Photo Credit: Foothills Focus

Cave Creek Museum To Open Its Popular Arizona Gold Mining Experience

The Cave Creek Museum is preparing to open the Arizona Gold Mining Experience, which is a special event that visitors and museum members can enjoy the second Saturday of every month.

The expansive outdoor experience begins in the museum’s lobby with a lively retelling of the Cave Creek mining district’s history. Guests then move outside for numerous demonstrations that showcase the hard rock ore extraction process for which Cave Creek is renowned.

The excitement builds with the operation of the amazing Golden Reef Stamp Mill and Tramway, Arizona’s only fully operational ten-stamp ore crushing mill. The 10, 1,000-lb. stamps slam down in synchronized motion to pound ore removed from the mine into fine gravel. The stamp mill was brought from its former location at the Golden Reef Mine on Continental Mountain to Cave Creek Museum, which has the only fully operational mining stamp mill in its original mining district in Arizona; it is located and located just five miles from its site on the mountain. The Golden Reef stamp mill runs the second Saturday of every month through May. The giant stamp mill also is connected to a working tramway and ore carts that carry the ore to be pulverized to the stamp mill.

The experience continues as guests peer into a mineshaft to show the blasting techniques used by hard rock miners. Next, onto the new blacksmith shop for a demonstration of the many skills used when parts and tools had to be fabricated onsite.

Guests are encouraged to try their luck at the gold panning station, where museum volunteers show visitors how to pan for ore and minerals just like the prospectors did.

Afterward, visitors enjoy a tour of the museum’s inside exhibits, including the Feast of Rocks (a mineral display) on loan from the Arizona Mineral, Mining Museum and Natural Resources Education Museum.

Other exhibits showcasing Arizona’s mining history include historical and archaeology; articles from Cave Creek’s mining and agricultural past; the historic first Cave Creek church; and the tuberculosis cabin, which is on the National Register of Historic Places as the only known existing tubercular cabin from that era.

The Arizona Gold Mining Experience opens at 10 AM-11:15 PM in the museum lobby and admission is $15 for adults and children under 12 are free. Reservations required.

Reserve tickets online at cavecreekmuseum.org to secure your ability to attend on your desired date as there is a limited availability. Visitors, who should plan on coming early, can check in at 9 AM. Culture passes are not accepted for this event. Groups and home school groups are requested to contact the museum office to schedule for special arrangements on another date.

The 52-year-old museum’s mission is to preserve the artifacts of the prehistory, history, culture and legacy of the Cave Creek Mining District and the Cave Creek/Carefree foothills area through education, research, and interpretive exhibits. The Cave Creek Museum is located at 6140 E. Skyline Drive in Cave Creek, Ariz., 480.488.2764. Open October through May.


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