Cracking a Geode

We visited the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences (HMNS) at the weekend and it’s always a trip we  enjoy.  The Big One wanted to see the paleontology exhibit and also the new Ancient Egypt hall but we didn’t get into the actual museum before the girls had seen something they wanted to do even more: crack a geode.

For those who don’t know what that is (including me before we first visited the museum here!), a geode is a small cavity in a rock which is lined with some sort of mineral.  The most beautiful ones have crystals on the inside and sparkle and there are lots of truly beautiful ones in the Gems and Minerals hall at HMNS.  The museum shop has a great big bin of different-sized rock spheres which you can buy and have cracked open for you whilst you watch.

So, we got into the museum through the shop and someone was cracking a geode as we walked past.  We stopped to watch and that was when the girls decided they wanted one.  As they are heavy, we suggested going into the museum first and getting the geode afterwards.  Luckily the girls agreed!

We had a quick look at the Faberge exhibition, then went on a tour of the Paleontology hall with a guide who told us all about trilobytes (pre-dinosaur creatures that are a bit like woodlice), the dinosaurs and then on to human development itself.  It was all geared towards children and they even got to hold a T-Rex tooth!  It is definitely worth doing if you have a chance as the guide was an expert on the museum’s paleontology collection and the scientific work they are currently involved in here.

Despite that being a great way to spend an hour, the girls were keen to get back to the shop and find a geode.

It took a while for my Lovely Husband and the girls to choose the geode they wanted.  Was a lighter one better, a bigger one, a smaller one? It was a tough decision and the man in charge of cracking them didn’t provide any pointers at all…  Finally they found the one they wanted and it was placed in a vice-like piece of equipment.

Cracking the geode

Cracking the geode

The girls positioned themselves so that they would be the first people ever to see the inside of the geode and here is what happened:

It was beautiful inside – like looking at the night sky with lots of stars.  It’s a good reminder of some of the stunning night skies we’ve seen here on our travels.

  • Geode (

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