We take pride in exposing our kids to a wealth of learning activities and information, and have done so for their entire lives. A little over five years ago we took a winter vacation to the Wisconsin Dells for some swimming and general ‘get out of the cold’ fun. One afternoon we browsed the open stores downtown and came across a small store that sold rocks & gems. They offered a fun treat – the ability to ‘pan’ your own gems out of a bucket of sand.
Now that they’re older, they have gravitated away from watching cartoons on TV to some of the more reality-based shows. Along with Pawn Stars and American Pickers, one of their favorites is Gold Rush, which features different teams of people hunting for gold in Alaska. They were fascinated by the amount of work necessary to pull such small amounts of gold flakes out of the ground, and I believe developed a new respect for the rarity of the metal.
But alas, we’re in Iowa, and the nearest place to dig for your own gold is over 1,000 miles away. Fortunately we were sent a new product to try out that fits this bill perfectly! A complete panning kit! Even better, it is branded by the Discovery Channel and Gold Rush!
Everything we need to recreate the experience at home. Included are a pan, storage vial, snuffer bottle and a 1lb. bag of “pay dirt”! Registering on their site takes you to a good video showing you how to pan.
We followed the instruction to a “T”, got down to the black sand and sure enough, we could see tiny specks of gold glittering back at us.
The camera really can’t pick them up well, but they’re there. Not flakes, but tiny dust-like particles that definitely glitter back at you when the light hits them just right. Our inexperienced hands weren’t able to retrieve them (this time) into the vial, but we set aside the dirt for trying again later.
I should note that since we have two kids, we divided the dirt into two lots so the above reflects only half of what you receive.
If you’re huge fans of the show, be sure to follow Gold Rush on Twitter! Here’s a quick list of their individual accounts: