One of the odder sites in the Southwestern deserts—and competition for this title is pretty fierce—sits just north of the I-8 freeway in the tiny but happily named town of Felicity (pop. 2). Local resident Jacques-André Istel—author of a children’s fairy tale concerning a scholarly fire-breathing dragon named Coe who lives at the center of the world reading fireproof books and eating the nearby Chocolate Mountains—named the “town” after his wife Felicia and somehow convinced France, China, and Imperial County to recognize that Felicity is, legally and officially, the center of the world.
A 21-foot-high pink terrazzo pyramid stands above the exact spot, which you can visit on regular guided tours (760/572-0100, daily late Nov.-mid-Apr., $3). The fee also buys a certificate saying you’ve stood at “The Official Center of the World.” You can climb a set of stairs that used to belong to the Eiffel Tower and sift through sundry souvenirs in the gift shop.