Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park
“Gold, Gold, Gold, Gold!” was the headline of a Seattle newspaper in 1897. Unfortunately, for the majority of Stampeders heading through Seattle in search of riches, few found gold in the Yukon Territory. Despite their frustrations, the 70,000 folks that purchased a year’s worth of supplies from Seattle businesses helped to make Seattle the large and prosperous city that it is today. In fact, Seattle’s population went from just 40,000 in 1890 to 240,000 by 1910. The Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park’s Seattle location offers families an inside scoop into this amazing era and chapter of local history.
Like most parks operated by the National Park Service, the Klondike Gold Rush Park offers school-age children the chance to earn Junior Ranger badges by completing a variety of hands-on activities. Junior Rangers are awarded location specific badges for their accomplishment. Summer activities include panning for gold demonstrations, walking tours of Pioneer Square Historic Center, and films on the gold rush.
Kids visiting the park are also encouraged to participate in the Notebook Artwork Project. Check at the visitor center front desk for a sketchbook and supplies like pencils, markers and crayons. Kid-created art, focused on their impressions of the park and its historic encounters, are often put on display on the website or even in the park’s rotating exhibit section.
During the off season (Sept-May), the visitor center is mostly self-guided. Touch screen computers show pictures, journals and accounts of gold-rush stampeders. Geocaching hunts, cell phone hunts and other walking tours are also available. The park is small, but offers a great history lesson and a fun afternoon activity.
The Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park is open year-round (except major holidays) and is free to visit.
Note: The National Park Service also operates a site at the end of this gold rush line in Skagway, Alaska.
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