Pigeon Forge Gem Mine : Field Trip Review

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I love a good field trip! It breaks up the monotony of our typical day to day homeschool routine, and gives us all hands-on learning experiences that are usually lots of fun
I was curious about this gem mine in Pigeon Forge, I had heard some good things from various people, and I felt like it would be a good little adventure for us since we had been learning about various kinds of rocks in our science lessons.

It ended up being lots of fun! The staff there are very entertaining and knowledgeable of what each rock and gem is. The worker there the particular day we visited was over and beyond helpful; he made the girls giggle with his country accent while he taught them all about mining, Pigeon Forge history, and what type of stones they were finding in their buckets. They truly had a blast!

How it works:

When you arrive you can purchase a bucket (or a bundle of buckets for a better deal which is what we did). The buckets are filled with sand, gems, arrow heads, and fools gold. The children then use the mining equipment and strain the sand in their own buckets a little a time. In the end each child ended up with her own collection of beautiful stones and keepsakes which we were able to bring home with us. My girls still get their gems out to examine them and delight in their mining adventure. The Gem Mine also has a free rock and fossil museum as well as a gift-store which sells other gems and is staffed with people who can turn the treasures you mine or buy into jewelry.
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If you are ever planning a vacation in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park or perhaps you live close by, I really recommend the Pigeon Forge Gem Mine as a great little stop for the kids. gem mineLet me know if you try it out! Hope you have as much fun as we did!

Banff, Glacier, and Mount Rushmore

This trip has been one of the best experiences in my entire life. It was not planned, but the Lord gave this gift to our family at just the right time. It actually began as a work trip for my husband; he was called to go to Calgary, Canada on business. It was anticipated to be at least a month and maybe longer. We never like to have our family apart for long lengths of time like that unless it is absolutely necessary, and this was an easy fix, we could all go! We loaded up a big 12 passenger van and hit the road. It was packed full and all very exciting! The girls and I were able to start off our homeschool as normal from the comfort of our hotel. The nice thing was not having to cook or clean for a month; and I only had to manage the bear minimum of toys and clothing! I was able to fully focus on some deeper Bible journaling, my sweet family, homeschooling, and of course exploring Calgary. We were blessed to find a sweet Presbyterian Church to meet with while we were there , and through that I was able to connect with two precious ladies from that church who really blessed me with their hospitality and friendship while we were there. When my husband’s work was complete we decided to visit a few places on the drive home. We ended up visiting Banff National Park, Glacier National Park, and Mount Rushmore. Here are about 20 out of probably 500 photos I took. These were some of my favorites as I feel they really capture many of the highlights. This trip has greatly inspired me to plan ahead for future trips to other national parks. I would love our crew to see Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, and others! Who knows, maybe one day right? For now here are some photos from our explorations of Banff, Glacier, and Mount Rushmore. I am so thankful to the Lord for this amazing experience!

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