Recently we had the opportunity to visit the Rice Museum of Rocks and Minerals. The museum is located in our hometown and I was able to get a Cultural Pass from our local library, which covered the cost of two adults. It was the perfect place to take our grandchildren for a visit.

We weren’t sure how long it would take us to visit the museum or if our grandchildren would even enjoy themselves. Were we ever surprised! Richard and Helen Rice began collecting rocks in 1938! In 1952 they constructed this “dream house” designed around their rock hound hobby. The key feature of their home was a full gallery of lighted, built-in showcase in the basement!

The Rice Museum of Rocks and Minerals was much larger than we thought. It is one of the finest mineral museums in the Pacific Northwest and one of the best in the nation. There are over 4,000 individual items on view from a collection of over 20,000 specimens.

There are a total of two buildings to explore as well as numerous last rocks outside. Everything is well labeled and there are several interactive displays that our grandchildren enjoyed.

My husband is a real rock house and could have spent all day looks at all the displays. One of the curators gave a Museum Minute where she gave more information of several of the display in one of the rooms. Of particular interest was the Alma Rose rhodochrosite from Colorado. Rhodochrosite is also known as Inca Rose Stone, Raspberry Spar and Manganese Spar. It is one of the signature specimens of the museum.

There is also an amazing collection of petrified wood, which contains over 460 worldwide specimens. When you look at the collection is is hard to believe they were once trees, there is quite a variety of colors!

At the end of your visit the children are allowed to pick a rock from a large rock pile in the yard. Once you find your rock you can take it inside and find out what kind of rock you picked out. It was a fun visit and quite impressive. We are looking forward to returning for another visit.

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