School Programs

If you have problems with registration, or questions about registration, please email Columbiaschoolliaison@gmail.com  

There are still openings in all school programs for booking, including Diggins, Gold Trek, Schoolhouse, and Town Tours. All Homeschool Programs still have openings.  

Friends of Columbia sponsors the School programs in Columbia State Historic Park. Park staff, volunteers, and concessionaires at Columbia State Historic Park take great pride in the quality of our school presentations.  We offer a variety of opportunities for school children to have first-hand experiences to augment classroom learning about the California Gold Rush. More than 15,000 fourth graders attend presentations at Columbia State Historic Park each year.

The park staff and volunteers offer 4 different formal programs aimed at the 4th-grade audience that meet California State History Content Standards for fourth grade social studies content. Financial support for these programs is provided by Friends of Columbia State Historic Park.

Parking and admission are free, and school groups are welcome to visit the park at any time for self-guided presentations. The park’s concessionaires offer many programs designed for school audiences.

The Columbia Passport, a self-guided touring aid, is available at the museum, or may be ordered in advance of your trip for $1.25 each.

COLUMBIA FOURTH GRADE TOWN TOUR

Guided Walk

The Columbia 4th Grade Town tour consists of a one-hour program lead by park staff that interprets the town of Columbia and it’s participation during the California Gold Rush.

Included in the tour is:

  • An overview of what life was like in Columbia during the Gold Rush
  • A hands-on mining demonstration *
  • General mercantilism presentation
  • Student involved bucket brigade activity*

* activities weather permitting

The maximum number of 4th grade students per group is 35 with up to 4 adults. The minimum number of students is 12.

Reservation Information

Who: 4th grade students only
When: Tue, Wed, Thur during the school year. (Fall Tue & Wed only)
Start Times: 10:00am, 11:15am, 12:30pm and 1:45pm.
Program Length: 1 hour
Cost: This program costs $50 per class. Maximum number of students in a class is 35.
How to Register:. book now

Homeschool Option – 4th Grade Town Tour

The Columbia 4th Grade Town Tour program is available for 4th grade level homeschool students from formal homeschool programs.  Each student is allowed one parent chaperone.

Other members of the homeschool program are not able to participate in the tour. However, students and parents will be able to visit the historic buildings, exhibits, and merchants of Columbia State Historic Park while they wait for their 4th graders to complete the program.

Who: 4th grade students only with one chaperone
When: November and April
Start Times: 12:30pm
Program Length: 1 hour
Cost: This program costs $2.00 per student
How to Register: book now

COLUMBIA SCHOOLHOUSE 4TH GRADE LIVING HISTORY PROGRAM 

schoolhouse

The Columbia Schoolhouse 4th Grade Living History Program will provide your students the opportunity to step back into time and participate in what it was like to attend school during the Gold Rush days of the 1861. This “living history” program engages students by:

  • Meeting inside the original two story brick schoolhouse built in 1860
  • Sitting in historic wooden desks
  • Participating in school lessons from the 1861 including history, rules/consequences, mathematics, (ciphering) reading, writing, and spelling.
  • Using historic school tools like chalkboards and old textbooks
  • Following instructions from a schoolhouse docents dressed in period clothing and teaching as if she was from that time period (1st person interpretation)

The maximum number of students is 35 with up to 4 adults. The minimum number of 4th grade students is 12.

Program Information

Who: 4th grade students only
When: Tue, Wed, Thur during the school year. (Fall Tue & Wed only)
Start Times: 10:00am, 11:15am, 12:30pm and 1:45pm.
Program Length: 1 hour
Cost: This program costs $50 per class. Maximum number of students in a class is 35.
How to Register: book now

Homeschool Option – Columbia Schoolhouse 4th Grade

The Columbia Schoolhouse 4th Grade program is available for 4th grade level students from formal homeschool programs.  Each student is allowed one parent chaperone.

Other members of the homeschool program are not able to participate in the guided walk. However, students and parents will be able to visit the historic buildings, exhibits, and merchants of Columbia State Historic Park while they wait for their 4th graders to complete the program.

Who: 4th grade students only with one chaperone
When: November and April
Start Times: 1:45pm
Program Length: 1 hour
Cost: This program costs $2.00 per student
How to Register: book now

GOLD TREK LIVING HISTORY PROGRAM

The 4th Grade Gold Trek Living History Program at Columbia State Historic Park consists of a 3-hour program lead by park staff and docents that is meant to replicate the experience that many young men faced as they traveled from Stockton to the gold fields of California in search of gold. Students are provided the opportunity to directly engage in this same experience within the park.

When students arrive at the park, they participate as “companies” in an auction where they have the opportunity to spend or save their money, purchase maps, carts, supplies, and shovels, and start on their journey. Along the route to the gold fields, they encounter charlatans, merchants, ferry crossings, and opportunities to make critical decisions that affect their ability to arrive at the gold fields ready to work.

The Gold Trek Living History program is meant to replicate the experience that many gold seekers faced as they traveled from Stockton to the diggings in search of gold.

This program adheres to the state’s curriculum standards and provides an unbeatable opportunity for students to experience first-hand what they’ve learned in the classroom. This program is very popular and reservations are required.

The maximum number of 4th grade students per group is 35 with up to 4 adults.

This program requires a one-hour online pre-lesson with park’s distance learning interpreter. The pre-lesson is offered in January and February to introduce students to the Gold Rush so they will be better prepared for the Gold Trek and can have a more enriching experience. The lesson covers historical Gold Rush history, Columbia’s town history, routes of travel, and information about the trek from the Port of Stockton to Columbia. The lesson is approximately ½ hour long. They will contact you once you are registered to schedule the online lesson.

