Summer Adventures: (Mini Vacation 2017) Seneca Caverns in Bellevue, Ohio (Part 2, Gem Mining)

This is part 2 of my Seneca Caverns post. To start at the beginning and read about the caverns, check out my Seneca Caverns Part 1 post. It was pretty cool to check out! This part of my post is about the Caveman Mining activity our two boys tried out. If you want to do this activity, you have to purchase a gem bag which if I remember correctly were about $10 each. Or you can pay $13 for a child ticket instead of $8 for a child ticket and they can get a gem back after the tour. Which means you are only paying $5 for the gem bag. They only offer this deal with a child tour ticket.

They have this water tower that is connected to the sifting system. Now, I feel like I have to be a little more clear so as not to mislead anyone. There isn’t any actual mining involved. They do not allow kids to take picks and shovels into the cavern to do any actual mining. But they do get to sift their gem bags. My boys picked out their Paydirt Gem Bags after the tour and one of the ladies in there took them out to explain to them how it all works.

The gem bags are full of dirt but inside all that dirt is a bunch of really cool rocks. They take a sifting tray out and sit it on the sifting thing-a-ma-bob (I’m sorry guys, I’m really not sure what it’s called or what the correct term for it is) and then they dump in their bag of dirt and gems.

After they dump it all in, they take their tray and move it back and forth into the water removing the dirt.

After the dirt is removed, they can pick out all the treasures that were in their gem bags. They can sift as many times as they need to uncover all their cool rocks. They gave them a bag so that they could put all their rocks inside to make it easy to take them home. I also thought it was a pretty cool souvenir because on those little bags it has their logo on them.

They were also given a card about the size of an over sized glossy postcard that has all the illustrations of all the rocks they could have found. That way they could identify them. And on the back of the card it gives information about all the rocks and how they are formed. Our youngest got really excited because he thought he found gold. But he learned it was actually Pyrite which is known as “fools gold” because the rock looks like there are chunks and specks of gold in it. He thought it was pretty cool to learn that Pyrite is an iron material that occurs in ore deposits. He was pretty excited he found Emerald though. Our other son found Amethyst in his.

When we got to the hotel and settled into our room, they spent quite a bit of time identifying their stones, gems and rocks and learning about them. They loved it and we thought it was pretty cool ourselves. They have a thing about rocks and other than the rocks in our driveway or rocks they find at the river, cave rocks was a different experience for them.

The rocks in the gem bags are not synthetic. They are all natural rocks that are found in cave systems. Some of them may have come from Seneca Caverns but some may not have. Regardless, they are natural rocks found in caves and caverns.

Our whole experience at Seneca Caverns was pretty awesome!

More of our family mini vacation will be posted soon!

Related Blog Posts

Seneca Caverns Part 1 – About the Caverns and our Tour

Seneca Caverns Part 2 – About the Caveman Mining/Sifting Activities (you are here)

Lake Erie & Miller Ferry – About Miller Ferry and our ride to and from Put In Bay

Exploring Put In Bay – Things to do and things to see 

Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center at Put In Bay – Things to do and Attractions

The Butterfly House at Put In Bay – Walk among hundreds of beautiful butterflies in the garden greenhouse

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