|| California | Gold Country
|Headed to Yosemite National Park on Highway
140? It's worth a stop in Mariposa. Mariposa was named by a Spanish explorer
who found tons of butterflies, "mariposas," in the area. Mariposa
is the county seat for Mariposa County, also called the "Mother of
California Counties." When California became a state in 1850, Mariposa
County was the biggest county, one fifth of California.
Tip: Mariposa is close enough to Yosemite that it's a convenient place to stay.
|California State Mining and Mineral Museum (Mariposa County Fairgrounds) You may be hit with gold fever when you see the Fricot Nugget, almost 13 pounds of crystallized gold. It was found in 1865, misplaced for decades and recovered in 1943. What a find!
|The museum also has gobs of gold goodies in all shapes and sizes, chunks of purple amethyst (big enough to use as bookends), alien-invasion blobs of green malachite, shiny big cubes of pyrite, and many other minerals.
|Find out about California mining past and present, and tramp through a reconstruction of a mine tunnel. Don't miss the really fine model of a stamp mill and a re-creation of the Mariposa Assay Office (where miners found out how much their ore was worth).
Mariposa Museum and History Center The Mariposa Museum is a 19th century vignette of life in Mariposa County. Outside is a big old wooden frame stamp mill, rusted mining carts, and a carriage house with wagons, buggies and a stagecoach that took tourists into Yosemite Valley in the 1880's. Inside the museum is a wonderful bunch of exhibits, furnished with period pieces and artifacts the Bull Creek School, a miner's log cabin, newspaper office, general store, emporium, county courthouse, and typical home with kid's toys and clothing.
Mariposa County Park Cool off at the public swimming pool, open in the afternoons in summer. The park also has shaded picnic tables, a large grassy area and pleasant playground with swings.
|Mariposa County Fair Labor Day, drop into the County Fair, complete with carnival, rodeo and horse show.