Mining at Crater of Diamonds State Park
Since the opening of the park in 1976, there have been some spectacular finds, including the Kahn Canary Diamond and more recently, the 6.35 carat brown Roden Diamond in 2006. The evening that we got to the park, it was almost time for the mine to close. We watched some demonstration videos in the visitor’s center that explain the various methods used to find diamonds at the mine, mainly surface mining, dry and wet sifting. Don’t be fooled by the word mine, the area that you “mine” in is more akin to a plowed wheat field than what you would think of as a traditional mine, but there is plenty of space for everyone to hunt for diamonds of their own.
The next morning we got up bright and early so that we could be at the diamond mine when it opened at 8:00 am. Prices to get into the mine are $8 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12 per day. You can rent a variety of equipment from the diamond mine, including box screens for dry sifting and a basic kit for wet sifting. Prices range, but the basic kit with a bucket, screen set and small shovel is only $10 for the day, and 2-4 people can work from it.
Once into the mine, the boys headed off to the covered pavilions with deep troughs set up for wet sifting, which is a lot like gem mining if you have ever done it. There are also benches in these areas and water fountains. Restrooms are located up by the main building.
The boys and I spent about 8 hours out in the diamond mine on our visit, and while we did not find any diamonds, there was recently a diamond over 2 carats found the end of last month. We did find calcite, volcanic rock, jasper and some quartz crystal. The experience alone was exhilarating and we are already talking about when we can head back.
Beginning on Memorial Day, there is Diamond Springs Water Park with a large pool and slides available for a fee too, which would be a wonderful reprieve after a day of searching for diamonds in the sun. Basic necessities and souvenirs can be purchased in the visitor’s center too.
In addition to mining for diamonds, some other activities are available. Fishing, wildlife viewing through the park’s wildlife blind and trails are available for use to supplement your fun in the diamond mine.
Camping at Crater of Diamonds State Park
If you want to make an overnight, weekend or even a week long stop at the Crater of Diamonds State Park, they have a great campground on property. Campsites are available for both those in a tent and in RV’s with full-hookups and some separate walk in tent camping spaces as well. Each site comes with a lantern post, picnic table and fire ring.
The bathrooms here were very clean during our stay, and there are two free showers in each bathhouse too. Laundry is available at a very reasonable fee, which is a huge plus for us, as we did out first laundry of the trip here. There is free wifi at the campground, but only sites very near to the bathhouse are likely to pick it up. Campsites for tents with no hook-ups are $12 a night, and campsites with hook-ups are $32 per night.
If you would like to start planning your visit, summer is a great time to take your mining adventure. Visit Crater of Diamonds State Park website for more information or Arkansas.com to see what else the state of Arkansas has to offer.