Chicago Rocks & Minerals Society, Chicago, IL
Chicago Rocks and Minerals Society
Chicago Rocks and Minerals Society
Chicago Rocks and Minerals Society
Chicago Rocks and Minerals Society
Chicago Rocks and Minerals Society

Places to Visit

Looking for something to do?
Oh, the places you can go!!

This list was compiled by asking our members a simple question,
"What are your favorite places to visit?"
(Just click on the green "+" sign to open that state.)


Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art
220 Cottage Hill Avenue in Wilder Park
Elmhurst, Illinois 60126
Phone: 630.833.1616     Fax: 630.833.1225

If you are in the Chicago area, the Lizzadro Museum is not to be missed. The museum displays gemstone treasures with a blending of earth science exhibits. The building is designed to resemble a jewel box nestled within a park setting. The museum displays more than 200 pieces of jade and other hard stone carvings from around the world, featuring several internationally famous pieces. Included are a fine nephrite jade imperial altar set completed during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and an exquisite cinnabar screen encrusted with carved gemstones. Both the screen and the altar set were originally housed in the lavish imperial palaces of China. Other prime examples of lapidary arts are exhibited in the form of snuff bottles, modern and antique vases and bowls, and many other decorative and functional items. Three walls of the museum's main floor feature dioramas, each one a small scene with carved creatures native to that environment. The museum's collection also features beautiful examples of Florentine and Roman stone mosaics created between 1780 and 1850, cameos and intaglios, and displays of faceted gemstones and mineral specimens. Finally, the awe inspiring Castle Lizzadro is an 18 karat gold sculpture with diamond windows setting on a base of mineral specimens. The new permanent exhibit hall in the lower level of the museum features 26 new exhibits. Learn how a tree turns to stone, how hard jade is, what minerals make up granite and see fossils through geologic time. Exhibits include rough and polished stone with outstanding minerals. Touch a meteorite or touch a screen to view short videos on jade carving, cabochon cutting, faceting and an introduction to the museum exhibits. Visit the museum's calendar page to see their current list of special exhibits, workshops for youngsters & those young at heart, field trips & special events.

Burpee Museum of Natural History
737 North Main Street
Rockford, IL 61103
Phone: 815.965.3433     Fax: 815.965.2703

Are you looking for a great place to take a group of kids? The Burpee Museum of Natural History's unique exhibits have been known to intrigue both the young and old. There's plenty to see for everyone! From Jane the T-Rex and Homer the Triceratops, to their brand new 5,000 square foot traveling exhibit hall. They maintain a diverse permanent collection comprised of over 70,000 Paleontology, Geology, Biology and Anthropology specimens. The collections focus on the natural history of the Rock River Valley region but also contain comparative material from all over the world. The collections are available for study to qualified researchers. The museum has four floors of modern exhibits that are specimen based, with strong interactive and educational components. The first floor is dedicated to paleontology; take a walk through time as your visit exhibits chronicling key times in earth's history. The Geoscience exhibit on the second floor is where rocks and minerals, fluorescent minerals, and the geology of the region can be found. Third floor exhibits include the Windows to Wilderness exhibit on Rock River Valley biology and the First People exhibit which introduces visitors to different Native American cultures. On the lower level is the Dean Olson Viewing lab where fossil and biological specimens are prepared for exhibit. The Paleontology Collections are comprised of over 30,000 cataloged specimens collected from all over North America. Highlights include: an extensive collection of Mazon Creek fossils (including fossil plants, invertebrates and vertebrates) of Pennsylvanian age (300 million years old) and a diverse collection of Ordovician (455 million years old) invertebrate fossils from Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. They also house an extensive collection of fossil vertebrates from the late Cretaceous (65-67 mya) Hell Creek Formation of Southeastern Montana, fossil vertebrates from the classic White River Badlands of South Dakota and, in 2008, museum researchers initiated paleontological field work in the world famous Morrison Formation (late Jurassic in age) of Southeastern Utah. For more information on their tours, workshops & special events, click here. Visit the Education Link on their website for special programs for scouts, homeschoolers & the Burpee Explorers Program. Interested in an expedition? Expeditions are offered to prospect for fossils and discover specimens to add to the museum's collection. You'll learn the fundamentals of dinosaur field work including prospecting, excavation, plastering, and working at micro-vertebrate locations.

