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Review Highlights
A fun, fact filled day

We loved looking at all of the old equipment that was used in this mine. Lots of history and... read more

Reviewed 7 November 2018
Debra J
Our Grandkids Love It!

We took our grandchildren for the 2nd time this year. Not only did they have fun, they gained an... read more

Reviewed 5 November 2018
Tryon, North Carolina
via mobile
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All reviews gem mining gift shop black light pan for gold museum portion mineral specimens touristy stuff museum area rock hound gold panning educational stop fudge pretty rocks whole family fun afternoon night tour self guided tour
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Reviewed 29 August 2016

This is an honest review. I live 2 hours away from Little Switzerland. Esmerald Village is located in Spruce Pine about 3 minutes to the Famous and beautiful Switzerland Inn and Big Lynn Lodge which in my opinion are fantastic places to stay if coming out of state.

I bought a coupon from Groupon worth $11 for 4 people ( 2 kids / 2 adults in my case) and this is the way to go if you don't want to feel scammed. I mention this because the entrance for the tour is $8 per person it would have been $24 for the 4 of us thank God I paid $11. The tour is a self walk thru to the old mine. It will take you honesty 10 minutes to walk it through of course if you stop and take the picture of the beautiful waterfall it will be another 5 minutes or so. The most pretty part is the little cavern you see in the picture with the waterfall. You cannot go beyond that point.

The Gem Mining is across the street. They are 2 different things. One is the tour I just mentioned and across the street the Gem Mining. The Gem mining was actually a little more fun than the Tour. We had an Ice cream which they sell at the site and went down to pay for the Bucket. There are different prices, 10 ( kids bucket), 20 , 35 , 75 and I think 100.

We just wanted our girls ( 15 & 9 ) to have a little fun so we just bought the $20 which was a full bucket. The difference with the price is not the size of the bucket, but rather the stones you can find in the bucket. The more expensive the bucket the most likely you can find a cute stone. Now this Stone thing is mostly for fun and if you are lucky and get a pretty stone you can tell them to cut it and make it a ring. Its not like you are going to find a big emerald worth $10k. If you go with that mind you will have fun.

As I said we bought a $20 Bucket and we all started cleaning the gems and rocks which took us like 40 minutes. It was shaded and around 4:40 when we got there.

After leaving I wanted to pass by The Switzerland INN which is like 1 miles down the road from Emerald Village and go inside the grounds and take a look at it which was a beautiful place. It has beautiful view of the mountains and restaurants and little shops onsite.

I also stopped by the Big Lynn Lodge which is another 1.5 mile down the road and was another site I wanted to check out. Beautiful views from the cottages and they ring the bell at 6pm for their customers to go have dinner ( so charming). Down the road we wanted to eat something at the Switzerland cafe , but to our bad luck it was closed. They open 7 days a week from 11am-4pm.

My conclusion is that if you are in the area visiting or staying in one of the hotels of course Emerald Village is worth the visit. you can take a look on the outside, go inside the gift shop and maybe buy a $20 dollar bucket. I think the tour is to steep for what you get.
On the other hand if you are driving like us ( 2 hours and a half) just for the mine you will feel you just lost 2 hours driving for nothing.
I was a little sad to see that little Switzerland is mostly a Ghost town. If you really want to have fun all day long you should go see Helen Georgia- Alpine Village which is a town all decorated like if you were in Germany.

And my place of all times Gatlinburg/ Pigeon Forge Tennessee.

Date of experience: August 2016
3  Thank Connie H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 August 2016

I took my two children to Emerald Mining to have the opportunity to mine for rocks. I paid for the two buckets and the kids started going through the sand to find their "treasures". We tried to ask the two employees sitting behind the desk for help in identifying several of the rocks and received the worst attitude that I have EVER encountered! The employees, clearly bored, could have cared less about helping us. When I asked for a bag to take the rocks home, I got a nasty comment back from one of the employees. Do not waste your time or money here . . . if in the Asheville area, go to Asheville Biltmore Gem Mine. Here we had a completely opposite experience. One of the owners actually sat with my kids and went through every rock identifying it. Same price but worlds away in terms of the experience. Again, skip the employees attitudes here and find another place to go "mining".

Date of experience: August 2016
2  Thank Mary E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 August 2016 via mobile

We went here on a whim, looking for somewhere entertaining to take our son who wanted to gem mine, pan for gold and see a cave! This has all of the above and more!! Absolutely gorgeous ride out to it as well! Absolutely worth the pricing! We saw some beautiful Rainbow Trouts in the Bon Ami mine! Great history in this location and lots of fun! The staff was so very friendly and knowledgeable about the area!!

Date of experience: August 2016
1  Thank Heather M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 August 2016

This place is great! Loved the mine and the waterfall and feeding the fish...they were jumping out of the water to get to the food!!!

Date of experience: August 2016
1  Thank mountaingirlatheart3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 August 2016

We finally made it here after many stays in Little Switzerland. We thoroughly enjoyed our time at this stop. The mine and museum are an interesting way to spend a couple of hours discovering and exploring the site and the many artifacts from a bygone era. We were lucky enough to attend a great lecture and slide show about a lost city discovered near by. Might even go again during their theme weeks.

Date of experience: May 2016
1  Thank RacerRobb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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