Represented by Silverwood’s own beloved resident moose mascot, Melvin’s Mine Shack is a cool, quiet corner tucked away from the busier sections of the park that is truly a hidden gem in itself. Beautifully reflecting the Gem State name and nature of larger Idaho, Melvin’s is the perfect stop for your family’s gold panning enthusiast, resident treasure hunter, or kid whose pockets are always stuffed full of interesting gravel.
Upon entering the mine shack itself, visitors are greeted with a variety of plush animals to best represent our favorite mining moose, as well as a display of treasures, minerals, lanterns, tools for mining, and spelunking that make the wooden doors of Melvin’s feel like passing through a time machine to the days of the gold rush and frontier lands. Shelves are lined with colorful pieces of deep purple amethyst, rainbow carbide, delicate selenite, glowing calcite, and a variety of other colorful rocks, minerals and gems that instantly capture the attention of rock lovers and treasure enthusiasts alike. Personal favorites include the multitude of treasure kits purchased by rockhounds who wish to continue the geological adventure at home and the irresistibly sparkly geode chunks that are a must-grab for any visitor distracted by shiny objects. For those in your crew who prefer brightly colored friends to brightly colored finds, Melvin also consistently offers some of the most unique and colorful plush animals in the park, from shocking pink and fluorescent lime green variations of Idaho’s native moose mascot to fuzzy puppy dogs that come equipped with a handy red leash to accompany you on your adventure.
After exploring the mining shack itself, explorers then have the option of equipping themselves with a souvenir mining helmet before venturing down the mine tunnel, past blasting signs and wooden trusses into the mouth of a dimly lit cave lined with pockets full of glimmering buried treasure. Uncover semi-precious stones with your shovel, screen for colorful gems with your sieve, and collect your favorite treasures into your overflowing gem bag to carry back to the surface.
Suppose you’re still itching for some geological fun after your spelunking adventure through the mine. In that case, Melvin’s Mine Shack also sells giant crystal-lined geodes to crack open at home, as well as a variety of grow-your-own crystal sets, vibrant agate slabs and at-home mining kits to recreate your experience. Melvin’s Mine is also home to various magnetic minerals and glow stones that transform in the dark. If you happen to have a black light at home, in fact, much of Melvin’s other seemingly normal offerings are truly phosphorescent. They will transform into a wonder of color and luminescence when exposed to UV light. While all minerals have the ability to reflect light, some special minerals have an interesting property that gives them the ability to absorb a small amount of light and instantly release light on a different wavelength. This results in a temporary color change for the human eye and can be observed across a variety of rocks, gems and minerals! I recommend mining and purchasing a variety of differently composed treasures to test at home and purchasing a readily available inexpensive UV flashlight from a sporting goods store as a fun and educational summertime experiment enjoyable for the entire family. As a lifelong enthusiast of all things, both geological and colorful, this neat feature of Melvin’s Mine has fascinated my family and me many times over, and I can’t wait for my next trip down the mine tunnel to uncover my latest glowing treasure.
For a fun family experiment, collect a variety of stones from the mine tunnel and the shop itself and take them home to hold under a UV light and see which have fluorescent or phosphorescent properties. Pro tip: calcite and agate are often colorful bets!
What’s your favorite jewel in Silverwood Theme Park? Is it buried down the mine tunnel or perhaps uncovered elsewhere? Next time you visit Silverwood, I hope you’ll check out my favorite hidden gem in the park and go home with some buried treasures of your own!
Meet The Conductor
Hey there! I’m Kate Austin Payne. I was raised on a small farm in the Rockies alongside big dogs and good horses with flowers in my hair, a paintbrush in one hand and a fishing rod in the other. I am an archer, angler, storyteller and lifelong Silverwood adventurer passionate about opening doors for the next generation into a life spent outside enjoying all the adventure God’s green earth has to offer. I am a college student majoring in public relations and love telling stories about all things entertainment, western lifestyle and outdoor experience. You can follow along through my Instagram, @wildkateaustin, and my outdoor blog!