Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Best Memorial Day Weekend Ever!

This might come as a surprise to some of you and others not so much, but being a jewelry designer, I have wanted for sometime now to go visit a mining area to look for my own material and this last weekend I got to do just that.  We started out doing a craft fair in Claremore which worked out really well. We met lots of nice people and the show wasn't bad either.  Ashley and I sold lots of new pieces and several custom ones on the spot as well as usual.  Directly following that was meal planning for the trip to Arkansas.

We decided on deer stew and got everything together to make that camping dinner come out yummy.

So we drove almost 5 hours to Murfreesboro Arkansas and went to Crater of Diamonds.  It was fun. The kids found lots of interesting pieces and overall got to run around with now worries on the many acres of land to search, dig, and go thru looking for diamonds.


Here is some of the rough material we brought back.

We then went camping at Arrowhead.




We chose the primitive camping style.  We had 3 tents and 7 people and to camp only cost $30 Dollars.  That is not bad!  Not only that but they had clean showers on site, hot water, and super clean bathrooms. Everything was awesome. The river has an area right on that bend that is super calm and only about waist deep so was perfect for the kids to swim without too much worry of it getting too deep or having a bad current. The water was great and while the kids played in the water we also were searching for more material to bring home to cut and slab later to make into jewelry. We found bags of crystals, arkansas crystals, jaspers, agates, and mookite and lots more.  When we get time I will post some of the raw pieces and finished pieces from this trip.

Once we broke camp in the morning and decided to head to Wegners Crystal Mines and did several things. First the Gem Sluice. We bought buckets of material with precious gemstones, fossils, and add on buckets of things to let the kids learn how to hunt for raw materials in the dirt using the water sluice. We had premission from the owner to check out the sluice pond for things people miss that get washed away.  We found lots of beautiful pieces of garnet, peridot, some of the clearest quartz I have ever seen, large pieces of labradorite, amethyst, emerald, garnet nuggets, carneilian, tourmaline, agates, jaspers and so much more!  The kids loved it and so did we. I even found a gem quailty topaz.


We got quiet the haul from Wegners.

I know the picture is bad but you can see how perfect this topaz is and its perfectly shaped soft blue and just clear as can be!  This was a great find!

I really wanted pictures of our trip but since my van doesn't charge phones when its not on, and while in the middle of nowhere your cell searches for signals and dies, we missed out on some great photo ops.  But we plan to do it again very soon.

We took our kids with us and so for 5 of us to enter into Crater of Diamonds it ran about 30 dollars, and for the Wenger experience for all of us was only about $32.  I still say its great and didnt cost an awful lot to have fun with a large family.

The more activities you do at Wegners the cheaper it is for more things per person. Also if you dig in the Tailings area you can dig all day at one price and as always you keep anything you find at BOTH places.

This made my jewelry making heart happy and my kids are eager to go rock hunting again so it looks like summer is going to be really fun for us all. We are planning on heading down to the Tulsa Riverside area to hunt along the water that is there for interesting stones that are visible when the river is low like it has been most of the year.

Should you decide to visit these places please give us some comments on your experience. Also if you go to Wegners, please mention my name and blog so he knows I sent you!

I give both places 5 Star ratings. It was fun, educational and kid friendly all rolled into one.

Disclosure: I recieved no compensation for this post. I feel that my readers would benefit by being able to read about family friendly activities during the summer.  We had a blast!

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