The Collector’s Garden is a special rock garden where children can pick the rocks and shells (instead of picking flowers). It’s on our front lawn in south Oak Park:
If you visit the Garden, please follow the rules:
We stock the Garden with dozens of kinds of rocks and shells, plus shark teeth and other fossils:
Please be careful — the shark teeth are still very sharp! And please excuse the dead leaves left from last fall. The worms and bugs will eat them up over the next month or so. (Or maybe you didn’t want to think about that.)
Here are some resources to help you identify the rocks you find:
- Go here to identify many of the rocks: http://www.saltthesandbox.org/rocks/namesrocksall.htm
- This page has photos of many polished rocks: http://www.saltthesandbox.org/rocks/namespolished.htm
Where do we get these specimens? Many types of rocks are sold in 50-pound bags at hardware or garden stores. We buy some shells and fossils in bulk at the local rock club shows or various Web stores. We find other things on trips, or folks give them to us. We’re just always on the look out. Here’s a Web page with information about some of the specimens you may find in the Garden, including where you can get them: http://www.saltthesandbox.org/wonderworks/saltedsandbox.htm
Why do we do it? Because we’re trying to make our densely populated neighborhood a better place for nature-loving kids. When my boys were little, I used to feed their collecting interests by “salting” their sandbox with small specimens of natural things. Now we salt our gravelly garden for the whole neighborhood.
By the way, if you don’t know where we live but want to visit, please e-mail me at email@example.com.