Thar’s gold in them thar’ hills! In all my years of living in Alabama I don’t remember learning that Alabama had its very own gold rush, do you? Not even in 9th grade Alabama history.
Well, there WAS a gold rush in Alabama in the 1830s, and my 10-year-old and I learned about it at Burritt’s Treasure Hunt at Gold Mountain.
After trekking up Monte Sano mountain, we entered Josie’s on the Mountain gift shop, where Charlotte greeted us and gave Princess Buttercup (my daughter’s online privacy moniker) a little draw-string bag to collect her gold.
According to the map brochure that Charlotte gave us, there are six log cabins on the tour that were actually the homes of Alabama settlers. In fact, the Eddins House pre-dates Alabama statehood. The cabins were relocated to the historic park from Ardmore, south Madison County, near Owens Cross Roads, McKay’s Hollow (near the foot of Monte Sano), Lester, and Nebo. Nebo was once the name of a town that you may know of — Madison!
Families imagine arriving on a stagecoach and pretend to select provisions at the General Store. Using the helpful map brochure, young prospectors walk through the cabins and barnyard to experience life on the Alabama frontier.
Along with the helpful map brochure, there are signs for young prospectors to read. These signs give the children clues as to where they can find gold nuggets to put into their bags to take home! The clues are good for enriching the children’s critical thinking skills. They are easy, but they do require thought for a good “ah-ha!” moment.
Near the back of the park grounds, the sweet scent of wisteria blended with fresh barnyard smells. We had arrived at the barnyard and the McCurdy Barn (circa 1890). My favorite animals were the adorable miniature horses. So cute!
We watched funny goats neglect their own hay and push their heads through the fence slats to chomp “better” hay on the other side.
There was a sweet little lamb standing near its mommy that we got to pat, and Princess Buttercup liked the hogs sunning in the April sunshine.
At the authentic-looking weigh-in station, Princess Buttercup’s math skills were challenged. She dumped her gold nuggets on the scale and balanced them against the correct weights in ounces. The treasure hunt was great fun for my daughter and took us about 1 ½ hours to complete. Afterward, she exclaimed, “That was fun!” Her favorite parts were the petting zoo and the search for gold, gold, gold! There’s even a sluice where you can pan for gold & gemstones yourself!
You’ve got to excuse us… We’ve got gold fever, and you will too if you go!
The gold rush display is recommended for ages 3 to 11 and will be there until the end of September.
Hours of Operation:
Tuesday – Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sunday: 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Buy at the museum store; the last ticket will be sold one-half hour before closing.
$8 Children & Students | $10 Adults | $9 Seniors (60+) & Military
Children two and under and Burritt Museum members are free
Stephanie was born and raised in rural south Alabama. She escaped L.A. in 1994, after college graduation. Stephanie met her best bud/hubby at a single’s group at church, and they have now been married for 15 wonderful years. Before having their daughter in 2004, Stephanie worked as a technical writer/editor. Since then, she is busy with wife-life and mommy-hood, freelance writing/editing, tutoring Asian students in English, and starting a blog about “Life and Culture with a Little Alabama Twist” at www.thewritesteph.com.