WAITLIST: If you are unable to make reservations for this program because the timeslot is full, please send an email to columbia.shp@parks.ca.gov with your name, school name, # of students, and phone number to be added to our waitlist. If there are additional spots available or a cancellation, the park will contact you.

Program Information

Who: 4th grade students only
When: Thursdays, March and April
Start Times: 9:30am, 10:00am, and 10:30am.
Program Length: 3 hours.
Cost: This program costs $200 per class. Maximum number of students in a class is 35.
How to Register: book now

Homeschool Option – Gold Trek

The Gold Trek Homeschool program is available for 4th grade level homeschool students from formal homeschool programs.  Each student is allowed one parent chaperone.

Other members of the homeschool program are not able to participate in the Gold Trek program. However, students and parents will be able to visit the historic buildings, exhibits, and merchants of Columbia State Historic Park while they wait for their 4th graders to complete the Gold Trek journey.

Who: 4th grade students only with one chaperone
When: April
Start Times: 10:30am
Program Length: 3 hours
Cost: This program costs $5.00 per student
How to Register: book now

For more information on park school programs contact the Columbia School Group Coordinator at columbia.shp@parks.ca.gov


DIGGINS TENT TOWN 1852

diggins

The 4th Grade Diggins Tent Town Living History Program at Columbia State Historic Park consists of a 2-hour program lead by park staff and docents that is meant to replicate the experience of a Gold Rush era tent town in California. Students are provided the opportunity to directly engage in this “living history” town and find out what life was like in 1852.

Educational programs for 4th graders are offered on the Thursday and Friday of Columbia Diggins Tent Town. Students get a chance to tour the camp and interact with characters from 1852.

This program adheres to the state’s curriculum standards and provides an unbeatable opportunity for students to experience first-hand what they’ve learned in the classroom. This program is very popular and reservations are required.

The maximum number of 4th grade students is 35 with up to 4 adults. The minimum number of students is 12.

Who: 4th Grade students only
When: May
Start Times: 9:15am, 10:15am, 11:15am, 1:00pm, 2:00pm
Program Length: 2 hours
Cost: This program costs $300 per class. Maximum number of students in a class is 35.
How to Register: book now

To preserve the learning environment, classes without reservations are not admitted on Thursday or Friday of the event.

The cost includes $5 worth of “Columbia Eagles” which are redeemed for goods, food or services in the camp, giving students an opportunity to interact in the mercantile economy of the camp.

WAITLIST:  If you are unable to make a reservation for this program because the timeslot is full, please send an email toColumbia.SHP@parks.ca.gov with your name, school name, # of students, and phone number to be added to our waitlist. If the park has additional spots available or a cancellation, park staff will contact you.

Homeschool Option – Diggins 

The Diggins Homeschool program is available for 4th grade level students from formal homeschool programs.  Each student is allowed one parent chaperone.

Other members of the homeschool program are not able to participate in the Diggins program. However, non-participating students and parents will be able to enter the Diggins tent town event as a public visitor and participate in the special event. General admission prices apply.

Who: 4th grade students only with one chaperone
When: May 19
Start Times: 2:15
Program Length: 2 hours
Cost: This program costs $8.00 per student
How to Register:   book now

For more information on park school programs contact the Columbia School Group Coordinator at columbia.shp@parks.ca.gov

EXPLORE PORTS COLUMBIA

Park interpreter giving a virtual tour to a classroomSign up for a virtual field trip to Columbia State Historic Park! Parks Online Resources for Teachers and Students (PORTS) program provides FREE, live, interactive videoconference programs, also known as virtual field trips. K-12 students from California and around the world are connecting with live State Park Interpreters and learning academic content standards within the context of California’s dynamic state park system.

 You can view additional virtual field trips on the PORTS Programs page

VIRTUAL PROGRAMS FOR 2021 – 2022

Join us for virtual programs or use our digital resources to supplement your lesson plans and provide engaging, educational content for your students!

Check out these 360° Virtual Tours of Columbia SHP and Schoolhouse!


OPEN EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES

Columbia Padlet  Columbia YouTube  Flipgrid

Digital resources available through Smithsonian Learning Lab.

History of Columbia   Mining in Columbia   Mining Tools   Mining Techniques   Chinese in Gold Rush Columbia   

Introduction California’s Gold Rush   Traveling to the Gold Rush  

Photos of the cultures who came to the Gold Rush   Coins of the California Gold Rush

EXPLORE THE PARK ON YOUR OWN

Self-guided adventures for families and students:

Ranger HucklebearyAgents of Discovery

This program takes you on a free, fun, interactive tour through Columbia State Historic Park. This virtual scavenger hunt makes learning fun with multiple choice questions,historic photos and artifacts.

To Play – Download the Agents of Discovery app using the free ParkWIFI or your mobile data plan. Click the “Missions” button in the app  to find Columbia and download the park mission. Once the app is downloaded, WIFI is not needed. Good Luck, Agents!

Passports Booklet

Passports

Columbia’s Passports is a self-guided touring aid where students are required to find, identify and list items found in locations throughout the park. It’s a treasure hunt of information where they learn firsthand about details of the mining days. It meets the California State Curriculum Standards for fourth grade social studies content.

Passports can be purchased for $1.25 each in the museum or ordered in advance of your school trip by clicking here to download and print a Passport order form. Due to high demand for the Passports, prepaid orders are filled first and no orders are shipped without prepayment.

For additional information or questions, please email columbiashp@parks.ca.gov