Destination that Teaches About the Earth

This 5,500 square foot museum is a part of the University of Wisconsin- Fox Valley, and is the official State Mineralogical Museum of Wisconsin. It is the only geology museum in the state and it explores the importance of Wisconsin's mining heritage and how it played a role in the history of the state. Featuring a variety of hands-on exhibits and interactive displays, the museum strives to share information about Wisconsin geology. There are also graphics, fossil specimens, minerals and rocks. Kids love the museum because it is like a giant outdoor playground filled with rocks and dirt. Galleries include A Walk through Geological Time where you can learn about the ocean, mountains, volcanoes and glaciers. There is also the Geology Basics section where people can move continents and create an earthquake. The Wisconsin Mining Heritage section allows visitors to stroll through a lead mine tunnel from the 19th century. There is also a Mineral Gallery and an Earth and Science Society wing where people can learn about the role rocks and minerals play in everyday life. There are changing exhibits in the museum as well, and every few months there are new displays at the museum.

The Weis museum is a popular destination for summer campers. Classes offered at the museum include Earth Explorer: Digging for Fun where kids get to grow crystals, eat a glacier, and erupt a volcano. There is also the Earth Investigator: Digging for Answers, Earth Citizen: Digging for Society, and Earth Analyst: Digging for Data. This program offers a geological fiend trip where student learn laboratory techniques, and get to display their discoveries. Camps run for three hours each day Monday through Friday and are taught by trained instructors. There is a low child to instructor ration and grade levels are approximate. On Thursday there is a family night that allows groups to engage in activities and enjoy a reception.

The museum features a gift shop that is a popular destination for visitors. The Stones and Stars Shop is open during the same hours as the museum. The shop features unique and unusual gifts that incorporate geology. Educational items are available, as well as posters, mineral and rocks, fossils, t-shirts, jewelry made from the gemstones visitors learn about, dinosaur models, and toys that spark a curiosity in geology. The Wonderful World of Agates is a DVD set you can purchase at the shop that allows you to relive many of the lessons provided by the museum.

Admission to the museum is $2.00 for adults, $1.50 for seniors, $1.50 for kids ages 3-13, and free for children under 13. University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley students and staff are always entitled to free admission just by showing their ID.

This museum is a great place to visit if you are interested in the geology of Wisconsin and the rest of the world. You will learn fascinating details about the development of the earth, and you will find a new appreciation for rocks and soil. The museum is a fun trip for the entire family.

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