It’s Granddaddy’s turn.

For weeks, Tucson has been preoccupied with tents full of rocks and gems scattered all over town for the Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase.

But this weekend is the event, the grand finale and the one that started them all 63 years ago, the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show.

It’s not only one we Tucsonans take pride in, it’s the one many of us visited as school children and went to as adults to ooh and aah and crack open a mineral or two to discover the sparkly magic inside.

There will be more than 150 exhibits and about 250 vendors packed into the Tucson Convention Center arena, with geologic wonders from such places as The American Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian Institute.

We love wandering the aisles, stopping to visit with experts from around the globe, listening to lectures. The great gift of the Gem and Mineral Show is its commitment to education.

And not just adult education.

The activities for children are abundant.

School visits — all the schools in town have been invited — are slated for Friday morning, Feb. 10. But the child-friendly fun won’t stop there.

Throughout the weekend, students from the University of Arizona Society of Earth Sciences will man the Junior Education Section. It will have hands-on displays about earthquakes and tsunamis. Details about minerals, participatory experiments and treasure hunts for kids (mineral prizes for winners — and something for every child who hangs at the Junior Education Section).

If you long for more grown-up activities, consider one of the lectures, such as the seminar on Mineral Photography led by Jeff Scovil (1-3 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9), or “Minerals of the Black Hills,” a Tom Loomis talk (3-4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11).

But most of all, wander the aisles. Ask questions. And be appropriately awed — this show is Tucson born and bred. And it is, indeed, a gem.

Contact reporter Kathleen Allen at or 573-4128. On Twitter: @kallenStar