Day Trip to the Goldfield Ghost Town and Museum in Apache Junction Arizona
Fun Family Day Trips are Easy to Find in Arizona
We recently took a family day trip to the Goldfield Ghost Town and Museum in Apache Junction, Arizona. It was actually our second time around but it had been about 7 years since our first trip and our youngest son was only 3 years old at the time so his memories of it were a little vague. We came across some pictures from our first trip and when he asked about where they were from we quickly knew the best way would be to show up in person.
We love taking short trips through-out the year rather than one expensive week-long family vacation. We actually get to see more places and it allows everyone to chose a favorite place to go or activity to do. It's not always free but this particular day, other than gas (which is definitely NOT free), admission is by donations only. We always donate and although that does add to the costs, it just does not feel the same as if you HAVE to pay that admission to a theme park or event of $59.99 per adult and a discounted rate of $47.99 for kids under 10 or something like that.
So that being said, we set out on our day trip so that we could arrive at opening of 10 a.m. so as to avoid the hottest part of the day. So join along for our journey into the ghost town to see if we found any gold!
Prospecting & Gold Claims Information, Gold Panning Equipment and More - If you are going to go on an adventure go prepared!
Want to learn more about prospecting and buying your own gold claims? This would be a great place to start.
First Stop Museum - Full of artifacts, history and more...
The museum is great! They have such a varied collection of items it's hard to see them all but they include things like minerals, gemstones, mining tools, gold mine maps, and they have several pieces from movies that have been filmed in or around the area. Just some really interesting pieces, some history, some just for fun, either way a good way to spend time with your family.
Don't Want to End Up Here! - Goldfield must not have had many criminals...
Goldfield-Gateway to the Legendary Superstition Mountains
Legend of the Lost Dutchman Mine
Although we did not visit the Lost Dutchman State Park today, we had been previously and it is great for hiking and camping or some good nature walking on the many paths through the brush and cacti . If you don't know the legend about the Superstition Mountains and Jacob Waltz, then let me share a little of the story.
He was actually a German immigrant who claimed to have found this legendary gold mine sometime around the 19th century somewhere in the Superstition Mountains which is very close to Apache Junction. He kept the location a secret and there are quite a few variations on what exactly happened to him or whether he discovered it alone or even if it was really in Arizona. So the legend grew over the years to carry many tales, making it one of the most famous "lost mines" in American History.
Many have since attempted to find the legendary gold and some have even died in their quest. Not sure if I would be willing to make that ultimate sacrifice on legend. Not saying I wouldn't pan for gold or even buy a mining claim but nothing so serious as to put my life or family's lives at great risk. But it does make for great stories as you find yourself walking through the old ghost town seeing the artifacts and pieces of history from both the Goldfield mine and the Lost Dutchman mine.
If you do buy a gold claim, you will need something a panning machine to separate it.
Family Fun, Gold Mines and Legends - What more could you ask for on a family day trip?
If you decide to take a family day trip out to the Goldfield Ghost Town or even to the Lost Dutchman State Park for some hiking or camping, be sure to watch these videos for some background information that will explain some of the history behind the stories and gold mining that left more than one ghost town in its path.
Do You Know What Any of These Pieces Are? - I will not proclaim to know and was hoping for some help in identifying some of them...Click thumbnail to view full-size
Gold Mining Claims - Risk or Reward?
Would you ever buy a gold mining claim?
Live Reptile Exhibit
Snakes, Lizards and more
Well if you don't like snakes then you might not want to go in here. Of course this was one of the most
important places to go in according to our youngest son, so... I guess you know who won that battle. Pretty
cool exhibit, glad they were inside and not out. Be sure to check out the larger pictures of the snake below, if you dare...
Snakes in the Reptile Exhibit - Goldfield Ghost TownClick thumbnail to view full-size
Panning for Gold - High gold prices + bad economy = vacation ideas?
Okay so maybe that equation looks a little funny but there are more and more people who are planning whole family vacations around places to pan for gold. It really doesn't take that much to make their trip profitable. Just food for thought...
Have you ever panned for gold
Family Day Trips or Long Vacations - I say vacations all year long!
Photo Â© tordon - all rights reserved
What does your family do for vacations?
Goldfield Mine - Mine Tours Entrance
There were so many cool buildings, structures and pieces of antique equipment at the Ghost Town, it is really hard to remember it all. I can't even imagine how they built some of this back when they did. I know some of it has been reconstructed but still... it is pretty amazing when you think about it.
Overall this was a wonderful family day trip with a little history, a little legend and some really cool stuff to see leaving us lots to talk about over the summer.