Mining played a huge roll in Montana’s history and you can learn all about it at the World Museum of Mining. Seems like my kids were struck with mining fever just like the miners who came here long ago and so they could not wait to get here to learn about the equipment and the techniques necessary to hit the mother lode. Walking around we saw the massive tools and machinery used to mine the various minerals that are extracted here, like copper, gold, and other metals. There is a makeshift mine with some rocks painted gold. My kids totally fell for it and ran breathless to me holding these massive gold “nuggets” It was just too cute for words, and I felt bad breaking their hearts telling them they weren’t real but were just there to illustrate what it was like. The kids and I talked about the metals and minerals that are mined here and what they are used for. We gained a whole new appreciation of some of the metals and minerals we take for granted. They also have a replica 1890’s mining town called Hell Roarin’ Gulch with 15 intact historic structures that you can walk into and explore. We checked out the general store and the doctor’s office as well as the creamery. It was really exciting to see them make connections between things we use today and the artifacts they were seeing from more than a century ago. Afterwards, I treated the kids to some gold panning by buying a sack of “paydirt” laced with a few gold flakes and let them pan away. Of course 90% of it ended up in the sluicing tub and we didn’t find the gold, but it was fun to try. It was just too funny watching the kids get really serious about finding it and give each other advice about their technique. Priceless!