387 McKinney Mine Road
Little Switzerland, NC 28749
Emerald Village Description
The North Carolina Mountains are famous for gems, and Emerald Village is a fun place for kids to get their hands on some. The mine tour takes families through an underground historic mine where they can see original mine equipment. Kids enjoy quirky exhibits like a railroad exhibit with an animatronic conductor, an antique music museum, and minerals that glow under black light. A favorite activity for young treasure-hunters is the gem mining. There's nothing more exciting than sifting through a bucket of rocks to discover a shining gem.
Babies: This is a fine place to bring babies. The mine tour might not be the best for them, but there are many free things to see and lots of room outside to crawl and explore.
Toddlers & Pre-K: Check out the "hidden staircase," where kids can meet Emerald Village's friendly (not scary) ghost, Ellie Mae.
School-Age Kids: Besides all the gem-related activities, school-aged kids will enjoy walking through the miniature replica of a mining town and seeing how miners lived.
Pre-Teens & Teens: Although the displays may seem a bit cheesy, even teens will enjoy panning for gems. And some might like watching artisans cut their rough stones into jewelry.
- Polish up on your gem knowledge. The visit will be even more fun if, beforehand, your kids learn a little bit about the gems that have been found on the property. Some are aquamarine, emerald, garnet, and smoky quartz.
- Picnic. There's a picnic area, so feel free to bring food.
- Check the schedule on the website. Emerald Village is closed during some winter months.
- Bring a camera. There are some beautiful waterfalls on the property.
Just the Facts
Fees: Under $10
Recommended Time: 2 to 4 hours