Western Museum of Mining & Industry (WMMI) will host Family Day Geology Saturday. The event is designed to educate families about geology through hands-on experience. Visitors are welcome from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at 225 North Gate Boulevard, off I-25 Exit 156.

In its 10th year, Family Day Geology gives locals the chance to learn about Colorado’s mineral and mining heritage, identify mineral specimens and understand processes important to the formation of mineral deposits.

WMMI offers hands-on activities presented by geology and paleontology experts. Activities include panning for gold and participating in identifying minerals.

Florissant Fossil Beds, Pebble Pups, Gold Prospectors of Colorado and other WMMI partners will conduct education-based activities and demonstrations. Guest speakers will be available to share experiences and answer questions, according to WMMI Marketing and Communications Coordinator Jamie Martinez.

The study of mineral deposits is one of the most fascinating fields in geology, according to Martinez. Geology is a branch of science that studies the earth and geologists are the scientists that conduct these studies. The efforts of geologists benefit humankind in many ways by making human existence safer and easier.

There are numerous sub-disciplines of geology, according to Martinez. Geochemists, geophysicists, mineralogists, paleontologists, sedimentalogists (scientists who study sediments such as sand, silt, and clay and its formation processes) and volcanologists (scientists who study volcanoes) figure in the geologic disciplines.

What makes this event unique is the geologic processes that have helped shape the Pikes Peak region and the clues left behind in these rocks. Minerals are the building blocks of rocks, and rocks are divided into three basic types depending on its formation: igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary.

A periodic table, an arrangement of the chemical elements ordered by their atomic number (number of protons), electron configurations and recurring chemical properties, has attracted public interest. Some residents compare the experience to taking a trip back in Earth’s history.

The WMMI hosts the event to help promote its mission of educating the community about Colorado Springs’ rich mining heritage. The public should attend the event because of the fun, educational hands-on activities it offers, Martinez said.

“It is a chance for families to learn about geology from experts in the field.”

The museum hasn’t encountered any obstacles when holding the event, according to Martinez. However, interaction with El Paso area families is the most rewarding aspect of holding the event, she said.

Martinez suggested wearing comfortable shoes as the event involves some standing, stretching and walking. Family Day Geology is open to all ages and everyone is encouraged to attend, Martinez said. Having an interest in geology and paleontology is the only requirement.

“The public is welcome, ages 0 to 100,” Martinez said.

Known as The Museum That Works, the Colorado Springs nonprofit WMMI exists to preserve and interpret Colorado’s rich mining history and the American west.

Established in 1970, WMMI boasts more than 4,000 artifacts on display at its 27-acre indoor/outdoor exhibit site. The property also includes a ten-stamp ore mill, a multi-purpose center with exhibits, a theater, and a 5,000-volume research library.

Admission to the event is included with normal museum admission rates. Admission costs $10 for adults, $8 for students 13 and older and seniors 60 and older, and $6 for children ages 4-12. Admission is free for children 3 and younger.

Admission can be purchased in advance online through the museum website or at the front desk the day of the event. To learn more about the event call 488-0880 or email info@wmmi.org.

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