Over Spring Break last week we both stayed in town. We were quite jealous of everyone's amazing beach pictures all over social media, but sometimes it is nice to just have some downtime. Our staycation wasn't without any fun though. We love "field trips" with our kiddos and we'd heard tons of great things about Consolidated Gold Mine in Dahlonega.
We've actually been trying to get to this destination for over a year now and last Friday was finally the day. After literally being stuck at home due to bad storms, we were happy the sun was shinning and the weather was gorgeous for our putting.
Dahlonega is located just a little over an hour north of Atlanta and is a very easy drive. It was well worth the drive, too! We pulled up with very excited kiddos and they couldn't wait to find some gold!
The boys started picking up gravel rocks in the parking lot and claiming some of them were gold. Then they were all about the map showing where original gold mining took place in North Georgia.
We bought our gold mine tour tickets and after watching a short video showing the history of gold mining, our miner tour guide led our group into the old mines. It was like walking into a cave and we had to go down several flights of stairs and steep ramps.
Because of the low hanging rock edges hard hats were provided for everyone, which we just loved! It made us feel very official.
Due to the steps, ramps and tight quarters, strollers were not allowed so if you have a baby, you'll want to wear them in some sort of sling, front or back carrier.
The mines were very cool and we were told it stays like that year round. Also, there is a lot of moisture and water so it can get muddy. We all wore our rain boots and were so glad we did!
During the tour, our guide shared more history including some of the tools that were used in the mining process. It was pretty interactive and they let the kids assist in different demonstrations, which they thought was fun.
After our tour, we celebrated the fact that we made it in and out of the mines with all 6 kids! A field trip requiring hard hats could have been bad, but it was great.
Next up was time for what the kids really wanted to do...find gold. With each tour ticket you are given one pan of sand (and potentially gold)! A short video demonstrates how to use the water to help pan for gold.
The kids did great and after you have just a little bit of sand left in your pan these nice miners help finish up and point out/package your gold for you in tiny test tubes.
Each of the kids had between 1 and 3 TINY flecks of gold. Some of them were expecting a golden nugget and others were thrilled with their findings. You almost needed a microscope to see the flecks, but they were excited and felt rich with real gold!
Because they had so much fun panning for gold, we decided to give the gemstone mining a whirl, too. We bought a bucket and that was enough for 2-3 kids to share. The bucket is filled with a variety of gemstones that are mixed into dirt/sand.
The kids sit at a sluice (channel of running water) and scoop the sand into their framed screens. As the water washes away the dirt and sand the gemstones are left behind.
They absolutely LOVED this activity and it was probably their favorite part of our day. Many of their gems were colored stones and different types of rocks, but some a few lucky ones got giant ones like this!
We left with a few flecks of gold, some pretty neat gemstones, and the idea that we had hit pay dirt! They all said they wanted to come back again and they were exited to trade with one another and compare all of their findings.
Before heading home we stopped by the historic downtown area and grabbed lunch at a local place. Because the only thing more precious that gold and gemstones...Mexican food.
This outing was a real treasure!