In Imperial County, California and just a 10 minutes drive outside Yuma, Arizona, lies the center of the world. Located in Felicity, California it is surrounded by Mexico to the south and the mud pits of the Salton Sea to the west. The Chocolate Mountains to the north and Yuma on its east side sit on the other sides. Felicity, California, a place known for spectacular sunsets, lies in the heartland of a desert just off Interstate 8.
I can assure you nothing you have imaged is quite like what you are going to see there. There is a saying, “..so it is written, it shall be done.” There is a bit of truth behind that statement and the town of Felicity can bear witness to that.
Well, one fateful morning back in 1985, the town’s future founder and current Mayor Jacques-Andre Istel wrote a children’s book entitled Coe, the Good Dragon at the Center of the World, and a year later founded the town of Felicity, California, named after his wife, Felicia. This book proved to be very important for the case of proving the fact that even though the earth is a sphere Felicity was, in fact, the “center” of that lovely sphere we call earth. Istel made his case and worked through some bureaucratic red tape. Finally, the Imperial County government recognized the site as the official center of the world later in 1985, as did the French government in 1989. The town has a plaque inside a pyramid in which the story claims the official center of the world is located. You even receive a certificate for going inside the pyramid.
Just because Felicity is in the desert doesn’t mean there is nothing to do. Actually, there is no shortage of things to do Felicity and the neighboring areas nearby. The town itself is host to a few attractions such as sculptures, a pyramid, the Musem of History In Granite, yep there’s a museum here with an extensive selection of engravings in on well over 700 granite panels. It’s quite impressive and astonishing the undertaking that went into researching and engraving the sheer amount of monuments that are on display. One can easily spend hours walking and reading the panels, or even just looking at the pictures that are engraved. Photographs really don’t do it any justice. It’s definitely something more of an experience, sort of like going to a sporting event versus watching it on the television.
Also, something you can’t help but see on display is section number 12 of the original Eiffel Tower staircase which was part of a larger section that was removed back in 1983 due to weight and aging issues. The 25ft high section greets visitors as they enter the town and is just part of the “spirit” of Felicity. After all the town has its own perfume called “Felicity“, why would they not have a section of the Eiffel Tower staircase?
Not to mention the Church on the Hill at Felicity, which is available for wedding bookings or other religious events. The church is a beautiful petit building that offers striking views from the hill it sits upon. And there is the Maze of Honor, which is a maze built and designed for people to explore. Inside are plaques of recognition honoring individuals or organizations that people have bought and had placed inside the maze.
If you find yourself getting stir crazy in the midst of the desert, there are places with more civilization minutes away. To the east of Felicity, you have the great town of Yuma, Arizona with has just about anything you can possibly be looking for if you are looking for stores or fast food. They have a Coffee Bean that serves basically a chocolate expresso frap and I guarantee even if you don’t like coffee, you will love this, as long as you like chocolate of course.
Now if you crave something more outdoorsy and exhilarating that perhaps a romp in the Algodones Dunes is for you. The Algodones Dunes is a large sand dune field located in the southeastern portion of the of California, near the border with Arizona and the Mexican state of Baja California. This spot is always busy with off-road riders with buggies, motorbikes, and about every other kind of ATV you can think of. Day or night you can always find a group of people having a good time there.
If none of this sounds good and you just wanna party well, that’s fine too because there are at least two Indian casinos. The newest and largest one is about a 5 minutes drive down the road right before Yuma. There you can do some clubbing or gambling or whatever your pleasure is. They even have a lazy river for those hot sunny desert days with a bar outside for you as well. Oh and San Diego is just two and a half hours away.
Felicity may not be the center hub of technology, of a giant bustling city like New York. Between memorial dedication ceremonies and other events taking place, this town is definitely very interesting and at times lively. There is an immense amount to engravings to observe on the monument walls of the Museum of History In Granite. There is enough here that you could easily spend a few days reviewing all the engravings, and visiting local shops and attractions. In all, one thing is for certain, the Center of The World is truly a unique place and a spot I would recommend that deserves a visit.