Hangtown’s Gold Bug Park is an Educational and Fun Family Destination

lBy Heather Crivellone

Sacramento is full of historical sites and most of them stem from the famous Gold Rush era.  If you  have children in elementary school, then they may be teaching you a few things about the history of our area (if you didn’t already know).  One of the great things about living so close to downtown Sacramento and just a quick drive to the foothills, is that we can literally take our kids out of the “text books” and to some of the actual sites where history was made.

This time of year, everyone enjoys traveling to Apple Hill for the novelty of the “fall colors and sweet treats”.   However, if you take some time out of your family trip and head to Gold Bug Park and Mine you will find that your weekend getaway is not only fun, but educational.

Gold Bug Park is located 1 mile North of highway 50 in Placerville. Approximately 40 minutes from Sacramento and just minutes below Apple Hill.  At Gold Bug Park, you can “take a step back in time” and experience a real gold mine from the Gold Rush Days. 

Gold Bug Mine Collage 3

My children were thrilled to wear the “hard hats” and explore the dark, cool mine, where  we listened to a real California Gold Rush miner tell us about the discovery of gold and the tools they used to uncover the gems (through the audio tour).
We then enjoyed a hike around the park and up to Stamp Hill where we viewed different gems and the tools they used back in the days of the Gold Rush.  And of course, a visit to a real gold mine wouldn’t be complete without testing out our skills at some good old-fashioned “gold panning”.  For only $2 an hour, you can rent a pan and have your kids search for gold!  My kids were literally soaked by the end and excited to find some treasures to take home!

Gold Bug Mine Collage 2

Gold Bug Mine is a great destination for both education and leisure.  The beautiful scenery of the  hills (especially this time of year)  makes for a great picnic outing, and the history of the area is something you can’t replicate elsewhere.
If you are planning a trip to Apple Hill, I would highly suggest making the stop at Gold Bug Mine.
They are currently open November through March from noon to 4pm on the weekends only.
Admission into the mine is $5 for adults. $3 for youth ages 10-17. $2 for children ages 3-9. And children ages 2 and under are free.

We visited the mine a few months back, so if you are viewing my pictures and wondering why the children are dressed in shorts and not necessary “fall attire”, it was because it was a quick day trip we took at the end of summer… if you plan on going now, please dress for cooler weather.   Have fun exploring and learning about the famous California Gold Rush!


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