2017 CFMS-AFMS Gem Show & Convention
hosted by the Ventura Gem & Mineral Society

Ventura Rocks
the Nation!

Fri - Sun, June 9-11, 2017

Ventura County Fairgrounds • Ventura, CA



In lieu of any formal field trips, we offer this list of recommended side trips you may want to consider while in Ventura. Some are just blocks from the Fairgrounds, but most require a bit of travel, and some are for the truly brave-at-heart willing to do battle with LA freeway traffic!

Nearby Museums

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. 2559 Puesta del Sol, Santa Barbara. A giant blue whale skeleton greets you at the entrance to this hidden gem of a museum. All sorts of natural history is on display, but you'll especially want to take in the Geology & Paleontology Hall featuring local fossils (including Channel Island pygmy mammoths) and their newest hall, the Mineral & Gem Gallery. While there, you should also visit the Old Mission nearby.

Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits. 5810 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. The world's only consistently active urban Ice Age excavation site houses over 1 million Pleistocene fossils, including skeletons and recreations of our state fossil, the sabertooth cat Smilodon. You can see indoor exhibits, view paleontologists at work cleaning and restoring specimens, and journey outside to see tar still bubbling up in asphalt excavation pits. As they say on their web site: "See what we dug up in our own backyard!"

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. 900 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles. If you're into fossils or gems (and we're assuming you are), this is the place to go! Visit the hall of gems where our very own CFMS Golden Bear nugget is usually on display alongside the CFMS benitoite specimen. For fossils, check out the Age of Mammals and Dinosaur Hall -- both were finished in recent years and are eye-popping. In most museums, the dinosaur skeletons on display are usually reproductions in plaster or resin. No polyester here, though -- these are the real deal! The museum is a world-class institution, with over 35 million specimens.

The UCLA Meteorite Gallery. Room 3697 of the Geology Building on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles, 595 Charles E. Young Drive. The largest collection of meteorites on the West Coast and the fifth largest collection in the U.S. Docent-led tours offered on Sunday afternoons.

California Oil Museum. 1001 E. Main, Santa Paula. Housed in the original office building of Union Oil (a wonderful building that is listed on the National Historic Registry), this is touted as the place where the California oil boom began. The wide-ranging collection of oil history artifacts and memorabilia would have Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz from American Pickers drooling! The museum highlights the history and inner workings of the state's "black gold" industry.

In addition to museums highlighting the earth sciences, you may want to explore others close by. The first three are a 10 minute, half mile walk from the fairgrounds.

  • Albinger Archaeological Museum, 113 E. Main, Ventura. Exhibits and on-site excavations document 3,500 years of Ventura County history.
  • Museum of Ventura County, 100 E. Main, Ventura. Rather than geology, the focus is on history, culture and archeology of the county.
  • Mission San Buenaventura, 211 East Main, Ventura. Step back into 1700s Spanish California with a tour of the last mission founded by Junipero Serrra.
  • Channel Islands National Park, 1901 Spinnaker Dr., Ventura. The visitors center to the islands off-shore features natural history exhibits including a dwarf mammoth skeleton and indoor tide pool.
  • Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, 40 Presidential Drive, Simi Valley. Finally, no visit to Ventura County is complete without a visit to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum and Air Force One!
So-Cal Rockhounding Adventures

If you're visiting from afar and will either be arriving early to Ventura or staying around a while after the show concludes, there are a number of fee digs you may want to look into for some rockhounding adventures in southern and central California. All are at least a few hours away by car. These include:

  • Oceanview Tourmaline Mine, Pala, CA. Collecting with all the amenities -- picnic & restroom facilities, screens, shovels, and other tools, and a big heap of mine tailings from which to extract tourmaline, kunzite, morganite, quartz crystals, and more.
  • Himalaya Tourmaline Mine, Lake Henshaw Resort near Santa Ysabel, CA. Screens and tools provided to enable you to sift through mine tailings for tourmaline, quartz crystals, and other precious and semi-precious minerals.
  • Gems of Pala/Stewart Tourmaline Mine, Pala, CA. Yet another great spot to screen for tourmaline with all the tools provided!
  • The Enst Quarries at Shark Tooth Hill, Bakersfield, CA. A premier, world-class site for Miocene fossil shark teeth and marine mammal remains.
  • The California State Gem Mine, near Coalinga, CA. The only place to collect the California state gem -- ultra-rare benitoite. Screening from mine dumps, you'll also find natrolite, neptunite, and other associated minerals.
We'll continue adding destinations as folks suggest more, so please watch our Show website, 2017CFMS-AFMSShow.com, for still more trip suggestions.
Website by Terry Wilson, terryfic.com