I’m bringing back one of my favorite discoveries from this past year for American Guide Week. I personally paid a visit to Dave’s Down to Earth Rock Shop in Evanston, a town on the border of Chicago. After looking at all the various pieces of jewelry and crystal in the store I went down to the basement, where there is a collection of minerals and fossils that owner Dave Douglass has been collecting since he was a child. After his shop opened, Dave and his wife Sandy continued on their rock quest and traveled throughout the western United States, Canada, and Mexico. Their private collection became so large that in 1988, they opened up the Prehistoric Life Museum, which is open to the public, including school groups. There are fossils from every geological time period, some billions of years old, as well as from all over the world, including a French cave bear skeleton and a Chinese dinosaur. Anyway, I must say it was weird to step down below a busy jewelry shop and see case after case full of old bones and fossils. And right in the middle of Chicagoland! I won’t get into the content of the museum because I nearly failed science in high school, but I was amazed at the number of items in their impressive collection. I particularly liked the coal forming swamp forest from Coal City, Illinois (I’ve been there…don’t go!) and the fact that there appeared to be an actual documentation system for cataloging items (something that can’t be said for some real museums out there). Even though I’m not much of a shopper, I’d probably enjoy going to malls if they all had little museums inside them. Definitely a memorable, unexpected place so if you’re ever in the area, please stop at the Prehistoric Life Museum at Dave’s Down to Earth Rock Shop in Evanston, Illinois.