carlsbad Caverns State Park, even though we weren’t visiting the caverns that day. I like memorabilia and trading posts and had a good time looking around. The salesclerk told me her very first job was at the snack bar at Carlsbad Caverns many years ago and of course, a lot has changed since that time.
I asked about the interesting statues and animal heads throughout and she said they were from the now closed museum. She pointed out the rattlesnake display which is in the grocery store section of the building and which I would have missed had she not mentioned it.
If you need souvenirs for the folks back home, there is a lot to choose from here, all the way from higher priced fine art to boxes of prickly pear candy. Of course there are many Carlsbad Cavern souvenirs and clothing as well. I bought a bag of Indian Fry Bread mix which comes in a colorful sack and it made exclusively for the White’s City Curios Shop.
Just a few miles down the road, you enter the Carlsbad Caverns National Park and there are stops along the way before you get to the visitor’s center. One of those stops, on the south side of the road, is the Indian Rock Shelter. There is ample parking, even for motor homes, and a small picnic area. From there are several trails along the route down to the caves with descriptive signs along the way identifying the plant life and how it was used by the Native Americans.
There was a lot more to see than what appears from the road and I was glad I decided to stop. We didn’t spend too much time here but you could easily spend some time exploring.