To contact the park: 870-285-3113. Please also visit the park's Web site, CraterOfDiamondsStatePark.com.
Arkansas's diamond site, the Crater of Diamonds State Park, is the eighth largest diamond-bearing deposit in surface area in the world. Here you can enjoy the one-of-a-kind outdoor adventure of prospecting for real diamonds. Located in southwest Arkansas near Murfreesboro, this is the world's only diamond-bearing site open to the public. Occurring naturally here along with the diamonds are garnet, amethyst, jasper, agate, quartz, and other rocks and minerals that make this site a rock-hound's delight. And what you unearth is yours to keep. You'll search over a 37 1/2-acre plowed field, the eroded surface of the ancient volcanic crater that brought the gems to the surface.
This site became an Arkansas state park in 1972, and since then, park visitors have unearthed more than 27,000 diamonds here. On average, two diamonds are found each day. Diamonds come is all colors of the rainbow. The three colors most often found at the Crater of Diamonds are white, brown and yellow, in that order. The gem-quality diamonds that have come from this site include many notable celebrity gems.
To access the diamond search area, you'll pass through the park visitor center first, and then the park's interpretive center that features engaging exhibits introducing you to diamonds and the experience of diamond hunting.
In the visitor center, you'll learn about the geology of this site and why diamonds are here. You'll view an engaging audiovisual program in the Adventure Theater about diamonds that introduces you to the Crater of Diamonds.
Then, you'll pass through the Diamond Discovery Center on your way to the diamond search area. Here you will learn about diamonds and how to prospect for diamonds. You'll be introduced to notable diamonds that have come from this site, and you'll learn about the park's most well-known diamond prospectors in the diamond hunters' hall of fame. This is where you'll rent digging tools and screens for your prospecting. And here is where you will later return to have your minerals identified by park staff, and, if you find a diamond, it can be certified and weighed here.
The first diamonds discovered here were unearthed in 1906 by John Huddleston, the farmer who at that time owned this land. Since then, over 75,000 diamonds have been unearthed here. Notable diamonds from the Crater of Diamonds include the 40.23-carat Uncle Sam, [the largest diamond ever unearthed in the United States]; the 16.37-carat Amarillo Starlight; the 15.33-carat Star of Arkansas and the 3.03-carat Strawn-Wagner Diamond.
Arkansas's diamonds are known throughout the international diamond community for their quality and hardness. The Strawn-Wagner Diamond is a perfect example of this. Found at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in 1990 by Shirley Strawn of Murfreesboro, Arkansas, this diamond weighed 3.03 carats in the rough. In 1997, the gem was sent to Lazare Kaplan International of New York for cutting. Lazare Kaplan cut the gem to perfection into a 1.09-carat, round brilliant shape diamond featuring an "Ideal Cut." This cut allows for the maximum amount of light to be reflected from one facet to another and up through the top. In 1998, the American Gem Society certified this diamond the perfect grade of O/O/O (Ideal cut/D color/ Flawless). "Triple Zero" is the highest grade a diamond can achieve. A diamond this perfect, and weighing over a carat after cutting, is estimated to occur one time in a billion. Its occurrence is even rarer coming from a non-commercial diamond mine. This splendid stone is on permanent display in its special exhibit at the Crater of Diamonds State Park.
Park interpreters present a wide variety of programs about diamonds, the geology of this gem-bearing diamond pipe, the park's history, and its diversity of plant and animal species.
The park offers 47 campsites (Class AA), picnic sites, a cafe, standard pavilion that includes restrooms, laundry, gift shop, hiking trails, and interpretive programs for park visitors.
The park's interpretive facility, the Diamond Discovery Center, serves as a gateway to the diamond search area and an in-depth introdction to the adventure of searching for diamonds. Along with the exhibit gallery, the two level barrier-free building features a refreshment facility, digging equipment rental and restrooms/bathhouse/changing rooms, office. The upper level features a 1,600-square-foot classroom.
The park's mining-themed aquatic playground, Diamond Springs, is located adjacent to the diamond search area. The main feature in the 14,700-square-foot facility is a 4,166-square-foot wading pool, ranging in depth up to 3-feet, that features aquatic playground equipment including spray geysers, sprayers, jets, animated waterspouts, cascades, two water slides, and waterfall hideaways. This aquatic playground offers cool, play pool fun for visitors of all ages during the summer months. The facility also includes a pool deck with three shaded cabanas, and tables with umbrellas and lounge chairs.
To see Diamond Springs, go to: http://www.craterofdiamondsstatepark.com/things-to-do/#Water
Crater of Diamonds State Park is open throughout the year. Hours of operation, however, vary per park facility. For 2009, the hours for the diamond search area are:
DIAMOND SEARCH AREA: OPEN YEAR ROUND (closed Thanksgiving, the afternoon of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day) Open 8:00am until sunset daily.
VISITOR INFORMATION CENTER AND DIAMOND DISCOVERY CENTER: OPEN YEAR ROUND (closed Thanksgiving, the afternoon of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day)
January 2 - May 24: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. daily
May 25 - August 19: 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. daily
August 20 - December 31: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. daily (8:00am -8:00pm Labor Day Weekend)
For more details about Crater of Diamonds State Park, go to park's Web site at: http://www.craterofdiamondsstatepark.com/
Crater of Diamonds State Park is located two miles southeast of Murfreesboro on Ark. 301.
Admission to Search Area/day: Adult--6.50 each; Child (age 6-12)--3.50 each
Group Rates (15 or more with advance notice)--1/2 above fees
$5.50/person 42 inches in height and above; $3.75/person under 42 inches in height
For more information about Arkansas State Parks historic, heritage, cultural parks and museums, go to: http://www.historystateparks.com/.
NOTE: Information about local hotels in Murfreesboro is available at: http://www.arkansas.com/places-to-stay/hotels-motels/ or http://www.MurfreesboroARK.com/
For details about local rental cabins, go to: http://www.arkansas.com/places-to-stay/cabins/