Rock Food - Arizona Mining & Mineral Museum
Update: This museum -- reportedly the most popular in Arizona -- was abruptly closed in May 2011 to make way for the "Arizona Experience Museum," a pet project of Gov. Jan Brewer. That museum was never built, and as of 2013 the building remains vacant.
This rockhound's paradise has several displays of note: a moon rock from Apollo 11, a display of "frozen thunderbolts" made when lightning struck sand, a meteorite, a fluorescent mineral room. Outside are photo-op tributes to open pit mining business (which is big in Arizona) with a 13-foot-tall dump truck tire and a giant earthmover bucket -- although we've seen bigger. A wheelbarrow filled with rocks is labeled "Free rocks. Three per visitor, please," and receives a steady stream of acolytes, each diligently searching the pile and politely leaving with no more than the maximum.
But what drew us here was Display Case #95, "Today's Special."
It recreates a breakfast, lunch, and dinner set out on a table -- made entirely of rocks that look like food. The banana is actually limestone, the coffee is garnet sand, the steak is quartz jasper, the peas are something called gastropod opercula -- you get the idea.
The menu is constantly rotated because the Museum has so many specimens, and the display is expanded every holiday season to become the "Banquet of Rocks."