Every year, the younger kids' school does an all-school field trip. One year, it was Monterey Bay Aquarium, last year, it was the San Francisco Zoo. This year, we went to the Marshall Gold Discovery State Park.
There were costumed docents in period clothing, acting in character for the time of the gold rush.
They showed the kids how various different things were made or done during that time.
We learned about soap making, and canvas buckets, and primitive safety pins.
We met a donkey.
We saw the Chinese store, but it wasn't open. Bummer!
Stamp mining equipment. Very much like the one we saw at Gold Bug Mine.
I enjoyed the textiles, of course. These ladies were spinning wool (both with a treadle spindle, and with a drop spindle), and weaving the finished yarn into rugs and shawls.
Katie at the Post Office tent, writing a letter. The docents told the kids they could send letters "back to the states" since California was not a state until 1850, and gold was discovered here in 1848.
Ancient guns, and a musical instrument.
They fired the cannon twice while we were there.
This photo is actually a little misleading, but it was the only posed shot I took that day. The museum was without power (thank you, PG&E) while we were there, so we couldn't see what was inside the building. Fortunately, outside was well worth the price of parking.
After wandering around from 10-12, we sat and ate lunch. Once we'd cleaned up from lunch, it was time to go pan for gold.
It was an easy walk across a bridge and down to the river.
View from the bridge.
And in the other direction.
One of the teachers brought along about 8 pans, so while the kids were learning how to swish dirt, I kicked my shoes off and waded into the cold river.
I was not the only one to do so.
Jack had a fabulous time. I love getting the kids out in nature. I feel like the older kids got something really special from spending so much time outside when we lived in Santa Rosa.