An easy way to see a good number of rare and common minerals is by visiting the new tunnel exhibit at the Natural History Museum in Balboa Park. The exhibit, which officially opens Saturday, offers a condensed version of what one can see in nature.
The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. Admission is $5; $1 for ages 6-18. Call 232-3821 for more information.
Palomar Mineral and Gem Society. Meets the third Wednesday of each month except July and August at 7 p.m. at the Joslyn Senior Center, 724 N. Broadway, Escondido. Junior club meets on second Saturday of each month.
Vista Mineral and Gem Society. Meets on third Thursday of each month except July and August at 7:30 p.m. in the Senior Citizens Building, 222 Jefferson St., Vista. For more information, contact Jerry Harr at 724-0395.
San Diego Mineral and Gem Society. Spanish Village, Balboa Park. 239-8812. The society offers lapidary classes, seminars on rocks and minerals and sponsors field trips to prime collecting locations.
Southwestern Prospectors and Miners Assn. 9248 Stoyer Drive, Santee. 277-9886. This group is affiliated with the mineral and gem society. Its 200 members meet the third Thursday of each month in the San Diego Natural History Museum auditorium. The organization provides information on mining laws and techniques and holds claims for member use. Several field trips to gold prospecting areas are organized each year.
Explorers Unlimited Mining and Prospecting Assn. 5714 El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego. 286-2600. The association promises to help novice prospectors identify gold, locate prospecting spots and avoid pitfalls.
The Gold Prospectors Assn. of America. P.O. Box 507 Bonsall, Calif., 92003. 728-6620. The organization publishes a magazine and sponsors trips to locations as far as Alaska where it holds mining claims.
The Map Centre. 2611 University Ave. 291-3830. This store has a large selection of topographical maps and books for mineral and gold hunters.
House of Treasure Hunters. 5714 El Cajon Blvd. 286-2600. This store has become something of a headquarters for the gold prospecting crowd. Everything from sophisticated metal detectors to plastic gold pans offered for sale.
"A Description of the Set of Minerals and Rocks Furnished to California Schools by the California Division of Mines and Geology" (state publication).
"Mineral Resources of California" Bulletin 191 (state publication).
"Gold Districts of California" Bulletin 193 (state publication).
"Gold: Where to Go" by George Robinson.
"Gem Trails of California," published by Gem Guides.
"Desert Gem Trails," Gem Guides.
"Gems and Minerals of California" by Will Estavillo, part of the Renaissance House California Traveller guidebook series.