Have you ever wondered what kind of work went into creating that diamond gemstone necklace your kiddo got you for Mother’s Day? It just so happens that there’s a place in Southern California that answers this question. At Oceanview Mine, your kids will dig for their own treasures and may even make their own jewelry instead of buying it.

The Oceanview Mine is a treasure trove (literally) of gemstones located in the North County city of Pala. In just a short drive up the road, you’ll find a great educational experience that will allow your kids to learn all about California’s rich mining history, while reaping all of the benefits of it with only a little bit of work. The mine is open Thursday, and Saturday – Monday; and reservations are required.

boywithgemPhoto credit:  Oceanview Mine Facebook page

The Lay of the Mine
You don’t even have to plan out your day because the friendly staff at Oceanview Mine has already done it for you. Once you arrive at the mine, you’ll attend an orientation where kids learn all about the best ways to find gemstones. They’ll also explain exactly how much dirt to screen through at a time and what kind of stones you should be on the lookout for.

Punctuality is important at an active dig site, so you’ll need to make sure that you’ve corralled the kiddos and arrive promptly by 10:30 a.m. for orientation. Late arrivals only cut into the dig times available for other guests, so it’s important to respect other people’s schedules while you’re here. Look at it as a mini lesson in time management skills for kids.

gemstonesPhoto credit: Oceanview Mine Facebook page

Finding the Jewels
After orientation it’s time to find some gems! The Oceanview Mine is home to a rich deposit of tourmalines, morganites, kunzites and more, and you’ll have a chance to search for all of these during your dig. Each miner is given a large bucket and heads to The Rock Pile, a big pile of dirt which is full of matter pulled out of the mines. Once your bucket is full you’ll take it back to your table to sift for a variety of gemstones. Anything you find, you keep!

The Last Bucket
The final sift begins shortly before 3 p.m. when the staff calls, “Last Bucket.” Little archeologists will be given a chance to fill up their buckets one last time and hopefully find a few more pretty gems to take home. After you tidy up, you can either head on home or stay the night for another go at it tomorrow.

familyatminePhoto credit:  Oceanview Mine Facebook page

The Miner’s Inn
Need a place to stay while you’re visiting for the weekend? Oceanview Mine is equipped with an outdoor pavilion with picnic tables and a cooling system to keep you refreshed and relaxed throughout the day. Best of all, they also have their very own inn on site, called the Miner’s Inn. It houses up to four people and is situated at the top of Chief Mountain, providing breathtaking views of Tourmaline Queen Mountain and the Pala Valley. Those who stay at the inn will receive 25 percent off the price of the digs.

Insider Tips for Your Visit

  • Kids should be at an age where they can actively participate in the “mining” process. Staff will frown on those sitting on The Rock Pile for a long period of time. You need to be continually digging (or taking a break at the picnic tables).
  • When you arrive, put your lunch on a table in the pavillion so it won’t overheat in your car. The pavilion is covered and has a mister cooling system.
  • There is an outdoor sink on the bathroom building where you can wash your hands or fill a water bottle. The bathrooms are large and can be used for changing clothes after you’ve gotten dirty digging for gems.

37304 Magee Rd.
Pala, Ca. 92059
Online: digforgems.com

Cost: $60/adult and $50/kiddo (11 years and younger). There is a family 4-pack discount available.

Have you been to Oceanview Mine? Tell us what you thought about your dig in the comments below!

– Ben Kerns