Cal State Parks Color Logo PNGWe have designed all of our programs to correlate with the California State Curriculum Standards for Science and Social Studies. All tours are $30.00 per class, up to 35 kids and teachers. Adult chaperones will need to pay $4.00 admission. Payment can be made when you arrive.


NOTE: Tour times are for a group of up to 35 students. Larger groups will need to be split, and the guided part of the tour may have to be shortened if you can not add more time to your visit. We usually need 1 hour per class, in a round-robin rotation.

Properties and Uses of Minerals & Rocks (Grades 2-4)

Students will examine granite specimens to discover the component minerals. Various properties of rocks and minerals (color, luster, density, streak) are introduced as students handle the specimens. Next, visual aids are used to discover how many things we need rocks and minerals for in our society. (If desired, soils can be stressed.) Short mine tunnel and mill tour discussing mining and milling techniques.
If desired, they can also do the Mineral Scavenger Hunt. (paper activity)
1 hour minimum is recommended for this tour.

Rock Types and the Rock Cycle & Gold Rush (Grade 4-6)

*Our most popular 4th grade tour!
Introduction goes over the three basic families of rocks and how they were formed. Then we discuss the rock cycle and the difference between rocks and minerals. Rock and mineral samples are examined by students. Handouts are available on rock cycle and common rocks. Next the group does a mine and mill tour. Finally students do the mineral scavenger hunt. The mine focuses on gold rush history and the role of mining in California’s history.
This tour requires about 2 hours to avoid rushing. The time can be reduced by 15-20 min. if hands-on activity is replaced by show and tell style rock cycle.

Mining & Gold Rush History (Grade 4-8)

Introduction will talk about how gold rush influenced history and development of California. Will stress how remote California was in 1848, not easy to survive in a wilderness. Routes taken to get here. Next we will do a fairly long tunnel and mill tour. Also a tour of West wing with focus on various early mining practices. Finally students will have a while to explore the museum on their own. After group is split, half will do tunnel tour, while other half does paper activity or tours west gallery mining displays. A set of questions relating to mining methods and the gold rush is available.
Note: request this option only if you do NOT want much about rocks and minerals, want mostly history.

Plate Tectonics and California Geology (Grades 6-12)

*Our most popular 6th grade tour!
Introduction will discuss how plate tectonics theory explains the formation of California and its varied geologic features. Basics of the rock cycle will be reviewed, and students will observe highly mineralized rock specimens and valuable ores. Finally we discuss how extensive metamorphism in local rocks has produced many valuable mineral deposits, including gold! The importance of modern mining and rocks as natural resources is also stressed during the mine and mill tour. A paper activity will help focus student learning as they explore the museum’s beautiful mineral & mining displays.
1.5 hours is recommended for this tour.

Strategies for Student Success
We encourage schools to plan a trip to the museum while the students are in the midst of studying rocks and minerals, or the gold rush. Students greatly increase their retention of information and enjoyment of their tour if basic concepts are introduced in class prior to their visit. Materials sent in the teachers packet are useful for preparing students.

Tours must be scheduled in advance by calling (209) 742-7625.