Exploring Yosemite With Kids Time outdoors in our National Parks is the best way to teach kids about nature, how we need to respect the outdoors and do what we can to protect it....
Vacations to Collect Gems, Geodes, Fossils & Stones
On a road trip or planning a road trip this year? Instead of stopping to see the world's largest ball of yarn, why not plan a detour to mine for gems, find a diamond, dig for a fossil or hunt for geodes. Here are a few detours or trip additions that the entire family will love!
CRATER OF DIAMONDS STATE PARK IN ARKANSAS
There is a state park where families are welcome to come and dig for their own diamond souvenirs. Crater of Diamonds State Park is one of a kind because nowhere else can the public set up a one person, or family, operation to work the soil for diamonds. The fields of Crater of Diamonds are plowed daily to make it easier for diamonds to be unearthed by guests. The adventure doesn’t end in the fields though, rangers are on hand to share the history of mining in the area, different techniques used and show guests other rocks and gemstones of commercial and personal value that can be found in the area.
U-DIG FOSSILS IN DELTA, UTAH
If digging for your own fossils sounds exciting, U-Dig Fossils is a trilobite quarry where the public is open to visit and find their own fossils. Delta, Utah, where the quarry is located has some of the richest trilobite beds ever found, and because it is privately owned, the general public can dig with admission. No experience is needed to get started, the staff here are willing to help and explain the process of trilobite hunting with you, or just provide you with the tools that you need to get started. Fossil hunters of all ages enjoy the chance to find these specimens for their own personal collections.
DENNIS STEVENSON GEODES IN HAMILTON, ILLINOIS
The Midwestern states of Illinois, Iowa and Missouri have some of the best geode deposits that the public can explore for free or for an admission price. At the Dennis Stevenson Geodes, the private site requires advance reservations and charges an admission fee, but this means that there are always geodes for everyone to hunt for. The area has not been picked clean and families or groups can work together to fill a bucket of geodes at a flat rate. Geodes can be left as is or cracked open later.
625 S. 18th St., Hamilton, Illinois | Call ahead to plan a trip: 309-337-3089 or 217-847-2952
AGATE HUNTING IN COOK COUNTY MINNESOTA
Agates are the state gem of Minnesota, so it only makes sense that you are able to easily find agate deposits for collecting. Cook County in Minnesota is one of the richest areas for finding agates and most of the places are public places where you can just collect as you go. Make sure that you know for sure that the area you are collecting in is a free to the public space before collecting though. Rocky, gravel beaches are littered with the rocks, and are the easiest places to find them because these rocks will be wet and show the translucent signs that indicate agate cavities held within.