Teach Kids about the Gold Rush : Marshall Gold Discovery Park in Coloma, California

*Keep reading to learn more about Marshall Gold Discovery Historic State Park’s policies during the California stay home order.

Living History in Northern California

I think one of the best things about living in Northern California is all of the beautiful scenery and history around us. From where my family and I live, we can take a short drive in any direction and be at the ocean, or the mountains, or the city. I really wouldn’t change it for the world!

Marshall Gold Discovery Historic State Park in Coloma, California

My husband and I find so much joy sharing these beautiful places and taking educational outings with our kids. One of our favorite local places is Coloma, just a short drive up hwy 49 for us, and spending time at Marshall Gold Discovery Historic State Park . The last time he & I made this trip before taking our kids, I was newly pregnant with our oldest…so about 8 years ago! We were definitely due for a visit!

Coloma is a beautiful small town in the Foothills of El Dorado County in Northern California. It’s nestled in the middle of gorgeous rolling green hills and sits along South Fork American River!

Teach Kids about The Gold Rush

The discovery of gold in Coloma by James W. Marshall in 1848 is *THE* event that sparked the Gold Rush in California, and in return the start of the growth of the west!

Marshall Gold Discovery Historic State Park is a site rich with history, which you can read more about here , offers live demonstrations and priceless artifacts and ruins. Make sure to add this educational trip to your list of must see places in California!

Junior Rangers Program

Our first stop upon arrival is always the visitor center, which also houses the self guided museum. The volunteers working the front desk are always helpful, kind, and eager to answer any questions.

If you have little ones in tow, be sure to ask about the Junior Rangers program! You’ll receive a pamphlet with activities and challenges to complete as you walk the grounds. You’ll also learn about the history of the park, native plants and animals, the indigenous people that once inhabited the land, and more!

Historic ruins of the old Jailhouse
Indigenous Grinding Stones
Historic Artifacts around the grounds
Painted Mural inside the Chinese Wah Hop Store

The Marshall Gold Discovery Historic State Park Gift Shop

Be sure to end your visit with a stop at the gift shop! There are tons of local treasures, books for every age, trinkets, candies and more!

Visiting During Covid

While we took our most recent trip in February of 2020, and before the stay home orders and lock downs that followed, Marshall Gold Discovery park IS STILL OPEN with modifications – such as masks, distancing, and temporary demonstration closures. They are taking all precautions to still be able to offer a safe place to explore history and the outdoors during these times. * Please check their Marshall Gold Discovery Historic State Park website here for the latest news and updates needed to plan your trip!

Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park: Contact Information & Directions

*from their website


Gold Discovery Museum and Visitor Center

Gold Rush Mercantile 

Operating Hours and Fees

Day Use Fees
$10 per car
$9 per car (seniors 62 and older)

Day Use Areas 
Day after Labor Day Holiday to October 31st
8 am – 6 pm

November 1st to February 28th
8 am – 5 pm

March 1st to Friday before Memorial Day Weekend
8am- 6pm

Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend

9 am – 4 pm
7 Days a Week

Visitor Center
9 am – 4 pm
7 Days a Week

Winter Hours:
November 1st- February 28th
9 am – 4 pm

Summer Hours:
March 1st – October 31st
10 am – 5 pm

 Closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.


310 Back Street
Coloma, CA 95613

Mailing Address:
PO Box 265
Coloma, CA 95613

The park is located in Coloma, California on Highway 49 between Placerville and Auburn.

From US Highway 50 traveling East: Take the Ponderosa exit, turn left on South Shingle, take a right on North Shingle. Continue on North Shingle for 10 miles (North Shingle will turn into Green Valley Road, then Lotus Road). Lotus Road ends at CA HWY 49. Turn right on Highway 49 and go 1 mile to Coloma.

From US HWY 80 traveling East: Take the Elm Ave. exit and turn left. Take a left on CA HWY 49/CA HWY 193/South El Dorado Street. Continue on Highway 49 for approximately 13 miles. Highway 49 runs through the middle of Coloma.

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