The Rice NW Museum of Rocks and Minerals is a place I've driven by for years but never visited until recently. My third grade sons (twins) went there on a school field trip and came home raving about it. So we took them again on family trip.
The museum is housed in an unpretentious building, as far as museums go. But it is not unlike the amazing displays of thunder eggs and geodes inside--you have no idea of the spectacular features until you see the insides.
The Alma Rose, one of the rarest of minerals, is stunning and surreal, as if created by Dali. It's one of the largest specimens of Rhodochrosite in the world. (I never heard of Rhodochrosite until the boys told me about it.)
There is an extensive collection of petrified wood logs. The local gem society was hosting a workshop on gem faceting on the day of the visit. Its members gave demonstrations and explanations to the kids. Also for the kids is a large rock pile for the kids to sift through that holds some of the interesting rock types on display. Each kid can keep a small rock as part of the admission fee.
The great collection of meteorites, some boulder sized and of gleaming metal, polished and pitted by a supersonic, fiery passage through the earth's atmosphere. They are touchable too.
The museum offers much more--rocks, minerals, precious metals and gems of great range and variety.
The Museum is about 25 minutes from downtown Portland in a rural setting. It is easily accessed from Highway 26.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.