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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

50. Kansas Underground Salt Museum

Who would have ever imagined miles & miles of salt under Hutchinson?  Well, there is and we are allowed to tour a small part of it in the Kansas Underground Salt Museum.  Our daughter was not impressed with "yet another museum."  However, we have not been to any other museum that requires you to watch a safety video and wear a hard hat and re breather.  That was our first indication that this was not just going be "yet another museum."

The majority of the museum deals with the salt mining process and history of the mine.  We were amused by the instruction not to lick or pick the salt.  However, once we discovered there were no official bathrooms in the mine, we realized we would not want to lick the salt.  You never know what is on there.  :)
We got to ride both the Dark Tram and the train.  Our daughter was terrified to ride in the dark, but the Dark Tram is not really completely dark.  It does take you into a part of the mine that is not lit by artificial lighting, but the Tram has headlights and there are various things spotlighted throughout the ride.  The kids ended up loving it especially because they could get off the tram at a certain point and collect salt samples to take home.  The train ride was cool as well and takes you into a more rustic area of the mine.  We got to see a part where the ceiling had fallen in.  Don't worry they told us they are constantly monitoring the ceiling of the mine (and we do all have hard hats on.)

Besides the mining aspect of the mine, there was also an area that showed how the salt mines are used for storing items like medical records, technology, historical documents, movie memorabilia, etc.  We had fun touring that area and our son especially loved the superhero costumes.  The kids were shocked and I'm not sure they really believed that computers used to be so big.  Both kiddos were very impressed by the Wonka Bars from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Dirty Jobs visited the Salt Mine

The salt museum was totally cool and we recommend it all of you.  However, you should be prepared for some ear popping as you travel down the elevator into the museum 650 feet below the surface.  And, you cannot prepare for the ear popping by chewing gum like you can on an airplane.  There is no gum allowed in the museum.  Also, Angel got a headache on the say down that did not leave until she reached the surface after we were done touring the mine.  Other family members did not have this problem, so it was probably related to her traumatic brain injury and sensitivity to barometric pressure changes.  I guess a relatively fast descent under ground is not necessarily meant for everyone.

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