My oldest was THRILLED to pieces when we first moved here and saw the sign for the Elijah Mountain Gem Mine. His name is Elijah and he just thought it was so cool his name was in big letters! We knew we were going to have to check it out, but it kind of went on the back burner while we got settled into life in Western North Carolina!
Well… we finally got our chance to go (actually… this is the second time we’ve gone). As we learned more about our community, we found out that the gem mine is actually owned and operated by a homeschool family. More than that, it is actually a business started by a homeschool student when he was just in middle school!
The inside of the gem mine is so inviting. I LOVED going in places like this when I was little. There is so much fun stuff to see when you walk in. My kids really enjoyed looking at the fish pond in the middle of the gift shop. It is stocked with giant koi. Baby girl almost took a little dip when she reached out to “pet a fish.”
Sorry for the funky lighting in this picture. The large gift shop is so much fun to walk around. They have polished stones, jewelry, games, and lots of fun mountain touristy type stuff. I really could spend all our money there. I said it before, but it really is inviting and I wasn’t nervous bringing my four children inside.
We headed outside as soon as we got there and started mining for precious gems! I was really impressed with the size of the bucket each child got. We got the “Little Miner” buckets that have over a gallon of sand, dirt and stones. It took them a while to sift through the whole thing. I think it is a great value for the money.
The little girls shared a bucket which worked out well for them. When you arrive, you head outside to rows of water troughs (for lack of a better word). The water is running and the kids can pick a box and shovel for sifting. They scoop some sand and dirt from their bucket into the box and set it down in the water. They can shake the box as the water washes away the sand to reveal the gems. My kids were literally squealing (even the nine year old) with joy as they uncovered the treasure in their buckets. They would yell any time they found something. And these aren’t just small fragments of gems… the kids walked away with baggies full of different size stones. Before you leave, you can ask for help identifying what gems you found. We bought a chart to bring home so the kids could further inspect their loot!
Right now, the mine is hosting some goats on their property. I don’t know if these are a permanent feature, but they sure were cute and friendly!!! Watch out though, they like to grab your baggy full of gems. That’s a tug of war you don’t want to get into!
Needless to say, my kids had a blast. They are already asking when we can go back! As soon as we got home, they each set up a “rock shop”. They displayed their most precious gems and set up a trading post with each other for ones they were willing to part with. The fun kept going long after we left the actual mine.
If you are visiting (or live in) Western North Carolina, I highly recommend visiting the Elijah Mountain Gem Mine. You can even go on a rainy day. The outdoor mine is covered and they have an indoor mining area. The mine is located on highway 64 in Laurel Park, minutes from downtown Hendersonville.
I’m thinking about planning a birthday party for big brother and his friends here next year!
Be sure to check out this online coupon for discounted buckets before you head over.
**The opinions in this post are mine alone. I simply want to share a great family experience as well as support fellow homeschoolers.**