Rice Museum of Rocks & Minerals

Find out why I think this museum full of ROCKS is one of the best in the Portland area.

Ok, I know what you’re thinking.  Rocks?!?!  Minerals??!?  BORING!  But I swear to you, this place is really cool.  Maybe it’s just the latent rockhound inside me, but I found this place thoroughly entertaining.  Maybe it’s because it reminds me of my rockhounding grandparents.   Or maybe it is just cool to see the treasures things found inside the earth.  There is so much beauty hidden beneath the surface.  After visiting, I think this is one of the best museums in the Portland area.    

Rice museum display case

Rice museum malachite

Rice Museum green rock

You should have heared the exclamations every time we walked into a new room.  Crystals, agates, quartz, sunstones, petrified wood, fossils, gems, meteorites,  fluorescents, “hairy” rocks and gold!  They have a 2+ pound gold nugget!  It’s locked in a safe, so don’t get any ideas. 

Rice Museum Gold nugget

Rice Museum gold pans

The fluorescent room alone is a huge highlight.  The lights are on a timed rotation between three types of lighting.  Under normal lighting the rocks look so ugly, then once the black lights are on, they come alive.  It was really neat, we stayed in there for a long while taking it all in.  

Rice Museum fluorescent room

Rice museum fluorescent lights

Not only is the collection impressive, but so is the building.  The museum is named for the Rice family who built this ranch-style home in the 1950’s that includes intricate stone and wood work inside.  For years they hosted the Tualatin Valley Gem Club in the basement, amassing a huge collection and gallery.  Years later, the entire home and collection was turned into a museum.  

Rice Museum Harry rock

Rice Museum brown crazy rock

Rice museum pyrite

Rice museum fossilized Doug fir

The museum is in Hillsboro, about 25 minutes west of Portland, just off of Highway 26.  It will take you an hour or two to see the collection.  And I have to say this is a great way to spend a wet and rainy day.  As for kids, I think school-age kids would like this place.  As we arrived a bus load of third graders were leaving and they seemed to be having a blast.  My little one loved it, but she’s only one and doesn’t really know what’s up yet.  Bottom line, it’s a cool museum and worth a stop.  Happy rockhounding!

Rice museum baby & rocks

Rice museum quartz

Rice Museum Amethyst


Rice Museum Pinterest

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