Chicago City Pass

Are you looking for things to do in Chicago? Do you want to save some money while doing so? If so, why don't you utilize the Chicago City Pass. With the City Pass, you are able to head over to 5 different city attractions the Field Museum, Skydeck Chicago and the Shedd Aquarium. For the other two attractions, you will be able to choose from either the Adler Planetarium or the Art Institute of Chicago and the John Hancock Observatory or the Museum of Science and Industry. Your city pass is active for nine days on the first day you utilize it and many places will let you skip ticket lines. If you purchase a city pass online, just trade your e-ticket for any booklet at your first attraction. Show this booklet at each placed you choose to visit. Whenever you do so, the staff of the attraction removes their ticket. Remember that, should you take out the ticket from the booklet, it will likely be invalid. Click here for more information on the Chicago City Pass.

Dave's Down to Earth Rock Shop
704 Main Street
Evanston, Illinois 60202
Phone: 847.866.7374

Dave's Down to Earth Rock Shop is not only a rock shop but also has a wonderful museum downstairs. The David and Sandra Douglass Prehistoric Life Museum is open to the public. It contains fossils from every geological time period going all the way back to Precambrian times some 3 billion years ago. Of special interest is the largest display of fossils from the famous Mazon Creek area here in Illinois, many of which Dave collected while growing up. There are also fossils from around the world, including a complete cave bear skeleton from France, small dinosaurs from China, Amber with insects from Mexico, trilobites from the United States and Canada, and fossil crabs from Italy. It's a wonderfully unique place to visit for both young and old, amateur and expert. With such an amazing variety of fossils, rocks, crystals and more, it's a great place to learn about, or just enjoy, the beauty of some of the most amazing treasures the Earth holds. Truly one of the hidden gems of the Chicago area!

Field Museum of Natural History
1400 S Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, Illinois 60605
Phone: 312.922.9410

There is a lot to see and do at the Field Museum. The museum has four main divisions of collections: Meteorites/Gems and Minerals, Paleobotany, Invertebrate Paleontology, and Vertebrate Paleontology. The Field Museum's collections of fossils and meteorites are world renowned, drawing researchers from around the globe to study them. The meteorite collection is the largest collection in a private institution and the fifth largest in the world. The mineral collection showcases minerals in their natural state. The lapidary art collection includes objects that are carved from minerals. The museum's rock collection contains examples of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. The gem collection contains loose, faceted stones, precious metals as well as the jewelry. Collected over the last 100 years or so, the paleontological collections rank among the world's ten largest and include millions of individual fossilized organisms. The Mazon Creek invertebrate collection totals over 40,000 specimens, one of the most comprehensive collections in the world of this unique Middle Pennsylvanian aged fossil fauna. It is possible to wander through four billion years of life on this planet walking through the Evolving Planet exhibit. While you are visiting, don't forget to say, "Hello!" to Sue. The largest, most complete, and best preserved Tyrannosaurus Rex from the Late Cretaceous Period ever discovered. Virtually all parts of SUE's skeleton are preserved in great detail—even the surface of her bones. Scientists can actually see where muscles, tendons, and ligaments once attached. If you are bringing the kids, ask about special kid-friendly programming available on the day of your visit. Have you seen movie or read the book "Night at the Museum"? Well, grab the kids & your sleeping bags for "Dozin' with the Dinos"! Spend a night at the museum filled with family workshops, self-guided tours and fun activities; then spread your sleeping bag amidst some of the most popular exhibitions. This program is held Friday nights January-May 2014. During your visit, don't forget to visit one of the many gift shops including Rockology or the Sue Store. With so much to discover and do here, boredom should never be a problem.

Fryxell Geology Museum
Augustana College
639 38th Street
Rock Island, IL 61201-2296
Phone: 309.794.7369

Fryxell Geology Museum can be found in Swenson Hall of Science on the grounds of Augustana College. The museum, named after Dr. Fritiof Fryxell, has become one of the largest and finest collections of rocks, minerals and fossils in the Midwest & the second largest in Illinois. Begun in the late 1880s with a modest natural history collection, the museum now boasts over 1,500 rock, mineral, and fossil specimens. On display are a complete skeleton of a Tylosaurus "sea serpent", skulls of Parasaurolophus, Ankylosaurus, Apatosaurus, Allosaurus and Tyrannosaurus rex and a 2-billion-year-old fossil! Of particular interest is a state-of-the-art fluorescent mineral display and an exhibit of a complete 22-foot long Cryolophosaurus skeleton, a large crested carnivorous dinosaur discovered in Antarctica in 1991 by Augustana paleontologist Dr. William Hammer.

