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.
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. Let me know if you try it out! Hope you have as much fun as we did!