The family and I went to Reed’s Gold Mine in nearby Midland, NC (about 30 minutes outside of Charlotte, NC). It really wasn’t far from where we live in North Charlotte (by the University – UNCC) and we had a great time. They have a tour of the old mines and it was neat to go into the old gold mine and see the old tools they used to break apart the rock. We also saw mine carts that they would lug away the heavy ore in.
There was a museum that had all sorts of real gold so the kids could see examples of what people used gold for – cups, coins, jewelry, etc. And there was also a history of gold discovery in the United States along with examples of all the power equipment, pumps, contraptions and more used to ground up the ore, separate it and find the gold that was hidden in the rocks.
From what I could see in the mines and from the pictures the gold veins were much smaller and less productive then the ones they found later out in California that led to the California Gold Rush which was the most famous gold rush in the history of the United States. Nowadays most of the gold in the United States is found in Alaska in areas where only those that can brave sub zero temperatures, polar and grizzly bears and wolves can stand it and survive – you can watch the gold finder reality shows on the History Channel for more on this – some very interesting programming if you asked me.
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Reed’s Gold Mine
9621 Reed Mine Road
Midland, NC 28107
What makes it even more interesting, and especially for the kids is when, after watching some of these shows, you visit a real gold mine like Reed’s Gold mine in North Charlotte, NC and get to see how it really was done. They even let you pan for gold for $3 per pan. The panning was a little laborious, but fun nonetheless. It wasn’t uncommon to hear someone shout they had found a little fleck or piece of gold. There still is some gold in the creek bed they dig up daily to fill the pans with dirt.
My one son didn’t find gold in his initial pan, but he did find a tiny piece (about the size of a pin head) from dirt that was in the water area that someone else must have overlooked. So, if you go and try the panning, be careful and cautious so that you don’t dump out the gold. You won’t strike it rich as its only tiny flecks and small pieces of gold worth about $5 or less. No one found anything larger and when I asked the workers they said about 10 or so small pieces are found per day.
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He also let me on to a secret. They do pre-load the dirt with small flakes when there aren’t many findings to keep the kids happy. Also, they scour the dirt and creek for larger pieces which they then keep for themselves – I don’t think that is exactly fair, but they were helpful and then again he may have been joking when he said that, I don’t know.
Regardless, Reed’s Gold mine is a good time for kids and families and its cheap too – free admission and then only $3 per pan to pan for gold. I highly recommend that you watch one of the gold mining or digging reality shows on TV and then go to Reed’s gold mine as you will find it that much more interesting. We also lucked out as towards the end a nearby Roush Ford Mustang collectors association came with about 30 Roush mustangs. There was everything from stage 1’s to stage 3’s and more.
I included some of the pictures of these awesome cars so you can see exactly what we saw and did during our fun trip to Reed’s Gold mine. Definitely go if you get the chance – it’s very educational and a great time for the whole family!