Gold panning is a simple activity that kids of all ages can participate in. It always seems to make people feel good to have an old time adventure. Even a small one. There is something satisfying about reaching back in time and taking a moment to do something so simple. Although, panning for gold didn't start as something so simple and soothing.
When panning for gold is mentioned, most people will immediately think of the California Gold Rush of 1849. This method of searching for pieces of gold is actually a very old practice dating back to ancient Rome. To pan for gold, dirt from the edges of rivers and streams are scooped into a wooden or metal pan. Once there is dirt in the pan, along with water, gentle sloshing back and forth causes the light weight dirt to flow out leaving the heavier rocks, and possibly gold, behind for sorting and collection. Once gold was discovered in an area, such as in California during the big rush, people flocked from all over the country to fight for a spot where they could find their own gold with the panning process. People got greedy, so trouble surrounded those times, where the promise of great fortune seemed to be right at everyone's finger tips. It became very stressful times indeed.
Whether you have done this a thousand times, or it will be your first, you can count on an old west museum like The Autry to host days of gold panning. Of course, it won't be a fight to find the gold here. Everyone will get a fair chance to pan for gold. Travel “over the hill” to Griffith Park and find yourselves some gold on Saturday's and Sunday's from 11:00 to 3:00. The rest of the museum is open from 10:00 to 5:00, with some very wonderful and educational exhibits to explore.
The panning activity is free with museum admission.
- Adult tickets cost $10
- Children aged 3-12 are $4.
- Children under 3 are free.
- Students and seniors (60) are $6.
- With ID, active military, peace officers, veterans and park rangers are free.
- All AAA members save 10%.
If you are part of the EBT program through the state, remember, most museums allow your family in for free when you show your card. This museum participates in the program.
If time permits, have lunch at their cafe, Crossroads West. The food is very good. The drinks are high quality. The décor is comfortable with a touch of western. It is a great place to have lunch.