After a morning of PlayDoh on the deck of the cabin, we headed out to the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad for a ride on a steam train.
On our way back from the train ride, we decided it would be fun for the kids to pan for gold at the little gold panning kiosk at the railroad. Since it was close to lunch time, I asked the gold panning guy if he could do the condensed, child-friendly version of the gold panning lesson. He looked at me like I had just asked a master chef to whip up some Easy Mac & Cheese. He said that the whole process took around 20 minutes, and afterwards, they would really know how to pan for gold. Come on. They are 2, 3, 4 and 5 years old. Granted, in this economy, I can see where it might be helpful to know how to pan for gold. But since I'm not currently considering hiring my kids out as child laborers, I don't think they really need to leave this experience with actual gold panning skills. I felt pretty confident that if the kids just got to stick their hands in the water, shake a pan around a little and leave with a tiny vile of REAL GOLD, we'd all be happy.
After talking the gold panning guy into a 15 minute version of the program, we set the kids up at the makeshift riverbed, and he set forth showing us how to pan for gold. You can see how excited everyone is to get started... This is probably because it took around 5 minutes of explanation before the kids were allowed to dip their hands in the water.
Finally, after the gold panning really got going, the kids' interest peaked as they could see the little flakes of REAL GOLD. Eventually, we left with our goods, and avoided hitting the wall - thanks to the snacks we brought with us for the train ride. If there is one thing I've learned as a Mom...always bring provisions.
We ended the day with Popsicles. Hopefully we will be able to find the little viles of gold somewhere in the cabin, or maybe the kids will forget all about them...yah, that was worth it.