In the 1800s, the northeastern region of Pennsylvania grew to be one of the world's premier coal mining areas. Today, there are still many mines open and operating, but visitors can also learn more about the industry in this area by visiting one of the closed mines that has now become a tourist attraction. One of the most popular coal-related attractions is the Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour, which is located in Scranton.
The coal mine that is part of the Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour was first opened in 1860. The workers here mined anthracite coal, a type of hard coal that is unique to Pennsylvania. The tour itself allows guests to travel over 300 feet underground, down Slope #190, which was once a working part of the mine. Guests ride in an old mine car, which has been refurbished to hold nearly 30 guests at once. A "miner'' from the mine takes the journey into the earth with guests to talk about the methods of mining that were used, the history of mining in the United States, and more. As guests descend into the mine, they'll pass three different veins of coal, as well as a "monkey vein,'' a dead chute, and old mining equipment. Along the way, the miner tour guide will explain to guests what they are seeing and how it has helped shaped the history of the United States.
Along with the hands-on tour of the mine, guests can watch an introduction video that talks about mining in the Lackawanna Coal Mine theatre. The theatre is located in an interactive center, which sells tickets to the mine tour, and attached to this center is the Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum, which has artifacts representing mining history. One of the most popular exhibits is a 13,000-pound chunk of black diamond anthracite coal.
There's no set schedule for the tours - they leave on demand. While guest wait, they can not only watch the tour's movie, but they can also explore their unique gift shop. At most museums and other tourist attractions, guests will find postcards and other common souvenirs, but at the Lackawanna County Coal Mine, guests can find jewelry made from coal, coal sculptures, geodes, pewter scenes from the mine, arrowheads, slate coasters, and other unique items. Visitors can also purchase books and movies about coal mining from the gift shop. In addition, they have many items available for children, including their popular children's miner helmets, which have working lights.
The Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour is open from April 1 to November 30 every year. Throughout the year, the mine is a constant 50-55 degrees, and the tour underground lasts about an hour, so guests may wish to bring a jacket, even in the middle of summer. The tour's box office opens at 10:00 AM daily, which the last tour leaving between 3:00 PM and 3:30 PM. To learn more about this tour and the attached museum, you can contact them at 570-963-6463.