Tag Archives: Fairbanks

Panning for Gold at the El Dorado Gold Mine in Fairbanks, Alaska

By Lakshmi:

Who?  Anyone visiting Fairbanks with or without kids and wants to have a fun adventure or get a feel for panning for gold.

What? Gold panning at the El Dorado Gold Mine

How? The El Dorado Gold Mine is located at

1.3 Mile Elliott Hwy
Fox, AK 99709
Telephone: 907-479-6673
Toll Free: 1-866-479-6673

Adult Rates: $34.95
Child Rates (3-12): $22.95
Infants under 3: FREE

Why?  Throughout the evolution of mankind, there has been a fascination with the precious yellow metal, gold.  We are no different, proving us to be very qualified to be part of the human race.  Many years ago, the Swissotel in Chicago ran a promotion where they hid gold bars in select rooms and whoever found these could keep them.  We searched our room upside down, but left empty handed.  So during our visit to Alaska, when the opportunity to pan for gold came up, we could not resist.

The kids were excited as well and the thought of keeping whatever gold they found was enticing.  So off we trotted in our car to the El Dorado Gold Mines.  During a two hour guided tour, we rode on a replica of the Tanana Valley Railroad (the original transported miners across gold camps), passed through the Permafrost Tunnel where a miner demonstrated how gold is identified and mined and finally ended up at the much awaited spot to pan for gold.

We were handed our own poke filled with pay dirt right from the sluice box.  We started panning, continually seeking that much elusive gold.  Eureka!  Each of us did get to pan a microscopic portion of gold which was weighed and provided to us in a little bottle which occupies a place of pride in our home.

This adventure was worth every penny for a fun, anticipation filled hands on education on gold mining and panning.

Fairbanks to Denali, Alaska – A Visual Feast Aboard The Midnight Sun Express

By Lakshmi:

Who?  Anyone planning a trip to Alaska, plans to visit Denali and/or loves train journeys

What? The train journey from Fairbanks to Denali aboard the Midnight Sun Express.

How? The four-hour train journey from Fairbanks Depot to Denali commences at 8:15 am arriving at lunch time in Denali.

Why?  Alaska is truly a state like Hawaii where no matter where you look, the 360 degree vistas provided by nature are simply matchless.  I love train journeys and the opportunity to take one aboard a train with observation decks and huge wraparound windows facilitating ample viewing was just a bait waiting to be taken.

As soon as the train started pulling away from the station, we knew that every dime spent on this journey was going to be worth it.  As foodies, we kicked off our trip with a celebratory order of blueberry pancakes and the taste was simply divine.  It is in this wonderfully satiated state of mind that we started admiring the vistas passing by.  The added bonus?  Experienced staff who provided a good dose of history while pointing out wildlife and scenery along the way.  Our color infused visual kaleidoscope included mountains, streams, rivers, wildlife, flowers, the area where Christopher McCandless’s bus was found (prompting us to read Into the Wild) and of course every other natural aspect you see on the umpteen postcards on Alaska.

Taking train journeys is always awesome, but partaking in one that makes you seem almost unified with the nature surrounding you is surreal.

To learn more about the Midnight Sun Explorer, click here: