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It's Just a Gem of a Town

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Metropolitan Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau Web Site

If you're planning on attending the legendary Tucson Gem and Mineral Show or another visit to Tucson and need to know about our accommodations, local activities and attractions, assistance and services, dining and nightlife, shopping, transportation, travel tips, or tours and sightseeing, this site is the mother lode of Tucson related information! Our Convention and Visitor's Bureau web site presents a wealth of information concerning popular day trips from Tucson, online maps of downtown Tucson and the surrounding areas, local geography, guest ranches, Tucson history, weather, calendar of events, meeting and group tour planning, and general visitor information.

Hey Gringo, here's some additional survival related tips if you're planning on Visiting Tucson During the Summer that they don't provide on the official Tucson Visitor's Bureau web site... ;)

Our Shows, Museums, Clubs, Rock Shops, and Other Attractors

Bob's Rock Shop originates from computers located in Tucson, Arizona. If your travels should happen to bring you into town, here's some concentrations of non-virtual rocks you might like to visit:

  • University of Arizona Mineral Museum Flandrau Science Center 520-621-STAR
  • Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum 2021 North Kinney Road 520-883-2702

  • Kino Rocks and Minerals Retail Showroom: 6756 South Nogales Highway 520-294-0143
  • Jed's Rock Treasures and More Retail Showroom: 6275 Sandario Road 520-882-6044
  • Allen's Treasure House Retail Showroom: 4313 East Grant Road 520-326-5550
  • Starr Gems Retail Showroom: 220 West Drachman 800-882-8750
  • Tucson Mineral and Gem World Retail Showroom: 2801 South Kenny Road 520-883-0682
  • Discount Agate House Retail Showroom: 3401 North Dodge Boulevard 520-323-0781
  • ZEE'S Gallery Retail Showroom: 1 E. Toole Avenue 520-294-9316

  • TopGem Minerals Wholesale Warehouse 1893 North 11th Ave, Tucson, AZ 85703 Appointment required except during the annual Tucson Show: Call 520-622-6633 Mike and Norma New

  • Gemstones Etc Appointment Required: Call David Arens 520-749-2413 or email: gemstonesetc@gci-net.com
  • B & B Minerals Appointment Required: Call Bill Hefferon 520-297-8860
  • Douglass Minerals Appointment Required: Call Dave Douglass 520-742-0294
  • Midwest Minerals and Mining Appointment Required: Call Stan Esbenshade 520-293-8474

  • Em's Gems At Shows Only: Call Em or Ogle Love 520-886-6942

Mecca for Rockhounds
The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show

And then there's the legendary Tucson Gem and Mineral Show held every February. There's shows and then there's shows, but there is only one true Mecca for rockhounds the world over, and that's "Tucson". Hope to see you here for the Show! If you're planning on attending it's none too early to have your motel room or RV spot reserved...

Tucson Gem and Mineral Society

The Tucson Gem & Mineral Society is a non-profit, volunteer, educational organization whose purpose is to promote understanding and interest in the earth sciences. The Society boasts an international membership of over 320 with the majority located in the Tucson area. For over 40 years the focus of the organization has been community education with the major activity being the production of the Society's annual Tucson Gem & Mineral Show. Profits from the show fund donations to local mineral museums, a graduate student scholarship program in the Geology Department of the University of Arizona, participation in the Southern Arizona Regional Science Fair, a free speakers bureau, donations to student organizations, and gem and mineral publications.

Tucson Gem and Mineral Society, PO Box 42543, Tucson, AZ 85733

Old Pueblo Lapidary Club

Tucson's Old Pueblo Lapidary Club was organized in 1970 with the aims and purposes of increasing and disseminating knowledge of the lapidary arts and skills, fostering study and increasing knowledge in related areas such as mineralogy, earth sciences, metallurgy, creative design, base and precious metal working, enameling and engraving.

Today the Old Pueblo Lapidary Club serves approximately two hundred members with extensive club owned facilities, shops, equipment, classes, meetings, programs, library, field trips and the club's newsletter, Cutting Remarks. OPLC is a member of the Rocky Mountain Federation of Mineralogical Societies and the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies.

Old Pueblo Lapidary Club, Inc. 3118 N. Dale Avenue, Tucson AZ 85712 Phone: (520) 323-9154

The Mineralogical Record

By the way, Tucson is also home to the Mineralogical Record, the ultimate publication for mineral collectors. Just thought you'd like to know that!

Bimonthly, outrageous specimen images, learned technical articles, the latest worldwide discoveries, the classic localities. Worth every penny. Just do it!

More Tucson Area Information Resources

Arizona's WebHub
Arizona's WebHub is the most comprehensive, subject-sorted directory of World Wide Web links covering information about Arizona as well as general-interest resources published by Arizona residents.

More Arizona Information Resources

Grand Canyon Information

If you're going to be driving into Tucson or visiting other parts of Arizona and you like to stop and field collect on your trips, these collecting guides will direct you to quite a few popular Arizona collecting sites and locales.

