Discovering a hidden gem in Sarnia.
On a recent trip through Lambton County, we were treated to a tour of the most interesting and unique museum any of us had ever been to, the Stones ‘N Bones Museum. Located in Sarnia, Stones ‘N Bones is home to an incredible collection of items from across the globe; there’s over 6,000 pieces on display in a very cozy space.
Stepping inside, it’s hard to decide where to begin. From minerals and fossils to Native Canadian tools and RCMP memorabilia, this museum has so much to see; there was even a shrunken head. We decided to begin with one of the most attention grabbing spaces in the whole facility, the mounted wildlife. Going past the numerous antlers, tusks, and horns covering the walls of the exhibits, the first thing that stands out is the sheer size and diversity of the wildlife. First there’s the full size bears in a variety of poses, including a polar bear standing completely upright that’s so big that its head touches the ceiling. Surrounding the bears are a number of mounted birds, rams, a moose, and even a rattle snake. In the second part of the wildlife exhibit, the diversity continues with a collection of Canadian wildlife including beavers, mountain lions, foxes, coyotes, wolves, a full family of deer and much more.
After taking in all the modern animals, we headed towards the fossils. Having had an interest in dinosaurs for a long time, seeing all the artifacts on display was quite exciting; the collection is truly world-class. There’s a good mixture of fossils from both carnivorous and herbivorous dinosaurs including a number of skulls from many different dinosaurs including that of an Albertosaurus, a member of the tyrannosaurid family, some partial & nearly full skeletons, and even some dinosaur eggs; there’s x-ray images to show you what’s inside too.
Stepping away from the animals, our very knowledgeable guides, and the owners of this great museum, took us to the minerals and gemstones. There’s a whole wall lined with glass cases to show them off and each one is meticulously labelled; the fluorescent minerals in the collection are displayed in a light show to show them off to their full beauty. A couple of the special gems in the collection include the ‘Canadian Maple Leaf’, the largest stone in the world faceted to reveal a maple leaf inside, and the ‘Princess Allison’, the 2nd largest cut gemstone in Canada weighing in at 2250 carats!
Next stop was the butterfly and insect collection. Once again, the variety on display was quite incredible; it would take days for our guide to tell us about each specimen on display. Since one of the members of our tour group wasn’t a big fan of insects, we moved through this part of the museum pretty quickly. Thankfully, the sharks and other marine life was more than enough to get our friend’s mind off the insects. From big shark jaws and entire marlin to blow fish and crustaceans, there’s a lot to see in this exhibit too.
Finally, we arrived in what we thought was the final exhibit full of more minerals, fossils, replica ships, and much more; but it turns out this is the gift boutique and all of items were for sale. This gift boutique definitely continued the theme of the entire Stones ‘N Bones Museum of consistently exceeding any and all expectations. The owners have done an absolutely amazing job putting the collections together and you can hear their passion as they take you through the museum. When you visit Sarnia, you have to come check this place out. It truly is a hidden gem, pun intended.