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Gold Rush Program

Learning about the past...changing the future

couple photoThe Coloma Outdoor Discovery School's Gold Rush program is designed for fourth graders, and is correlated with the California Content Standards. Our intention is to celebrate the culture, music, and folklore of the California Gold Rush while using lessons of the past to awaken students' interest and sense of responsibility for the environment.

At CODS, students live the Gold Rush: stories, songs, skits, and characterizations all help to convey the social and economic community of early Coloma. Students will walk in the footsteps of the 49ers and experience some of the challenges of surviving away from home.

All of the educational programs at the Outdoor School operate around the concept of respect: for nature, oneself, and others.

Three-day program highlights:

• Where did the 49ers come from? How did they get here?
• Did most Argonauts strike it rich? How does one identify real gold?
cornbread picture

"Greenhorns" create a Gold Rush encampment with the help of a "Sourdough".

Young miners will get hands-on experience creating a shelter, washing laundry, baking cornbread, and of course, panning for gold. Then, partner up for a foot stompin' good time at the Hoe Down!


• How did the local people use plants in their daily lives?
• Why was the American River important in the gold discovery?
children hiking Students will continue their adventures into the town of Coloma and the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park. Students will also learn about the plants and animals of the Sierra foothills on a three mile hike! That evening a guest presenter will bring to life native and local lore.


• What were some of the effects of the Gold Rush on Coloma?
• How are we similar to the 49ers? How are we different?
storyteller photo On the final day, the students will talk about the miners of today—themselves! Students will learn that what they need to survive today hasn't changed much... or has it? We hope that the new "sourdoughs" will return to their homes with some ideas of how to show respect to the environment where they live.

For a complete Gold Rush program schedule, CLICK HERE.

Pricing for Gold Rush Programs

One day program per participant ....$90.00*
Program begins at 10:00am and concludes by 4pm the same day. Participants receive lunch in a gold pan that they keep as a souvenir.  Parent chaperones pay $20.00 each for lunch & participation.

Two day program per participant ......$160.00*
Program begins at 10:30am (Mon/Tues) or 11:00am (Wed/Thurs) and concludes by 1:00pm the next day. One night's accommodations, dinner, breakfast and lunch included.  Parent chaperones pay $55.00 each for room, board & participation.

Three day program per participant ....$200.00*
Program begins at 10:30am (Mon/Tues) or 11:00am (Wed/Thurs) and concludes by 12pm (Tue/Wed) or 12:30pm (Thurs/Fri) on the third day. Two night's accommodations, two dinners, two breakfasts and two lunches included.  Parent chaperones pay $75.00 each for room, board & participation. 

Four day program per participant .....$285.00*
Program begins at 10:30am and concludes by 12pm on the fourth day. Three night's accommodations, three dinners, three breakfasts and three lunches included. Parent chaperones pay $95.00 each for room, board & participation. 

One teacher per classroom is welcome to attend free of charge.  Additional teachers are subject to the parent chaperone fee.

*Price variations will occur for reservations made through a tour agency.

Note:  Fees include room and board, instruction, program supplies, evening presenters, and admission to the State Park.  Transportation from your school to the Coloma Outdoor Discovery School is an additional expense.  Direct costs to parents vary as student fundraising, PTA assistance, and district contributions may offset program costs in some school districts.