Holidays at the Park returns to Empire Mine State Historic Park, Friday, November 25, from 11am-4pm. Celebrate the holidays early 1900s’ style with a full day of family-friendly activities including candle dipping, tin punching, historic lawn games, chestnut roasting, tasty confections, elf scavenger hunt, live music, holiday photo booth, and you guessed it…a visit from Santa!
Located four miles southeast of downtown Grass Valley, Empire Mine State Historic Park is the site of one of the oldest, deepest, and richest gold mines in California. In operation for more than 100 years, the mine extracted 5.8 million ounces of gold before it closed in 1956. The park contains many of the mine’s buildings, the owner’s summer home and restored gardens, as well as the entrance to 367 miles of abandoned and flooded mineshafts.
Every year the park is beautifully decorated for the holidays, including the Empire Cottage. Step into the historic cottage and get a special peek inside the life and home of the Bourn Family, owners of the mine. Built in 1897, this English manor-style home sits amid thirteen acres of expertly landscaped grounds that include lush lawns, a duo of sparkling fountains, a reflecting pond, a heritage rose garden, and more.
The Mineyard will also be buzzing with activity-take a peek in the Mine Shaft, the Machine, Wood, and Blacksmith Shops – and learn about the Cornish Miners. A visit to the Gift Shop is a must–especially at this time of year. Besides a fascinating selection of unusual geological gifts, jewelry, and mementos, items handmade by the volunteer blacksmiths will be available for purchase.
For those wanting to work off the Thanksgiving dinner and work up to leftovers, the park encompasses 856 acres of forested backcountry and fourteen miles of trails perfect for easy to moderate hiking or mountain biking. This time of the year, visitors usually can enjoy a final showing of fall color from the native oaks and big leaf maples, mushroom hunting and birdwatching. Download the iNaturalist app before hitting the trail to help inform your discoveries.
11am-1pm: Candle Dipping Activity
1-2pm: Visit from Santa
2-4pm: Tin Punching Activity