Saturday, August 15, 2009

Crater of Diamonds State Park, Arkansas

The Crater of Diamonds State Park is a fun place to take a trip with the family. It's located just outside of Murfreesboro, AR - about 45 minutes north of Hope off I-30.

The crater is actually the site of an old commercial diamond mining operation. There aren't enough diamonds to make commercial mining profitable, but there are enough there to let tourists dig them up. According to their web site, just about a diamond a day is found there.

To search for diamonds, you can simply walk around the site. People (often children - perhaps because they're lower to the ground) find stones that way. You may also bring tools to dig with and search through the dirt and clay. The people working there are very helpful and will assist you in determining whether your find is a diamond or just a pretty rock. Their web site also has a lot of good information.
There is a restaurant, small water park and camping on site. The fee to the search area is just $7.00.

I recommend checking it out.

And just when you think the geek takes a vacation from technology:
Heading home we had some fun with Google Maps and the GPS unit on my phone. We used Google maps to plot our trip home and it found us the most direct route: down the dirt roads between the park and Hope, AR. It may not have been the most "modern" road, but it did get us where we wanted to go:
At one point we forded a low water crossing. While I could complain about the route, it was a nice, little adventure. What impressed me most was the comprehensiveness of Google Maps. I would think you'd have to purchase a pretty detailed map in order to see these roads.

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