School Tours

School Tour Information

Empire Mine State Historic Park offers two types of school tours, Guided School Tours, which are intended for 3rd-5th grade, and Self-Guided School Tours, which are intended for K-12 students. Students will experience the rich history of the Empire Mine from its origins to the present day, in a period setting replicating the heydey of the Empire Mine. Students will learn the significance and implications of the gold mining industry in the Nevada County area, throughout California, and the world. They will learn how California's gold rush and the gold mining industry helped shape and develop California today (economically, culturally, and technologically). Students will have the opporutnity to tour through the lush gardens and Estate grounds, which starkly contrasts with the austere and begrimed Mine and Mineyard. Touring Empire Mine State Historic Park will stay with students for a lifetime.

To make reservations for both guided and self-guided school group programs or to check availbility, please call 530-273-8522 or send an email to


(3RD – 5TH grades only, all others must self-guide)

Fees: $4 per student (subject to change)

Deposit of $80 required in advance, remaining balance due upon arrival

California 3rd - 5th grade tour fee is $4 per student, by advance reservation only. The signed reservation form and deposit must be received by the Park to confirm the tour. Currently the deposit is $80.  This 2 hour tour begins at 10:30AM and ends at 12:30PM. The program includes  the Mine Shaft and the “Illusion” (using darkness and flashing lights creates the illusion of movement into the mine), a visit to the Blacksmith shop, the mine yard  work station, a tour through the Visitor Center and a look at the Mine Model.

Reservations require a minimum of 30 days in advance and may be reserved a maximum of 180 days in advance. Guided school tours are offered weekdays September through early November and February through early June only. The minimum number of students required is 20, and the maximum is 90 (3 classes).

Please Note: All of these activities are outdoors and weather or other issues may change tour format. Empire Mine State Historic Park reserves the right to cancel or alter the above tour when necessary with limited or no notice.



(K-12th grade)

Fees: Free with advanced reservation & signed waiver form only, "Drop-in" visits are not permitted. 

California K-12th grade students and chaperones are admitted free of charge with an advance reservation and waiver form which must be signed by a school administrator and returned prior to the visit. Reservations are first come first serve and blackout days apply.  No weekend, summer or holiday/special event period visits are allowed. Self-guide groups may watch the Park movie; tour the Mine Yard, Mine Shaft, grounds and gardens on their own. School groups may not join nor disrupt, the daily public tours. School personnel are responsible for ensuring that students follow all park rules. 

Reservations require a minimum of 30 days notice, with a maximum of 180 days in advance. There is no minimum number of students, but there is a maximum of 90 students per visit (3 classes).



This volunteer-run store is available to school groups by advance reservation only.   All proceeds support the Park. A maximum of 10 students at one time is allowed inside the shop. A pre-filled, low cost “Memory Bag” is available by advance reservation to purchase as an alternative to the gift shop.

The Memory Bag includes: One pencil, Quartz rock, Siver/Gold ore, and a Empire Mine postcard.

Cost per bag: $2.50

Order: minimum of 2 weeks advance notice. 

Payment is due the day of the tour, cash, check (payable to EMPA) or by credit card. 

Email or call 530-274-1928 to order.

While the gift shop welcomes classes (by advanced reservation only) into the shop please remember that only 10 students with chaperone(s) are allowed in the shop at one time. Remember no access to the Gift Shop without advance Reservation.  This policy is strictly enforced. It takes on average 12-15 minutes per group of 10 students to browse and make purchases.  Schools must have enough time before their departure time for shop access. (A group of 30 students takes on average 45 minutes to shop.)

The Empire Mine Park Association, Staff and Volunteers thanks you for your support and understanding of our policies.

All information is subject to change. To make a reservation and confirm fees, you must call or e-mail the Park. All school tour requests are taken on a first-come-first-served basis. Only a certain number of school classes are allowed per day. Weekends holidays, and periods of high public visitation are not available for school tours. Additional date restrictions may apply. All information and fees are subject to change without notice.