On our latest family adventure we traveled to Helen, Ga and the surrounding areas for some hiking, rest, and relaxation. During my research of the area and some fun things to do, I stumbled across Consolidated Gold Mine located in Dahlonega, Ga. My 7 year old has a fascination for all things gems, rocks, and just about anything found underground, so I knew this would be perfect for him, but I never could have anticipated the joy all of us got from this adventure! In our group were all ages, ranging from 61 down to my 7 year old, and there were definitely fun things for each of us to do. When we arrived we were pleasantly surprised by the beautiful location and surroundings. My son and 9 year old daughter were immediately ready to start mining! When you arrive you let them know what all you will be participating in, they offer guided mine tours, panning for gold and gemstones. We decided to do the mine tour, which includes a sample pan of dirt to mine for gold which you get to keep, and the gemstone mining.
First up was the panning for gold. When you purchase a mine tour you receive a sample pan of dirt to pan for gold. There is a short video to watch to help you figure out the best technique to find the gold flakes in your pan. After that, you get to try your hand at panning for gold! We had a blast doing this, and even though you will only get about 2-3 gold flakes at the end of your panning, they give you your flakes in a little vile of water to keep, and my kids, and their grandma, loved this part!
Next up was the mine tour. It is started out by a 7 minute video about the mine's history. I liked this part because it also helps to get your eyes adjusted to less light since you will be going down into a dimly lit mine. I will say that my mother who has mobility issues did decide to sit this part of the day out since there are some stairs and a slippery slope down into the mine. Even though she didn't do this part of the tour, she was busy and entertained in the jewelry and gemstone cutting area of the gift shop! Once down in the mine, you will be in awe at the views, history and even some tools left down in the mine! My son was truly in his element! Our tour guide CJ was great at keeping us all entertained and laughing the whole way through! I do suffer slightly from claustrophobia, and had a few moments where I thought maybe I should turn back, but honestly, CJ kept my mind off of it with his witty banter and tunes he sang through the mine.
Next, and the last activity, was the gemstone mining. We were given the Super Gem Bucket for our family of 6, and it was jam packed with awesome gemstones, some valuable and some just awesome rocks! I will say, this was the part that the whole family enjoyed the most. Sifting through this 5 gallon bucket full of dirt to find treasures was a lot of fun. At the end, each person gets to take their bag of gems and rocks to find out which of them are valuable and which are just "cool rocks." There were quite a few valuable gems found throughout our group, the best being my father's find of a pretty large Sapphire! When you are finished, you can choose to have one, or all of your gems cut and polished and put into beautiful jewelry right there in the shop. They did tell us that they have a couple day turn around so if you wont be in the area long, they can ship it back to you. We didn't take advantage of this service this time, but it is such a neat way to turn your treasure into something you can treasure forever!
Overall, this was a unique, interesting, and downright fun way for our whole family to spend an afternoon!!The kids are already asking when we get to go back!
Although I received a discount rate for the tour and the Super Bucket for free, all of the opinions and this review are 100% honest! We had a great time and cannot wait to return!