Tulsa Rock and Mineral Society’s Annual Rock, Gem, Mineral and Jewelry Show
Joss and I attended Tulsa Rock and Mineral Society’s Rock, Gem, Mineral and Jewelry Show in 2019. He got a good start on his rock collection back then. After the show, my mom and step-dad brought him a lovely wooden box to store his rocks in. This past semester at school, he came home with rocks dragging his pockets toward the ground almost daily. So the box is overflowing and needs to be organized, but sufficient to say – Joss is an avid rock collector! I believe last year’s event was canceled, so we were excited for the chance to make our return!
The Rock, Gem, Mineral and Jewelry Show is held annually in July at Expo Square over a Saturday/Sunday weekend. Admission this year was just $6 for adults; kids 12 and under get in free. Once you’re inside, there are lots of fun activities for kids and affordable ways to build up their rock collections! I’ll share our favorites below.
1. Rock Petting Zoo
The first thing we saw upon entrance was the rock and mineral “petting zoo.” It immediately gives kids an idea of just how varied rocks are, in terms of shape, texture, weight, etc. We saw sparkly quartz, a ridged fossil and even got to pick up a giant – but surprisingly light! – chunk of pumice.
2. Fluorescent Room
Joss insisted on heading to the fluorescent room as soon as we were done touching the rocks. So pretty! There are TRMS members at every table ready to answer questions about what you’re seeing, too. So when we were advised to check out the glow-in-the-dark rocks, of course we had to do that!
3. Grab Bags and Spinning Wheel
For just 50 cents, you can spin a wheel and take home a cool rock or mineral! For $1, take home a grab bag full of carefully labeled rocks. You can tell that this whole production is a labor of love. The grab bags are hand-sewn, and someone took a lot of time to label all the rocks and bag them up appropriately. At just $1, it’s a steal! We ended up with lapis lazuli, red jasper, green soapstone, and more.
In between the wheel and grab bags, visitors can pick up a lucky buckeye for free! Keep it, or plant it in your backyard 🙂
4. Kids Zone
All those kid friendly activities, and I haven’t even told you about the Kids Zone yet! Activities this year included: make and paint your own fossil, coloring pages, and dig for your own fossil.
They also offered lots of educational literature and activities to take home.
5. Live Demos
This was Joss’s favorite part: Watching the rock polishing! We got to watch a man polish a rock from start to finish. Joss was fascinated! We found out that the fancy rock polishing machine costs about $2,000, and the process takes about 30 minutes. He even let Joss take home the finished product, which was so nice!
Later, we watched a woman polishing amber with wet/dry sandpaper and baking soda. This method is much more time consuming, but at a fraction of the cost. It would be fun to try at home!
Also in this section, they had machines where kids were invited to cut and polish their own rocks. I was a little nervous about the rock-cutting saw, as was Joss. However, the man told Joss he was welcome to put his hands on top of his as a safer compromise. The machine was so loud, that by the time the rock was cut through, Joss’s hands had migrated up to the man’s elbows, haha.
Polishing the rocks was more his speed
Of course, you can shop, too! What’s nice is that you can buy anything from small rocks for less than a dollar to large pieces worth hundreds, and of course, jewelry as well. So there are a ton of options for any price range.
I don’t think this was for sale – it might have been part of the silent auction.
7. Display Cases
Last but not least, there are some pretty fascinating displays to see! I especially enjoyed the one where the rocks looked like food. In another, the rocks were arranged to look like landscape paintings – just beautiful! And again, it’s just neat to see what people are passionate about and to learn from them about something you know very little about!
Tulsa Rock and Mineral Society
Although the 2021 show is over, TRMS has programming for kids all year long. According to their website, the club meets on the second Monday of each month at College Hill Presbyterian Church. Chaperoned kids are welcome. However, prior to the main meeting, at 6:15 p.m., kids can attend a special program just for them and earn badges for the Future Rockhounds of America Program. Learn more at tulsarockandmineralsociety.org/kid-zone. They also have links to additional resources like activity pages, etc.
Club dues are just $12 per year, or $15 for a family, payable January 1. New members joining after July 1 may receive reduced dues for the year. I believe they were offering discounts at the Rock & Mineral Show as well. https://tulsarockandmineralsociety.org/about