My family enjoyed our trip through time at Castle Dome Mine Museum. While my husband, 10-year-old daughter and I appreciated the historical aspects of the park, the younger children (ages 7, 5, 3, & 1) loved running around and experiencing the luxury of creaky boardwalks and old wood buildings. We spent about 2-hours here.
The mining town of Castle Dome has more than 50 buildings that have been restored to look much the way they would have when the town was booming in 1878. Signage on the walls tell stories of residents of the town and events that took place in the different buildings. The stories are fascinating snapshots of history. Some of the buildings even have mannequins portraying scenes from the town’s history, including a knife fight that ended in murder.
Your tour through the town is self-guided, which is great with kids. We were able to take our time in the dress shop, trying on old-fashioned hats and walk through the mine tunnel as many times as the boys wanted to. There are some fragile items within a child's reach, but most artifacts that are off-limits are behind display cases. My kids loved sitting in the old-schoolhouse desks and pretending they were students. There were actually quite a few building in which the children were able to play make-believe.
There are two parts to this museum: the town and the trail. The trail goes through an area where the mines were. You can look down into mine pits and see the debris left from the miners. There is also a graveyard in this area, original bunkhouses, cabins, and other buildings, and a mill. This section wasn’t as fun for the kids but it’s got some cool things so I wouldn’t skip it.
Everything here felt very authentic. There were no “extras” to try to get more money out of you (besides the small gift shop at the entrance). The history was fun for parents and kids. I would recommend taking a little trip out of the way to come here.
*The drive to the museum is not paved and you can’t see it from the highway so make sure to watch mile markers and signs.
*Make sure to visit when the weather is nice. There is almost no shade so it would be awful in the summer heat. Our November visit, on the other hand, was quite pleasant and we loved being outside.
*Bring water. There's a lot of walking and no drinking fountains.
*Wear good tennis shoe for walking and to protect your feet from rocks, cactus, and old debris left from miners.
*A baby carrier would be a better choice than a stroller due to uneven ground and steps.
Disclosure: This review is based on complimentary admission to the museum but the opinions expressed are completely my own