You may not realize it when you see this sign off Highway 49, but the Mariposa County Fairgrounds is the gateway to California Gold Rush history.
“A lot of people like to stay in Mariposa. It is a small gateway town to Yosemite and they will look for things to do during their downtime when they are not in the park. And our museum is a frequent stop,” said Natalie Sanman, with the California State Mining and Mineral Museum.
The museum has nearly 14,000 pieces of mineral crystals, precious gems, rocks and gold.
Only the best of the best are on display. And you can relive what it was like to be a hard rock miner.
A replica mine tunnel takes you through the process of drilling and blasting for gold in the mid-1800s.
Be sure to look above to see a replica mine cart, and watch and listen to the sounds of the miniature stamp mill.
The device was used to crush rocks in hopes of catching pieces of gold.
Don’t forget to check out the safe full of gems and gold.
If the 13-pound piece of crystalline gold doesn’t catch your attention, maybe the collection of glow-in-the-dark rocks will.