No pun intended, but the Pine Mountain Gold Museum is a hidden gem for families in North Georgia. Located specifically in Villa Rica, it’s the perfect half day drive from Atlanta and offers educational fun for children. No matter what your kid’s ages are, there’s a great time to visit the museum. While the gold museum is open year round, check out everything there is to do, plus specific seasonal times of year to visit for extra holiday fun. On the surface, the museum looks like a little roadside stop, but it’s full of family fun and definitely worth visiting.
Long story short (and you’ll learn more when visiting the museum), the Villa Rica area was part of Georgia’s first gold rush. Pine Mountain, where the museum is located, was one of the original mining locations during the rush. They still find gold today in Pine Mountain and museum brings the area’s rich history to life through their exhibits.
The museum is a great budget-friendly attraction, with general admission adult tickets priced at $5 for adults, $4 for children and free for kids under the age of two (annual passes are also sold). Plus, they offer military and senior discounts. Gem mining and train rides are additional fees and dependent on the weather.
Check out these additional FREE Pine Mountain Gold Museum activities:
- Hiking Trails
- Live Animal Exhibits
- Bird Watching
- Mining Station Ruins
- Picnic Areas
Ticket prices for seasonal train rides are subject to change and I recommend checking out the Pine Mountain Gold Museum Facebook page to stay up-to-date for event information. The museum is stroller-friendly and onsite parking is free.
Best Times Of Year To Visit Pine Mountain Gold Museum
Once you visit the gold museum, you’ll understand why they sell annual passes. If you’re local to the area, it’s easy to want to visit again. There’s no bad time to visit, but it’s fun to see the holiday overlays that transform the museum during the holiday season. Tweens or teens will love a spooky train ride for Halloween and kids of all ages are enchanted by the holiday lights.
Year-Round Things To Do At Pine Mountain Gold Museum
Keep in mind, between the train ride and the gem mining, that several of the activities are outdoors. They’re shaded, but if you’re sensitive to the heat – you might want to keep that in mind when planning your visit. All year long, the museum hosts the self-guided tours, gem mining and the train ride.
The train ride is fantastic for younger kids and it’s a short 10-minute ride. Pass by old mining ruins, enjoy the nature and the full view of the mountain base. The gem mining is instructed and kids will certainly find some great gem pieces to take home. Both of those outdoor activities are weather dependent.
Go at your own pace while touring the museum, but there’s plenty for the kids to enjoy. The tour starts with a 16-minute video of the history of Georgia’s gold rush days and then guests walk through the remainder of the museum exhibits – including a bee keeping area (with local Pine Mountain bees).
Halloween Ghost Train At Pine Mountain Gold Museum
During spooky season, get your heart racing with a little bit of thrill on the Pine Mountain Gold Museum Ghost Train. The traditional train ride transforms with elaborate haunted house-style touches. Over twenty actors play parts for the Halloween theme to ensure that your heart is racing during the nighttime train ride.
An additional halloween touch is added to the gem mining as well, called “Ghost Panning.” Pan for a special hand picked selection of gemstones from around the world along with Halloween treats! This Halloween event is very popular and tickets can be purchased ahead of time to reserve your spot.
Winter Wonderland Train Ride (For Christmas)
For the holiday season, there’s nothing more magical than the joy of Christmas lights. Did you know that Pine Mountain Gold Museum has so many Christmas lights that they’re actually installed before Halloween? That’s right! The lights are hidden from guests during the Ghost Train, but the team is busy prepping for the holiday season starting in early fall.
Along with the train ride, guests can meet Christmas characters, snack on seasonal treats and enjoy holiday music. It’s a great way to get into the holiday spirit and kids under two are free. Tickets are sold online. While reservations are not required, they’re recommended. Due to popularity, the Winter Wonderland Train Ride offers a few time slots in the New Year too.
With the success of Halloween and Christmas themes, the museum has smaller events for other holidays throughout the year – like an egg hunt for Easter and special gem mining for St. Patrick’s Day. There’s never a bad time to visit the museum and the kids are bound to have a great time. They’ll leave with a few gems, great memories and a bit more knowledge of Georgia’s gold history.
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