Funk Gem & Mineral Museum
10875 Prairie Home Lane
Shirley, Illinois 61772
Phone: 309.827.6792

The restored 1864 residence of Illinois State Senator, co-founder and director of Chicago's Union Stockyards, and cattle-king of Illinois, Lafayette Funk, includes historic memorabilia and antiques of the Funk Family. Hear an original working Victrola, see the first-ever electric kitchen island. Other luxuries include hot and cold running water, a formal garden with water fountain and colored lights and a lighted tennis court on the lawn. The Gem & Mineral Museum features the Hall of Gems & Minerals with its dazzling display of many rare and beautiful stones and the Indian artifact room with early examples of Native American culture. Reservations required.

Illinois State Museum
502 South Spring Street
Springfield, IL
Phone: 217.782.7386

The Illinois State Museum promotes discovery, learning, and an appreciation of Illinois' natural, cultural, and artistic heritage. The Museum's extensive collections and research activities provide the foundation for exhibitions and public programs that tell the story of the land, life, people, and art of Illinois. The Illinois State Museum is headquartered in Springfield with branch facilities throughout the state. Admission is FREE at all Illinois State Museum sites.

The American Fluorite Museum
Main Street
P.O. Box 755
Rosiclare, Illinois 62982
Phone: 618.285.3513

If you're a fan of fluorite, or for that matter fantastic mineral specimens, you should really make a point of stopping in and seeing this museum. The American Fluorite Museum is located in the former office building of the Rosiclare Lead and Fluorspar Mining Company in downtown Rosiclare, Illinois, in the heart of the Southern Illinois - Western Kentucky Fluorite District, once the largest fluorspar mining area in the United States. The Museum features numerous items representing the fluorspar mining industry, which have been donated by interested citizens, including ore specimens, mining paraphernalia and photographs. The museum is currently open on a seasonal basis, from March to December.

University Museum
Southern Illinois University - Carbondale
1000 Faner Drive- MC 4508
Carbondale, Illinois 62901
Phone: 618.453.5388

The University Museum is the only encyclopedic museum in southern Illinois. Programs provide SIUC's students, faculty and staff, and the people of southern Illinois with a rich and varied educational experience. As a general museum, the collections cover more than one interest area. The arts, sciences and humanities are represented within these collections. The University Museum has a science collection with over 26,000 geological specimens. The George Fraunfelter Geology Collection - includes museum-quality specimens in paleobotany, paleonotology and geology. The George Fraunfelter Library boasts a 1,500+ volume geology resource library.


Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum
General Research Laboratory (GRL) Building
1310 Maple Street
Golden, CO 80401
Phone: 303.273.3815

The Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, home to one of the state's two Goodwill moon rocks collected during the Apollo 17 mission, was started in 1874 and displays mineral, fossil, gemstone, meteorite and historic mining artifact exhibits on two floors. The museum serves as the state repository for Colorado's mineral heritage and promotes its importance and understanding to the university community and the public. It aims to inspire scientific curiosity through education and research while encouraging appreciation of the earth and responsibility for its mineral, fossil, meteorite and historic mining treasures. The main floor exhibits feature specimens from many Colorado mining districts, other global localities and an introductory video on area geology. The Special Exhibit Room hosts prominent precious metal and invited displays. The main gallery also showcases historic mining murals by Irwin Hoffman. The basement contains numerous exhibits regarding radioactivity, fossils, basic geology, gemstones, meteorites, ultraviolet minerals and underground mining illumination. The outdoor geologic trail features seven outcrops with various geologic and paleontological points of interest, including fossilized dinosaur tracks, logs and leaves. The Mines Geology Museum Gift Shop is on the lower level of the building. The shop features surplus mineral specimens, lapidary materials and equipment, fossils, books, fluorescent minerals, starter kits and related materials.


Pu`u Loa Petroglyph Field
Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park
on the Island of Hawaii

Pu`u Loa translates as the "long hill" or "Hill-(of)-long-(life)" from Hawaiian. It is a sacred place to the people of Hawai`i, and those of Kalapana in particular. Located in the ahupua`a (an ancient Hawaiian land division) of Panau Nui on the southern flank of Kilauea volcano, Pu`u Loa is a vast area covered with an incredible number of petroglyphs pecked in the harden lava. If you want to read more about this place, I am referring you to Geo Junior Earth Eagle's award winning article describing this sacred ground. Click here to read it.


