In January of 2022, we planned a trip to Galveston, Texas. I don’t know about you, but on a road trip, we love a good pit stop!
Stopping at fun places on a road trip is essential for us when road-tripping with kids. They’ve been such great travelers, and I’m 100 percent sure this is a big reason for that.
My husband Mike’s favorite way to find fun things to do along the route on our travels is to plug our destination into Google Maps, click on “Things to Do” and it easily shows us the stops along the way.
In this case, Crater of Diamonds State Park wasn’t too far off our route!
Crater of Diamonds is in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. It made a good halfway point between Southern Illinois and Galveston, TX.
What is there to do at Crater of Diamonds?
The main thing to do at Crater of Diamonds is to look for diamonds!! As their website says, “Crater of Diamonds State Park is one of the only diamond-producing sites in the world where the public can search for diamonds in their original volcanic source.” And any diamond you find, you can keep!!!
The best part is that it’s not even really rare to find a diamond! They’re found frequently here. You can keep up with recent finds on their Latest Finds list. It’s definitely not every day that a big diamond is found, but it would still be amazing to find one of any size, right?
Other than digging for diamonds, they have a few short, easy trails you can walk. One of them leads to a wildlife observation blind, where you can hope to catch a view of animals such as deer, armadillos, or turkeys.
One of the coolest things, other than looking for diamonds, is that there’s a water park right there on the property, but since we were there during winter, it was closed for the season.
Digging for diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park
We came here solely to dig for diamonds.
We started by entering through the Diamond Discovery Center. Here, we looked around the little museum and learned about the history of the place.
It’s also important here to look at the examples of diamonds that have been found because they can be tiny – the average size of a diamond is the about size of a match head. Also, they aren’t always white. They can be brown or yellow as well.
We learned that we were looking for something smooth, somewhat translucent, with rounded off edges.
If you’re unsure of your finds, keep them! The staff will identify your finds for free. Other than diamonds, you can find quartz (what we mostly found), jasper, amethyst, and garnet.
What should you bring to Crater of Diamonds?
To be clear, you don’t need to bring any specific tools to search for diamonds. You can go out and just walk around looking for diamonds lying on top of the earth. If you do want to dig, and you didn’t bring anything, tools are available for rent.
We brought with us a 5-gallon bucket, 2 shovels, a pick axe, a couple of drinks and snacks, and a dolly cart to wheel it all in on. We also bought a sifting screen to bring along.
In the gift shop, they had a little garden shovel & trowel set. Our son, Mason, asked if he could get it and we did end up buying it. That was such a good idea. It really kept the kids more entertained. They could just sit and dig and play in the dirt, while Mike and I did the more serious searching!
Where is the best place to dig at Crater of Diamonds?
You can dig basically anywhere in the 37.5-acre field.
Periodically, they will plow the field and turn over new soil. We were told that a good place to look is around the areas that have been plowed most recently.
When we were visiting, they unfortunately hadn’t plowed any of the fields super recently. We chose this area seen above and focused on looking mostly in the valleys of the plow marks, where diamonds would fall into after being plowed up (well, we hoped, anyway!)
Sifting for Diamonds
Instead of just sitting and sifting through the soil right there, we ended up filling our bucket from the trenches and wheeling it over to the sifting tables.
Since it was winter, the water was freezing! We actually had to break ice off the top of the water before sifting!
Mason really wanted to sift (because what kid doesn’t want to play in a water table?) but it was just too cold and making our fingers numb. Mike ended up doing all of our sifting. One thing we really wished we had were some of those long, waterproof dishwashing gloves.
Can I take dirt home from Crater of Diamonds?
We didn’t end up finding anything while we were visiting. But one of the awesome things about Crater of Diamonds State Park is that you can take home soil to sift through later!
The rule is that you can take 5 gallons per person per day. We only ended up bringing home one 5-gallon bucket, because for one thing, that’s the only bucket we brought, and for another, we didn’t want to haul around a bunch of buckets of dirt the rest of our trip!
It was fun to know that when we got home, we would have a bucket of dirt to sift through, with a possible diamond in it!
Pricing for Crater of Diamonds State Park
The fees to search for diamonds are $10 per adult and $6 per child 6-12 years old. Children 5 and under are free. (Pricing accurate as of September 2022.)
There are also tools and equipment available for rent, and you can find those prices here on their website.
I had never even heard of this Arkansas state park until my husband found it and suggested we make it a stop on our longer trip. I’m so glad we did! It was such an awesome experience!
I would 100 percent suggest a visit to this unique state park!
Oh, and in case you were wondering, we didn’t find a diamond, but we still have about 1/4th of a bucket to sift through, so you never know!!!
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