Walk along the Nature Trail and pause to read the Trail Guide at each point of interest. Moving at a leisurely pace, you begin to see the story of the Mississippi Petrified Forest unfold. Seeing all of the natural beauty surrounding the Trail, and hearing the sounds of nature, you will always be near to the huge logs that lie right next to the trail, some close enough to touch -- to feel the rugged roughness of stone beneath your fingers where there was once bark and wood - a living tree.
The most photographed log is the "Caveman's Bench," which lies right on the Forest Trail just where the eroding sands had placed it. Everyone tries it out for size, and it is a favorite spot for taking pictures. In the old piece of canyon wall beside the Bench are a number of log sections still embedded, which were once all part of the same huge tree.
The huge stone logs give us a glimpse into prehistoric time. What a primeval forest there must have been when these stone logs were living trees. What tremendous trees they must have been, some with trunks that may have measured twelve to fifteen feet across, their towering branches cresting a hundred or more feet into the sky. How few living trees there are today that can match the magnificence of these stone logs, giants of their own time and gigantic to us today.
The Earth Science Museum contains a large map with examples of petrified wood found in every state, and foreign petrified wood is represented as well. Plant life through the ages is shown by a variety of leaves, fruits, cones and bark. There are also fossil woods identified as to species. Many other kinds of fossils are on display - dinosaur footprints, whale bones, turtle shells, and many others -- even a complete cast of a prehistoric camel.
Gem Mining Flume
Gem fluming is a fun and rewarding experience you can enjoy on our rock patio. Playing in the water, finding a gem - that's what "fluming" is. Start with a bag of "mine muck", the real term for rocks out of the mines. Wash and screen it, watch for real gems - you keep what you find! This is a great way to start a rock collection while learning the identifications of numerous gems and minerals. Flume bags can be purchased in the gift shop for $4.00+tax.
The campground features 11 full hook-up RV camp sites with water, sewer and electric (20, 30 and 50 AMP service) and a tent camping area that includes 4 sites with water and electricity. This is a secluded wooded area offering peace and quiet in a wonderful natural setting. Showers and restrooms are located in the campground area as well as a dump station. Future plans include an expansion with additional sites to accommodate larger RVs.
Our newest addition is a large covered pavilion with lights, water and electricity. This approximately 30’ X 60’ structure is available for rent for activities such as family gatherings, company picnics, birthday parties, weddings or any special event and can accommodate groups up to 200 or more people. Our park area is amazingly beautiful and provides a perfect environment for special gatherings. Groups of 15 or more are eligible for a special group rate to see the Petrified Forest. Contact us for details.
Be sure to visit our gift shop where you can purchase a petrified wood souvenir to remember your journey through time. Our gift shop is filled with unique and unusual gem and mineral items from around the world and is also quite educational. Well known for a superb line of gemstone jewelry, much of it hand-made in the shop, you are sure to find the perfect accessory or gift here. Can’t make it to the gift shop just now? Check out our new online shopping and check back often as the merchandise changes regularly!