Falls of the Ohio State Park
201 West Riverside Drive
Clarksville, IN 47129
Phone: 812.280.9970

This place is a must visit. If you can't get there, visit them online at the link above. There is something for everyone at every age level & level of expertise. The Falls of the Ohio State Park is located on the banks of the Ohio River in Clarksville, Indiana. The 390-million-year-old fossil beds are among the largest, naturally exposed, Devonian fossil beds in the world. The park features a spectacular Interpretive Center overlooking the fossil beds containing an exhibit gallery and video presentation. Fishing, hiking, fossil viewing, bird watching, and picnicking are among the most common activities. While fossil and rock collecting is prohibited by both federal and state law to protect the resources for future generations, the park staff encourages visitors to explore and discover the many different types of fossils that can be found on the ancient sea floor. You can visit their collecting piles or gift shop if you really need a souvenir. The Discovery Center provides details about the park's natural and cultural resources - archaeology, birding, flora, fossils, George Rogers Clark and Lewis and Clark are featured. August through mid November typically provides the best accessibility to the 220 acres of fossil beds, as the river is at its lowest level during this period. Be sure to check out the current events and programs at the park. These programs are constantly changing with a wide range of subject matter. (I, myself, am thinking about moving in!)

Indiana State Museum
650 W. Washington Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Phone: 317.232.1637

Uncover Indiana's secrets at this world-class institution, where you find a hands-on overview of the best Indiana has to offer. Constructed completely from Indiana materials including limestone, sandstone, steel, brick and glass, the building itself is a work of art. Discover icons representing each of Indiana's 92 counties on the exterior, then step inside to explore Indiana's past, present and future through scientific, cultural, historical and art exhibits.


The Mineral Museum of Michigan
A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum

1404 E. Sharon Avenue
Houghton, Michigan 49931
Phone: 906.487.2572

The museum features the world's best collection of crystallized native copper and native copper in crystallized calcite. Among the specimens on display are numerous examples of the finest specimen of an individual mineral species. The finest collection of North American celestite and native sulfur. Special exhibits include native silver, datolite, Lake Superior agates and greenstones (chlorastrolite- the gemstone of the state of Michigan). A well represented suite of worldwide mineral are also on display.

OpenSouth Dakota

Black Hills Institute of Geological Research, Inc.
117 Main Street
Hill City, SD 57745
Phone: 605.574.3919

The Museum at Black Hills Institute is a modest but incredible natural history museum. Natural history enthusiasts can rest assured; you will find something unique in this treasure trove of amazing dinosaurs, fossils, minerals and collectibles from all over the world. The intriguing nature of the Museum's specimens stems from the founding geologists' passion to collect items they love and to share them with as many people as possible. Over the past several decades they have inspired many people with this same love of natural history. We sincerely hope if you are not a natural history fan when you arrive... you will be by the time you leave!

Museum of Geology
South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
Third floor of the O'Harra Building
501 E. St. Joseph Street
Rapid City, South Dakota 57701
Phone: 605.394.2467

The Museum has been collecting and displaying new specimens since 1885. See their fascinating mounted skeletons of dinosaurs, mammals, marine reptiles, and fish! Dozens of rare fossils from the White River Badlands are arranged in time-specific dioramas. Their mineral displays include the Hall of South Dakota Minerals, meteorites, and a fluorescent mineral room that's sure to fascinate. See unique specimens from as far away as Antarctica. Admission is FREE! Donations are always appreciated. Guided tours are available for groups, please call ahead to schedule a tour.


Milwaukee Public Museum
1800 W. Wells Street
Milwaukee, WI 53233
Phone: 414.278.2728

A day spent at MPM is guaranteed fun. Adventures await you around every corner! They've got everything you need to make a day of it — from convenient parking, to a great little cafe, to a marketplace filled with unique items and gifts from around the world. Catch a 3D film in the Dome Theater, visit your favorite of our famous dioramas, or experience something new by visiting a world-class traveling exhibition.

UW Geology Museum
1215 West Dayton Street
Madison, WI 53706
Phone: 608.262.1412

Explore the Geology Museum and take a peek into Wisconsin's deep history! On your visit you can touch rocks from a time when there were volcanoes in Wisconsin; see corals, jellyfish and other sea creatures that used to live and swim where we now walk; and stand under the tusks of a mastodon while imagining yourself in the Ice Age. Also on display at the Geology Museum are rocks and minerals that glow, a model of a Wisconsin cave, dinosaurs and meteorites.