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Summer is upon us, and Arkansas parents are looking for summer fun ideas around The Natural State. We have a great idea! Digging for crystals in the crystal mines in the Ouachita mountains. Arkansas is home to many “dig your own” crystal mines, with most of them located in Mount Ida, the Quartz Crystal Capital of the World, as well as in Mena, Jessieville, and Story. The mines consist of pits and exposed hillsides where geology experts with backhoes and bulldozers have mined the soil and clay in search of the quartz veins that run through the mountains. Geologists say that Arkansas and Brazil have the best quality quartz on Earth, and tourists from all over the world head to Arkansas to dig for their own quartz.
My family went to Ron Coleman Mining in Jessieville, where we were able to dig for quartz crystals and keep them! In addition to digging for quartz, there is a ¼ mile-long zipline over the mine and a nice gift shop full of fun treasures.
If you have kids who love to dig and play in the dirt, this day trip will be a hit. Here are a few tips to make your day a success.
The Ron Coleman Mining Center does not rent out tools. They do have some for sale in the gift shop if you don’t bring any, but they welcome you to bring your own. I suggest bringing each kid their own bucket, a small shovel, and a small garden hand rake. These items will make it much easier to dig and find the treasures, plus the kids can keep their items separate.
If you go during the summer, you will get hot while searching for your quartz crystals. Make sure to fill your ice chest with water, and don’t forget to bring the snacks! Isn’t that what summer is about for kids – eating snacks every 15 minutes?
When you go on the tour of the operating mine at Ron Coleman Mining, ask the tour guide questions. They are knowledgeable about the mining process, and they don’t mind answering questions for the kids. Kind of like summer school, but not.
You will get dirty, and your kids will get VERY dirty! Be prepared and have an extra change of clothes to change into, and make sure to wear old clothes and closed-toe shoes while digging.
The zipline is a double zipline so you can go alongside your kids. They will love it! (Unless they are afraid of heights, then they might not.)
If you go to Jessieville, you will only be 10 minutes from one of Arkansas’s beautiful state parks, Lake Ouachita State park. Pack a lunch and take the kids for a picnic at the lake after a couple of hours of digging for crystals at Ron Coleman Mining! The kids loved this part of the day trip. As a bonus, go out for ice cream on your way home!
Wegner Quartz Crystal Mine (Mount Ida)
Colemans Rock Shop and Crystal Mine (Jessieville)
Ron Coleman Mining (Jessieville)
Twin Creek Crystal Mine (Mount Ida)
Board Camp Crystal Mine (Mena) Reservations Required
Sweet Surrender Crystals (Mount Ida)
Happy Summer Travels in The Natural State!
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