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| by KATE POCOCK|
Family Travel Ink
Adventure: Rockhounding in Arkansas at Crater of Diamonds State Park
You can dig for diamonds and keep what you find!
Route 1, box 364 Murfreesboro, AR 71958 (501)285-3113
Crater of Diamonds State Park offers you a one-of-a-kind adventure, the chance to hunt for and keep real diamonds. You'll search a 35-acre field (the eroded surface of an ancient volcanic pipe). It's the world's only diamond site open to the public. Prospectors access the field through the park visitor center which includes exhibits and a A/V program explaining the area's geology and tips on recognizing diamonds in the rough.
Diamonds were first discovered here in 1906, and since then over 70,000 have been found including the 40.23 carat "Uncle Sam", the 16.37 carat "Amarillo Starlight" (largest white diamond yet found by a Texas visitor in 1975), and the 15.33 carat "Star of Arkansas." Since Crater became a park in 1972, over 3,500 carats have been carried home by visitors. Amethyst, garnet, jasper, opal, agate, quartz and more are found at Crater. Digging tools are available for rent. Free identification and certification of diamonds are provided by park interpreters.
According to an Associated Press story, a local Arkansas man named Gary Dunlap recently found a 2.37-carat white diamond in the park. It was his first find in more than ten visits. He named it the "Star of Thelma" in honor of his wife, Thelma. Dunlap's find was the fourth largest diamond found during 2006 at the Crater of Diamonds State Park. Some 486 diamonds were found last year in the park.
The park offers campsites, picnic sites, a short-order restaurant, laundry, gift shop, trail, guided walks, and interpretive programs. Also there are dump sites, rest room, hot showers, and a laundry.
The park is two miles southeast of Murfreesboro on Ark. 301.
Camping (60 with w/e hookups
Class A (w/e)....................................$13.50/day
Admission to Mine area/day
Adult-$4.50 each; Child (6-12) $2.00 each
Group Rates (15 or more with advance notice) 1/2 above fees.
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