For our March adventure, we decided to go to one of the 8 wonders of Kansas!
The Hutchinson Underground Salt Museum is unique. Although there are some similar salt mine museums in Europe, there are none in the Americas. And there are just 15 active salt mines in the United States.
Before going down 650 feet, we had to put on hard hats and also sling around our shoulders these mine emergency breathing devices - just in case. They have never had to use them in all the years the mine has been in operation, but the government knows that we need protecting...
We rode down on this rickety, clankety elevator in the dark because that is the way the miners do it.
Mike Rowe, from the show "Dirty Jobs" on the Discovery Channel did an episode here at the salt mines. This was the car he drove around in.
The train ride opened a couple of weeks ago.
This is from the olden days of mining. CSC stands for Carey Salt Company.
Part of the ceiling gave way (a long time ago - not while we were there, although that would have been exciting!). Below you can see a place that it is beginning to sag. They do monitor it and we never were in any danger.
Because of the temperature of the mines & the low humidity, being miles from any ocean where hurricanes can do damage, not being near any earthquake zone, and being underground where tornadoes can't destroy, low chance of fires, the salt mines are a great place to store documents and treasured things. Many companies and medical centers store their records here for safety.
Millions of reels of movie films are stored securely here.
We took the tram ride.
There are frequent stops to point out formations, exhibits and abandoned equipment. Since everything brought into the mine is left there (No sense going to the time or expense of bringing it back up), the mine is a bit of a time capsule. There was even trash from the 1940's! Not sure why they didn't take it out.
At one point, Gayle's camera dropped off her lap. Luckily the tram was making one of its stops and she quickly jumped off to retrieve it and no one knew that it happened! The tram ride is mostly in the dark and the driver shines lights at what we need to see. At one point he turned off the tram light to show us how pitch black it is underground.
At one stop, everyone could get out to get a little salt chunk as a souvenir.
A fun March adventure to remember.
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When we got home, we got a little visit from this cute guy!
He wanted to show me his new hair cut!