If your family is looking for a “rockin’ good time”, add the Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum to your list of fun and informative gems in our very own backyard. Probably not well-known in the landscape of cheap-things-to-do-with-the-family, the Museum in Golden opened in 1874. And is definitely worth checking off your list of “been there, done that” for Colorado attractions. It’s a rocky experience, but in the best possible way!
The Museum is definitely a gem, often overlooked. Locals and tourists alike will find the experience sparkly, fun and informative and all at no-cost. It has two floors displaying fossils, gemstones, meteorites, minerals and mining artifacts.
It also acts as the Colorado state repository for mineral heritage and promotes its importance and understanding to both the academic world and public.
The variation of colors, sizes and shapes of the rocks and minerals on display almost makes you feel like you’re at an art museum — nature’s art! The rocks definitely incite many “oohs and aahs” from visitors, as well as lots of camera clicks.
Everyone will especially love the ultraviolet fluorescent minerals. It’s absolutely amazing.
You can learn about the creation and evolution of rocks and minerals through various displays, including a 7-minute video “Golden Through Geologic Time.” Let’s just say rocks, gems and minerals don’t happen overnight. They even have specimens from millions of years ago on display.
Even more astonishing, you can even see a moon rock up-close. Plus, expand your knowledge and history of mining. Who knew mining artifacts could be so interesting? The display of old mining lanterns is quite illuminating. (There are just too many possible puns, right?)
For most families, the smaller museum will probably take an hour or so to fully experience. Plus, the gift shop offers an assortment of t-shirt, books and rocks — starting at just $1 for “starter” pieces for the beginning collector.
We even noticed a rack of FREE books, journals and pamphlets about rocks and minerals for the true rock enthusiast at the entrance. All of it very academic, so don’t expect much else.
If you’re a true rock collector, you’ll definitely want to shop the high-end rock and minerals in the gift shop for sale.
Admission is FREE. The Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Be warned, parking is a rocky experience. It’s difficult to find street parking, as it’s located on a college campus and many parking spots require a permit. The museum has only a total of ten visitor parking spots.
Note, you must pay to obtain a receipt from one of the parking kiosks and place it on your dashboard to ensure you are not issued a ticket, even if you require a handicap parking space. The parking rate is $1.50 per hour. For more details about parking, click here.
Guided tours are available for schools, groups or families. You need to make reservations by phone with a one-week minimum notice. Call 303-273-3815 for more information, including rates and availability.
The experience is well worth the trip, especially when you combine the visit with other sites and shops in Golden. Hey, the MillerCoors Brewing Company is nearby! Plus, admission is FREE to the Golden History Museum (in 2019) and Golden History Park every day.)
A trip to Golden can definitely make for a fun weekend adventure for families, no matter the season — so much to see and do.
Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, 1310 Maple St., Golden, 303-273-3815.
Open daily. Closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. May be closed during the university’s winter break. Call 303-273-3815 to confirm that the Museum is open on other days.
Monday to Saturday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sunday: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.