Im wanting to take my kids geode hunting. What time of year and where is a good place to start? 3,5,7,9 year old kids. i hate to bore if we dont find any. Thanks Les
The very best place you can take them would be to Jacobs geode mine in Hamilton IL. There are geodes all over in the mine. It would be very easy to keep young kids interested here. The addy and number are:
Jacob's Geode Shop and Mine
823 East County Rd 1220
Hamilton, IL 62341
You can us MapTech.com for directions to this address, but you should also telephone ahead to Mr. Jacob's for the time and hours of operation and precise directions to his shop. Once you decide to go, you should bring a pick, shovel, prybars, hammers and chisels to extract geodes from the limestone strata. Mr. Jacob's only allows you to bust certain flattened geodes on the property, so you will have to fill 5-gallon buckets with unbroken ones to crack later. You pay by the bucket - around $20 per bucket if I recall correctly.
Jacobs Geodes is great. You don't really even need anything but a claw hammer (That's all we used the first time we were there - you can use the claw part of the hammer or any other type of rock pick to knock the clay away from an area and find your geodes) and a bucket to put them in.
Definitely be sure to call first to be sure he'll be there when you want to come.
couple of questions. Is this a good time of the year to geode hunt? And what are flattend geodes?
Anytime the ground is thawed enough to dig is a good time for geode hunting! In the middle of summer is not the greatest with bugs, heat and the shale layers dry out and get much harder to dig in. With all the rain we are having it should be ok as long as its not too muddy.
Jacobs has some geodes that are squished pretty flat and those are the ones they let you bust a few open to see it they are any good. Most of the flat ones are not that great but they are the ones that contain yellow and blue barite regularly. The others you have to take home and bust open there so if you get a few solid ones thats part of the learning process of how to tell hollow from solid. If you want some solids stop by my house before you go and I will give you plenty! Its funny that when you pick one up it feels so light then the next day when you wash it up it feels like its made of lead. HA!
I went on my first geode hunt last October. Bruce is right it is hard when you start looking to find light weight geodes. I just broke open 10 geodes from that trip. 6 were solid 4 were hollow. One had some really pretty yellow crystal. I still have a bucket of geodes. Some from the fox river. Bruce did you ever get any good ones from the Fox? I swear every single one of those I pick up is heavy as heck. And they are so thicked skin it is hard to break them. I even tried just wacking one with a sledge. I think they maybe all solid. I will get a angle grinder with diamond saw and try opening a few of the lighter ones. I know there are pretty ones from the River..I just haven't been lucky finding them. Did you have any luck? At the rock show I had them open up a few of my geodes. They told me which ones they thought were solid. This one guy traded me a small Orhoceras, Silurian fossile and stand for the 6 solid ones I had. I don't know why he wanted them but I was obliged to give them over. My rock garden is full of opened almost solid geodes. They are solid crystal and they still look pretty laying face up with the white crystal showing. I have to admit I did buy one mexican geode. Gosh is it beautiful. Perfect in shape and they way they broke it. Filled with deep dark crystal that are actually smokey but almost look purple and a secondary crystal formation on the side of it. It is really something. I have it and a couple of my really good geodes in stands on the fireplace. I don't know why but I am a sucker for geodes. So ugly on the outside and can be breath taking on the inside.
I didnt get anything good from the fox river hunt besides the geode that was stuck in that plate of shale. About all the others were solid or close to it. I still have some I have not tried to open because Im sure they are solid. I bet there are good ones in the river but I guess we just were not in the right spot for them. Wonder how James did with his batch from there?
Hey Sherry and Bruce,
James came away with mostly hollow ones and two were ones that Bruce threw to me that he didnt want. you kept the wrong ones buddy.
I didnt find out til a few days ago tho, been so busy here and working around the " mild winter " that we had so much of. now we are bailing twelve inches of water since Monday night, and I am so glad that we now have sunshine back. geez.
the prettiest ones I had from up there tho, were by and far the two basketball size ones from St Francisville Farm.
Hey! I knew those were hollow I just wanted you to have a atleast 2 good ones.
lol Really to me the hollow ones were not that great from the fox location.
James, were them big St.F geodes quartz crystals or did you end up with chalcedony as most of the large ones from there were. I remember the pictures you posted but thought what you posted pictured of were from kentucky.
