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.

For more information, or to check availability, call (530)273-8522 or e-mail empire.mine@parks.ca.gov   or schools.empire@parks.ca.gov        


GUIDED SCHOOL TOURS

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

Fees: $4 per student/parent chaperone, teachers are free. Fees are due when you arrive on the day of your tour and must be made payable to California State Parks.

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

Guided School Tours run for two hours beginning at 10:30AM and ending at 12:30PM. This program covers the Mine Shaft with a simulation of what it would be like to travel into the mines followed by a visit to the Blacksmith Shop. Once in the Mine Yard, the students will participate in an activity to learn about the jobs performed by the miners of the Empire. All Students will get to visit the Visitor Center.

A signed Registration Form, signed by a school administrator, must be received by the Park in order to confirm your group’s tour date. Reservations are first-come-first-served and blackout days apply.  There are no school groups during the weekends, summer or holidays/special events. Please check with the Park for availability.

Reservations require a minimum of 30 days in advance and may be reserved a maximum of 365 days in advance. Guided school tours are offered on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, October through early November, and April through early June only. The maximum number of students is 60 (2 classes) per day.

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.


SELF-GUIDE SCHOOL VISIT

(K-12th grade)

Fees: Free with advanced reservation & signed Reservation Form only. Drop-in visits are not allowed free admission.

Students and chaperones are welcome free of charge with an advance reservation and signed reservation form, which must be signed by a school administrator and returned prior to the visit. Reservations are first-come-first-served and blackout days apply.  There are no School Groups during the weekend, summer or holiday/special events.

Self-Guided School 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 365 days in advance. Self-guided tours are offered on Thursdays only, September through early November, and April through early June. There is no minimum number of students, but there is a maximum of 60 students per visit.


EMPIRE MINE PARK ASSOCIATION GIFT SHOP:

The interpretive store, operated by Sierra Gold Parks Foundation, is available to Guided school groups by advance reservation only. School groups that do not reserve the Gift Shop at the time of their reservation may not have access to the store. A maximum of 10 students at one time is allowed inside the shop. Self-guided tours may not have access to the Gift Shop. Both self-guided and guided groups may pre-order special interpretive Memory Bags for $2.50 each. Checks for Memory Bags must be made out to Sierra Gold Parks Foundation.

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.

For more information, or to check availability, call (530)273-8522 or e-mail empire.mine@parks.ca.gov   or schools.empire@parks.ca.gov