It been quiet in hear lately. I am guessing with the return of cold weather that might change.
I am hoping you all might help me with some ideas. I am starting a business to help make ends meet. It is a portable gem mining business. Now I have seen these and they seem kinda boring. I want to make it exciting and fun for the kids and big kids(adults). Here is what I have done so far. I have the trailer which is an old pop-up camper minus the interior and canvas and pullouts. I am theming it to look like a prospectors shack. I am adding some canvas sides. Inside there is a wood barrel with a metal wash tub on top. This is what feeds the water system and hides the pump. The water is pumped into a trough where it cascades over into a sluce that feeds back into the wash tub. I am adding other touches like a crate with T-N-T, old lanterns and I am thinking an old industrial light from the ceiling.
What I am hoping to you all can help me with is a story to add to it to make it fun. I was thinking I could dress like a crazy old prospector and be silly with the kids. Maybe light a stick of dynomite and have someone hold it.
I am open to suggestions everyone. Designing things I can do but I am weak on my writing skills.
If you have any other theming ideas I would love to hear those too. Maybe I change it to digging for moon gems with aliens or and ancient tombs searching for the kings jewels.
Theres a guy on here "steamboatwillie" who i have worked with and hes a great writer...ill tell him to buzz in and see if he can throw some advice your way. I have a friend that has a gem panning attraction and he does really well with it, especially with school groups...Good luck with it!
Thanks for the reply. I look forward to any help I can get. Life is crazy for my family right now or I would attempt writing. I am hoping to involve my wife and daugthers with this and make it a family thing. We just found out my wife has cancer so I am hoping this will make us closer and help with the bills. I just keep telling myself it is in Gods hands not mine. I just follow where I think he is leading me and things for this just seem to be falling into place.
That sounds like a cool idea! My little sister loves rocks. You could make people wear the mining hats with the big forehead lights turned on. Make sure you have loads of fake gold for the little ones, they love anything shiny.
I remember going to a rock and fossil show when I was little and digging for cheap bits of rock. I got a Herkimer diamond, a tiny unpolished emerald, and a few other things. I was very happy to have anything called "diamond" or "emerald", even though I knew they were worth almost nothing! When I was a kid, I was crazy for any rock that was interesting -- I found rocks with tiny spiral-shelled crustacean fossils, a dark purple glassy rock (that my mom told me was probably industrial biproduct), geodes cut in half, rocks of interesting shapes and textures, quartz rocks... Over the years, I have even added an uncut opal, a fossilized mammal shoulder blade (maybe deer), puffer fish mouths, part of a fossil leg bone, many shark teeth and manatee ribs (and even one piece of copralite -- a.k.a. dino poo, found at a phosphate mine... where I also found quicksand!). I never liked the agates dyed crazy colors... but there are so many fascinating things in the world to see! My friend will spend hundreds of dollars on vacation just to "mine" trilobytes. Many people love "beach glass" and make jewelry out of it. Real rocks have stories, and it is fascinating to find something weird and then learn about it... I hope that you have lots of success with your dig, and that you enjoy working with the kids and seeing how fascinated they are with their finds! 🙂
Really sorry to hear about your wife. Keep your faith strong. I think you're right about the timing of the other things falling into place. Keep pursuing them and keep your minds occupied on those things, too, for a sort of break from the other stuff. I'll help with some ideas where I can - sounds like you've got a great start on it already. I'll think through it more during my drive times this week and get back to you.
(sorry to all I've been away for a while - too many hours working on stuff to pay the bills, not enough working on my themed attraction writing projects. I'll try to get more involved in discussions again. This is a great community of people!)
I've been jotting down a bunch of "blue sky" type notes and some questions.
So far, it involves a group of people (your family) that is on a journey of dreams. The time period is around 1850, when everyone is heading out West for the Gold Rush, and leaving behind a fortune in gems. There is plenty to go around, but help is needed (by the participants) to find the gems in this location before a gang in hot pursuit tries to steal the claim as their own.
I like the ideas you have for remodeling the prospector's shack. I think it could be enhanced even more (involving more senses - more experiential) with a CD sound track coming from inside, with sounds of a running creek and a light, mellow guitar/banjo/fiddle... There could also be rustling around and banging of pots and pans before the grand entrance.
Other parts (in addition to the Prospector) could be a mercantile/shop owner, a school marm, a traveling musician... Any parts played by anyone, depending on how each member of your family wants to do that, or trading off each time, even.
There could be a gem-sniffing dog involved (off chasing rabbits if you don't have one), with the occasional chicken bone thrown into the mix with the gems.
Other educational materials could also be included - geology, gemology, history..., and different things for different age groups.
This is just a rough start - any collaboration is welcome.
I'll do more research into the time period, location...
(I also liked the idea of the king's treasure - they use that at Legoland in CA. The Prospector just seems more fun, to start.)
There's lots of treasure in them thar' hills!
God bless! I hope that your wife gets better soon, and the doctors work with you on the money so that the payment plan is managable...
P.S. It might be interesting to provide the opportunity to learn other crafts of the period that might be common on the frontier -- ex. carding wool, making candles, making butter, sampling/making food that a family headed west would have eaten on the trail, etc. Many "frontier crafts" are relatively cheap materials-wise, and provide kids with an opportunity to understand what daily activities were for a real family before modern conveniences.
P.P.S. Here's some interesting information, maybe some stories that could fuel the imagination:
By the way RCJ, PM me your email address and I will get you in touch with my good friend in NC who has been doing the gem panning thing for about 4 years now, he might can point you in the right direction on some aspects of operating it. Did you already choose what company youre going with on the equipment? I think he went with a company out of canada, they exhibit at IAAPA every year, very nice people.
It has been a crazy time. Progress has been slow. With weather and doctors I havent progressed very far on it. I am trying to get back into finishing it. There is a lcal event the end of March that I am hoping to be ready for. Keeping my fingers crossed. I look forward to hearing your ideas.
My wife is doing okay. As best as can be expected with the chemo. No worries as God will get us through.
everyone enjoy the coming spring and warm weather.
Good to hear an update from you. Keep hangin' in there. I'll try to post something more complete (as far as a backstory) very soon. I've been going through my notes again this week on a few different projects, and will move this to the top of the list.