The Colburn Earth Science Museum is small in size but big on the rich treasures of our Earth. It's located in Pack Place in the middle of downtown Asheville, on the lower lever underneath the Asheville Art Museum. Enter from Biltmore Avenue, using the breezeway next to the ice cream shop. It's fun for all ages.
In their Hall of Minerals, see specimens from around the world, including 350 minerals found in North Carolina such as kyanite, quartz, corundum, beryl, mica, feldspar and itacolumite, the bending rock.
In the Grove Stone Room, explore the geology of North Carolina and the entire Earth. The exhibits cover volcanoes, earthquakes, plate tectonics and general geologic processes, including those that formed the mountains of Western North Carolina.
Learn about the rich history of North Carolina mining with a great collection of artifacts and historic photos, including the activities of prehistoric Native Americans, Spanish explorers and 20th-century Western North Carolinians. North Carolina was the first major producer of gold in the United States. Explore a replica of a gem mine, complete with a pretend dynamite charge and gem pockets.
The museum’s gem collection includes more than 1,000 cut gemstones from around the world, including specimens from North Carolina. Garnet, morganite, diamond, emerald, ruby, sapphire, hiddenite, stibiotantalite, tourmaline and topaz are just some of the breathtaking gemstones on display.
Explore meteorology and climatology at their weather exhibit. Learn about weather events and patterns in Western North Carolina and the Southeastern United States. The Colburn is working to create a permanent paleontology exhibit. Currently, the museum has on display a handful of fossils from the museum’s collection of more than 500 fossil specimens. These include teeth from a mastodon and a wooly mammoth, a large trilobite and a glossopteris fern fossil.
In their Crystal Pocket gift shop (you don't have to buy a ticket to shop!), find affordable mineral and fossil specimens, books, gemstone jewelry, earth science related toys, and a variety of science-related educational items. Geodes bought at The Crystal Pocket can be cracked in half by the Colburn team while you watch.
Their Kid’s Night at the Museum allows parents to leave their children (grades K-4) for four hours on Friday evening once a month for activities, games, crafts, dinner, and hands-on science lessons. Parents can then have a romantic evening downtown!
Colburn Earth Science Museum is open Tuesday–Saturday, 10 AM to 5 PM and Sunday, 1 to 5 PM. Admission is $6 adults and $5 seniors, students, children. For more, visit their Web site.