While on my most recent trip to New Mexico I had to stop at the Mineral Museum in Socorro.
If you haven’t heard I am WITCHY AS FUCK so this museum was right up my alley. I was staying with brother & sister-in-law, and my 11 year old nephew. He wants to be an archaeologist or a geologist when he grows up! He’s the coolest. So I thought it would be an activity that we both could enjoy.
Honestly, I could have spent hours here. There are rows & rows of cases and cabinets, and even some huge specimens out in the open that you can touch!
My nephew, on the other hand, was pretty bored here after about 20 minutes. It might be fun for an older kid, or with some kind of reference book. But for the low low price of FREE this was well worth the visit.
This place is something to behold! It is on the campus of the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. According to their website, the museum began way back in 1889 at the New Mexico School of Mines. Unfortunately the award-winning original collection of mineral specimens was lost in a fire in 1928. The museum now has over 5,000 specimens on display, and even more in storage!
I enjoyed the mining artifacts throughout the displays.
My favorite part was the black light room of fluorescent specimens! There is a light switch so you can switch from regular to black light and see the reactive minerals.
I know what you’re thinking… but Heather.. can you BUY the pretty rocks?? Of course you can! There are some big cases in the front of the museum with many mineral specimens at every price range, starting at one single dollar. So of course I BOUGHT SOME ROCKS. There was also a souvenir shop across the hall where I bought my nephew an educational keepsake. (OK it was a stuffed mastodon, and he carried it with us for the rest of our trip.)
While we were in Socorro I wanted to see some sites listed on Roadside America. A piece of Jumbo was a few minutes’ drive from the museum. This monument was a huge let down, mostly because I didn’t read what it actually was before I agreed to stop and see it. Jumbo was part of the shell that was designed to be around the world’s first nuclear explosion, but ended up not serving its original purpose. The war memorial nearby was more interesting.
I also saw the Recycled Parts Flying Saucer. The whole state of New Mexico really appropriates the alien imagery from Roswell, which is a 3 hour drive from Socorro, for the record. Of the 50 states, New Mexico has the 8th most UFO sightings so hey, why not. I enjoyed spotting them along the roadside on both of my trips to the state.
I really wanted to see the Very Large Array while I was there, but it was in one of the more spread out configurations that’s less exciting to see. Instead we drove back down to Truth or Consequences to see the Geronimo Springs Museum, and then to Hatch to have dinner at Sparky’s. To say this was a long day would be an understatement.
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If you’d like to read about my entire 2019 trip to New Mexico, check out these posts:
- La Paloma Hot Springs, Truth or Consequences, NM
- I Went to the Desert & All I Bought Was ROCKS
- ABQ Zoo
- Riverbend Hot Springs, Truth or Consequences, NM
- Ghost Town of Chloride, NM Travel Guide
- Blackstone Hotsprings: Truth or Consequences, NM
- Mineral Museum, Socorro, NM (that’s this one!)
- Geronimo Springs Museum, Truth or Consequences, NM