This past week, after a slight delay, we spent a few days up in Dahlonega, Georgia. Dahlonega is by far my favorite place, even over Disney World. I love the fresh mountain air, the history, the restaurants, and the peacefulness. We try to go up as often as we can for some family relaxation.
Our friends over at Consolidated Gold Mines were so gracious to invite us in for a morning of fun! We were given a guide of the mine, gold panning, and gem mining. What a wonderful and educational experience this turned out to be! There is actually still gold in the hills but it’s not cost effective currently to mine it.
Our tour guide, Mr. Chris, helped us through the mine and made it super fun along the way with tidbits of information and humor. The Consolidated Gold Mine consists of 6 miles of mines that wind their way through the mountains. Way back during the mining days, in one day, they could pull out enough gold to equal over a million dollars in the current market! That’s amazing! Miners were paid $1 a day to work in the mines, with the exception of men who worked with a particular drill. The drill would cause them to be deaf in about a month’s time because it was so loud. Those workers made $1.50 per day.
For $2 a day, you could be a mine safety inspector. These were the guys that would make sure that all the dynamite actually exploded as it was supposed to and take care of any that didn’t go off. Mr. Chris told us that only 1 in 4 safety inspectors survived the job. However at $2 a day when other jobs outside the mine brought in around $.35 a day, this job was in high demand.
The walking tour of the mine was fantastic and I’m so glad we were given the opportunity to experience it. From my 4 year old up to us adults, we all loved it. Definitely note to not bring a stroller as it’s impossible to take through the mine and to wear closed toe shoes. The mine floor can be a little slippery! I would recommend it for most kids that aren’t afraid of darker areas and can listen, otherwise they may end up in the stream of water and stained orange for a while 🙂 There is also a short time when they turn out the lights to show you how incredibly dark the mine gets with no light. My kids were not bothered by the darkness as we were told it was going to be happening and was just for a moment.
After the tour, we ended up at the gold panning station. There is a short video to show you how to pan for gold and then you can get started! All of us found gold – either in nugget form or flakes. The kids were super excited and were already plotting how to spend their gold 😉 Mr. Chris put the gold in a little vial for us to take home.
We ended up our trip with gem mining. This was so much fun! We were given a big bucket of dirt and the kids went at it! My littles really enjoyed this since it was quite easier than the gold panning for their ages. Simply pile the dirt in your box, place it in the water, and watch to see what appears! We found all sorts of goodies from Fool’s Gold, rubies, sapphires, amethyst, and more! I can’t even remember all the names of stones that we found. The picture above is just what I found, not including all 4 kids and hubby’s goodies! The sand is loaded! They even have a studio where they can turn your finds into jewelry right there at the mine!
Definitely an A+ rating from us! We had a blast and hope to return again soon! This fits in perfectly with a homeschool excursion as well since it’s very educational.