Our first full day of camping we actually left the park and went into Dahlonega. We went to see the Dahlonega Gold museum, which was quite interesting, but not very photogenic. Then we had a choice of 2 different gold mines. One was a tour of a gold mine (getting to go into an old mine), with panning and the other was looking at some equipment, but mostly panning for gold and gems. D and I agreed that while we would probably prefer the gold mine tour, that the kids would rather do the gold and gem mining. So that's what we did.
Here's M and A at a (fake) mine entrance.
The gold is actually from this mine, which is still being run, albeit only for generating sand for tourists to pan.
D and A are still panning for gold, while M has finished that and has moved on to screening his dirt for gemstones. The gem mining was definitely the kids' favorite - enough so that we bought an extra, large bucket for them to do some more. They both ended up with a nice collection of various rocks, including some emerald.
What's funny is that the gem dirt is from Franklin, NC - which is where we initially took the kids gemstone mining back when A was about 4, so probably 5 years ago.
As a final bit at the mine, they had a still. D is trying to explain distilling to A.