Gem Trails of Arizona

This well illustrated 124 page paperback covers 56 collecting sites throughout Arizona with maps, directions, site and specimen descriptions. Sites for collecting fire agate, quartz crystals, azurite, jasper, flower agate, malachite, calcite, selenite roses, geodes, petrified wood, apache tears, barite, onyx, fluorite, vanadinite, and more are presented.

Bessie W. Simpson and James R. Mitchell. Published by Gem Guides Book Company, 315 Cloverleaf drive, Suite F, Baldwin Park, CA 91706 ISBN 935182-42-X Copyright 1989

Arizona Minerals and How to Find Them

This 73 page paperback details 26 collecting sites throughout the State with maps, directions, site details, and minerals to be found. Arizona tourists will appreciate the other nearby points of interest listed with each site and other useful information regarding sources for maps, mining claim and collecting laws and regulations, and first aid for venomous reptile and insect bites. Pics are sparse.

Raymond Merriam. Published by Treasure Chest Publications, Inc., PO Box 5250, Tucson, AZ 85703-0250 ISBN 0-918090-40-1 Copyright 1988

The Complete Gringo's Tucson Summertime Visit Survival Guide

Avoid Summer Visits - It gets pretty damn hot out in the Sonoran Desert here in Southern Arizona during our summers, and the best advice regarding visiting then is just don't do it. While the weather in Tucson is enviable for the remainder of the year, the only reason anybody stays here during the summer is because they're too poor to leave! If you're planning on doing a little field collecting during your visit to Southern Arizona, venturing into our remote desert areas during the summer is very hazardous and unpleasant due to the extreme heat. If you choose to ignore this first piece of advice, please don't say you weren't warned, and be sure you heed the rest!
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Carry Spare Water - The exposed desert terrain, high temperatures and low humidity make rapid dehydration a severe problem for anyone who becomes injured, lost or stranded by a mechanical breakdown of their vehicle. When traveling in the desert, always carry an emergency supply of at least a gallon of water per occupant in your vehicle. Not beer. Not soda. Water. If you are going to venture off the beaten path you should increase this prudent reserve significantly. If you go off sightseeing or prospecting in the desert on foot, always pack an emergency reserve of at least two quarts of water per person. It is not wise to go hiking in the desert without a partner. To avoid dehydration just sitting in the shade, you need to drink a dozen large glasses of water per day . You'll need even more if you're active or exerting yourself.

Wear Protective Garments and Sunscreen - Tucson has the dubious distinction of being the skin cancer capitol of the United States. As tempting as it is to shed your garments in the heat, don't do it. You'll be exposing yourself to the risk of severe sunburn. Give your hide a break and wear loose fitting, light colored clothing and a protective, shady hat. A pair of good quality, UV rated sunglasses are mandatory attire. Protect your face, neck, arms, legs and other exposed body parts with liberal applications of a high SPF sunscreen. Sandals and tennis shoes may be comfortable in town, but do your feet a big favor and wear a pair of well broken in, vibram soled, leather hiking boots when you're out in the desert. Whenever possible, stay in the shade!

Don't Leave Kids or Pets Unattended in Your Car - The temperature inside a closed vehicle exposed to the sun can readily exceed 150 degrees in just a matter of minutes. It is extremely dangerous to leave an unattended child or pet in a locked car. If you love your kids or your pets, please exercise some common sense and just don't do this! We also have special child and animal abuse laws under which we prosecute guardians and pet owners who ignore these safety and cruelty considerations.

Don't Mess with the Gila Monsters and Cacti - The indigenous Sonoran desert flora and fauna are beautiful and unique. Many also carry built-in self defense mechanisms with which you may not be familiar. You may know that cacti have thorns but you'll never really appreciate that until you're painfully "ambushed" by a jumping cholla cactus right through your jeans and tennis shoes! The desert is also home to venomous critters such as rattlesnakes, Gila monsters and scorpions. Use some common sense and bear this in mind as you're hiking, camping and rockhounding in the desert. Many species of our native desert wildlife are threatened and endangered and protected under Arizona state and federal laws.

Observe the Flash Flood Warnings - During our rainy season in late July and August we experience very spectacular and intense localized storms known as monsoons. These storms occur when moisture laden air from the Pacific Ocean sweeps inland, heats over the desert floor and then rises into cooler surrounding air. The desert soil saturates quickly and powerful flash floods are a common occurrence in desert washes that cross our roads. The "Do Not Enter When Flooded" warning signs posted in low areas are not placed there as a joke! If you're out hiking or camping in the desert, be aware that a storm many miles away can flood the wash or low-lying area you're in with surprising rapidity. These storms raise the humidity significantly and make desert outings particularly miserable during the monsoon season.

Don't Golf during Lightning Storms - Our monsoon storms are often accompanied by spectacular lightning. Tucson is in fact a geographic center for the scientific observation and study of lightning. As ridiculous as it sounds, it seems like someone gets hit and killed almost every year while they're playing golf in Tucson during a storm! The lightning is often too spectacular to resist observing, but try and use a little common sense about what you're doing and where you're doing it during one of our lightning storms. A rockhound's iron prybar held aloft during a monsoon storm is probably tempting fate just as much as a gesturing to the Almighty with your putter!

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Bob Keller