Hey I appreciate that Bruce.
two were hollow with the prettiest pure white quartz crystals with some thick druse in them and one had those barrel shaped smokey white quartz crystals in them, some big thick crystals in them. the only chalcedony geodes I ever saw were the ones at Jacobs that one weekend up there, the one Dale found that was as big as a bowling ball and he split it into three pieces right there.
A Comment on Safety:
I would not encourage anyone to use a claw hammer on rocks. Although it sounds like the geodes are in soft clay, the geodes themeselves are hard. Most rock is hard enough that when hit by a carpenter's claw hammer the head of the hammer can flake off splinters. And those flying splinters are extremely dangerous. I have a scar on the back of my knee where a steel splinter cut through two pair of heavy trowsers before cutting into my leg.
Boy it sounds like a lot of fun. As soon as the water drops a little and the temp comes up i think my wife ,kids, and I are heading for southern Iowa. The kids are so excited.
we had a great time there! the owner is really a great guy. you wont get skunked here either, plenty to go around. literally sticking out of the clay in plain view! and the price is right! bring food and water you wont want to leave!
Hello a few friends and i are plannin to take another geode trip we went to shefflers last year and had a great time
my question is what do they charge at jacobs and is it easy to find
oops didnt read all the post my mistake
I agree with the others that Jacob's Geodes offered the most bang for the buck in Hamilton,Illinois.They were the easiest to dig out and they had a much higher percentage of hollows.Dennis Stevenson's were decent,but still did not produce nearly as many hollows as at Jacob's and the digging area where we were had lots of tree roots to deal with.My girlfriend also got some nasty poison ivy at Anderson's,but she gets it just by looking at the stuff.She actually burrowed under the creek bank so far that only her legs were sticking out of the hole.Mr. Stevenson even took a picture of this on his cellphone.(I didn't tell her about until we were in Indiana on our way home!)(I don't recommend her burrowing under the creek bank method as it is possible to have a fatal cave-in!)We also dug at Nick's Geodes which is also known as the Evan's Property in Hamilton,but the digging there was a bit harder and the geodes were mainly solid with many of the few hollows being not very attractive inside.Nick's/Evan's is also more expensive at $20.- per 5 gallon bucket where Jacob's and Stevenson's were $16.- per 5 gallon Bucket.
At Jacob's we were using gardening tools that have about a 5 foot handle with 4 or 5 five inch tines perpendicular to the handle.They sell them at Wal-mart.They were good for digging in the looser soil on top,but rock picks were the best tool in the gray clay layer where the less oxidized better geodes were to be found.Just be careful when using the pointed tip of the rock pick to dig as the most prized "paper-thin"shelled geodes will end up with unsightly "portholes" if you strike them.
This Fall we are planning on going geode "catching" in Missouri and Kentucky.
Keep on Geoding,
Oops,I meant that my girlfriend got the poison ivy at Stevenson's.Anderson's is a pretzel factory in Lancaster,Pennsylvania!You can't dig geodes at the pretzel place.
Keep on Pretzeling,
Found a random creek on the Illinois border and came away with more geodes than I know what to do with. Pretty fun! I may have to check out these digging pits though!
we live in southern il. Where would the closest place for us to find geodes? we would like to take our kids,while on vacation. Thanks
you are actually located in a unique spot, close to three locations for geodes. there are geodes in northwest Illinois, south central Indiana, and Kentucky just south and east of you.
In Illinois, geodes are routinely found up around Hamilton and Warsaw, Illinois, which is on the Mississippi River across from Keokuk, Iowa, and all the way down near Quincy, Illinois. There are some fee based sites on the Illinois side where you can go in and find geodes and pay for them by the bucket, there are also a few free areas where one can find them in creeks and city parks.
In Indiana, geodes are routinely found all over the place in areas south of Bloomington, in the Bedford and Heltonville areas, in creeks generally, in that area and south. I have gone to the Heltonville area and found literally thousands of geodes in creekbeds in the area. They look like spuds on the outside and area quite pretty when cracked open on the inside.
From western Kentucky around Land Between The Lakes to central Kentucky, one can find geodes in creekbeds and fields. They are more plentiful around Lake Cumberland and areas just north of there. I have been to several small towns in the areas to the north of there, Eubank, Stanford, Danville, Lancaster, and found geodes all over the place in fields and creekbeds, of all sizes from golf ball size to beach ball size. Just east of there, in Estill County, one can even find geodes filled with Kentucky Agate.
So you are in a good spot, centrally located, to branch out and find some nice geodes in three directions and luckily for you, not too far of a drive, either.
St Louis area