Kennedy Gold Mine - The Kennedy Mine was one of the richest gold mines and deepest in the Mother Lode and you can still see a lot of mining equipment, a big stamp mill, and a spacious mining office where gold was turned into gold bars (and the safe where the gold was kept). The mine was discovered in the Gold Rush, but produced the most gold ore in the early 20th century, and the mine remained open until 1942.
Tours are available on weekends, March - though October.
Kennedy Tailing Wheels Park - Run around Kennedy mine tailing wheels, huge wooden wheels that transported tons of crushed rock slush and debris away from the gold mine.
There were four different wheels, each one used to carry the debris up and over the hill. At the top of the hill, the biggest wheel, #4, has been restored and is enclosed in a protective building. Just below that, see wheel #3, rather collapsed into bleached wood and bolts.
Go over the hill (west) across from the park, to see crumbly wheel #2, and wheel #1, the smallest wheel, but well preserved amidst the oak trees.
The park is delightful for an outdoor lunch, picnic tables in the shade, and restrooms.
Amador County Museum - At the Amador County Museum, see inside a 19th century house and check out a scale model of the Kennedy Gold Mine. Outside there's a small stamp mill and the "Amador Cannonball," a bright red locomotive.
Detert Park - The public swimming pool is very inviting on a summer's day, and there are picnic tables and a playground with climbing structures in the park.
Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park (Pine Grove - Volcano Rd.) - For centuries, the Miwok people lived in the Sierra foothills along creeks and rivers. They left behind hundreds of mortar holes where acorns were ground in the limestone rocks. Visit the grinding rock where you can see the grinding holes and petroglyphs. Run around the reconstruction of a Miwok village, bark-covered roundhouses.
In the Chaw'se Regional Indian Museum there are exhibits and artifacts such as basketry, jewelry and arrow points. (Chaw'se means "grinding rock" in Miwok.)
Black Chasm Cavern (Pine Grove - Volcano Rd.) - A homey cave tour takes you 60 feet down, through a narrow opening in the rock that opens into cathedral rooms decked out with stalactites and stalagmites. On the way you'll see formations such as the "carrot patch" (albino carrot shapes hanging from the ceiling), "cave bacon" (not edible), and "Rapunzel's hair" (bad hair day). The unique feature of this cavern is helictites, calcium-rich formations that look like spikey Silly String sprayed over the cave walls.
Tip: The tour isn't that long and the stairs aren't that tiring, but kids can't be carried and no babies in backpacks (snuglis are okay) for safety reasons.
Stop into Train Town Candies & Ice Cream Parlor for an incredible selection of candies - fudge, rock candy, jelly beans, salt water taffy, candies with names like "strawberry buttons," "licorice starlights," "slo pokes," "napoleon lemon," - a toy train runs around on a track on the ceiling.