fun things to do with kids in virginia city nevada   Travel for Kids
united states
  | nevada | northwest

Virginia City

Virigina City mine
Virginia City was the ultimate boom town. Founded in 1859 with the discovery of gold, the real bonanza was silver, the vast Comstock Lode that produced over 400 million. Thousands of fortune hunters flocked to the city, including Mark Twain, who was a reporter for the local newspaper. Today, traveling up to Virginia City through rocky canyons dotted with sagebrush, kids can step into the wild west, where the Virginia & Truckee railroad can be heard in the distance and the wind blows down the mountains.
Virginia City Photo Album
Virginia & Truckee Railroad
  Virginia & Truckee Railroad – The V& R Railroad was a short line, but incredibly important to Virginia City. The train transported gold and silver ore for processing down to the valley below and brought up timber for mine construction, along with supplies. In the 19th century, the railroad operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
    Take a train ride on the Virginia & Truckee Railroad from Virginia City to Gold Hill. It’s the best ride, sitting in an open car or caboose, pulled by a chuffing steam locomotive that follows the original tracks along the rim of a rocky canyon, under a wooden trestle bridge and through a dark tunnel, bells clanging and wheels clacking along the rails. The trip is 35 min. round trip, here's the schedule. Train operates May to October.
    Stage rides – At the Comstock Gold Mill, take a short ride in a red stagecoach, pulled by four horses, very authentic in this setting. May to Oct., closed Tuesday. Also at the Comstock Gold Mill, check out the stamp mill and find out how gold is extracted from ore.
  Pan for gold (next to Territorial Enterprise building) – Panning for gold is a "must do." Swirl your gold pan through water running down the sluice, peer in the sediment for telltale golden flecks of gold (or just play in the mud). You're sure to come away with some treasure. Fun for the smallest kids and adults alike.
    Fourth Ward School – You can’t miss the school on C Street, the majestic cream colored four story building with high windows and red roof. Built in 1876, the school was very high-tech for its day, with indoor plumbing and drinking fountains. The school accommodated 1,000 students, from elementary through high school.
Fourth Ward School museum
    Inside the school, kids can sit in a vintage classroom with old-fashioned wooden desks, wood stove, blackboard, and teacher’s desk with an inkwell. Other rooms are the History of the Comstock, including a replica of a dressmaker’s shop (in 1880 there were 100 dressmakers in Virginia City), mine models, a Mining Gallery with real rusted mining equipment, ore car, drill, miner’s lamps, candle holders, drills.
      Near the front door, use the rope to ring the school bell, and check out the original drinking fountain. The Fourth Ward School is open May to October.
  Chollar Mine Much of Virginia City is underground, 700 miles of mine tunnels in a maze of wooden “square sets” that kept the mines from caving in. Take a guided tour of the Chollar Mine, one of the original Comstock mines. On the tour you’ll walk 400 ft down a narrow tunnel, dug by Billy Chollar in the 1860’s – the tunnel is perfect for kids, they won’t bump their heads. See a demonstration of hand drilling and experience total darkness in the mine tunnel when the miner’s candle is extinguished. The tour is about 30 min. and is okay for little kids but not for kids in baby backpacks (the tunnel is too narrow in sections).
      Outside the mine are rusting ore cars, an original stamp mill and old miner’s elevator.
    Comstock Historic Center – This small museum is built around a beautifully restored steam locomotive with bright red wheels and big funnel stack. The locomotive, the No. 18 Dayton, was built in 1873 and in use for 65 years. Open 11am – 4pm, Thurs. to Sunday, the museum is free.
    Way It Was Museum – Collection of all sorts of Nevada old west stuff – a surrey with the fringe on top, real ore car, working models of stamp mines and mine, safes that held strongboxes of gold and silver bullion, a collection of mannequins wearing fashions of the 1800’s, a crumbling wooden ore wagon, and water wheel used to power the stamp mill.
Mark Twain's desk
  Territorial Enterprise building – Mark Twain worked as a reporter for the Territorial Enterprise newspaper in Virginia City from 1862 – 1864. During this, young Samuel Clemens started to sign his work with the name “Mark Twain.” The building where the newspaper was published still stands, and you can go down to the basement to see Mark Twain's desk and the old-fashioned printing presses. (Older kids will enjoy a visit, but there really isn’t all that much to see.)
    Miner’s Park – On E Street, Miner’s Park has grass, picnic tables, and a playground with climbing structures, swings and slides.

Fun food


Virginia City has plenty of shops where kids can sample homemade fudge, toffee and old-fashioned candies such as licorice, lemon drops, sassafras, root beer, and peppermint.

kids books virginia city nevada
who was mark twain  
Who Was Mark Twain?
April Jones Prince, John O'Brien

In 1863 Sam Clemens started writing as Mark Twain for the Virginia City newspaper here in Nevada. And what stories he wrote (not all true)! (Chapter book)


facebooktwitterinstgramvimeo travelforkidspinterest