Want you to know how much my whole family (3 generations) enjoyed our visit last week. Reading some of the reviews about how hokey it was (esp with the cost), we were unsure, but decided to give it a try. Its not much when you pull in, but you will note right away they are orhganized with plenty of friendly and helpful staff to get you going. Even water for my "granddog" who had to stay in the car. The train ride was a big hit with musical Earl and the quality narrator who told us of how gold was mined. My grandson loved the train. We all found gold in our pan...which we go to keep for no added cost. It was small, but havnig to work for it was the fun part. The extra help of the staff who consistently were personable and patient with us "amateurs" sure went a long way! Yes, the reviews are right...its "touristy" but informative in a good way. We had to wait for the train ride back. But it was easy to wait...never felt pressed to buy anything, had plenty of free cookies and cocoa, interesting exhibits, a quality gift store, and another narration to the short trip back. In the end we were all impressed with the way they conducted the visit, with plenty of helpful staff, clean, and a positive family-friendly environment. Definitely a fun memory for all of us.
This tour was part of our Holland America land tour upon arriving in Fairbanks. We enjoyed a very nice hot lunch of "miners stew" prior to taking the tour. The dredge itself is incredibly hugh and upon touring the interior of it you walk away asking yourself how they managed to make such a machine work during that time period. These dredges plowed valleys in Alaska searching for gold and amazingly they did it with seemingly great efficiency. The conclusion of the tour provides for each visitor to pan for gold and I can't recall one person not having actually found some small amount of gold at the conclusion (no, they don't plant it before giving you the material). In my view this is one of those side trips in which both adults and children will thoroughly enjoy. I know my wife and I did as did my parents. Definitely worth the time and the cost was reasonable.
We arrived at the gold dredge on a tour bus. We were greeted by a cute enthusiastic dredge employee who escorted us to the beginning of the tour to see a short film. We then were able to walk through the dredge, ask questions and pan for gold (dust), followed by a nice lunch and a stop in the gift shop. Was a pleasant experience.
This was a very family friendly place and the people even took the time to help the kids "pan for gold". The tour of the dredge was a bit long, but a very good experience, especially for someone who has no idea how that thing worked. They have discounts for military, Alaska residents and students. Lunch was very good too.
We had fun on our visit. It was interesting learning about mining in the area. We were able to see lots of old mining equipment as well as fossils found during the mining process. The food there was excellent as well.
An intresting and informative tour I would take the tour again with friends and relitives, after you do the tour you get to pan for gold, and most of the time you do get gold that are from the tailings from the dredging. Our guide answered all the questions that we had and it was real enjoyable.