Pennsylvania is a big coal-producing state. If you’ve ever wanted an up-close look at how that coal is mined out of the earth, I highly recommend heading out to McDade Park in Scranton, Pennsylvania to see what the Lackawanna Coal Mines are all about.
For about $10 per person you can don a hair net and a hard hat, mount a yellow cable car, and descend deep into the gullet of the earth. It is CHILLY down there (hovering near 50 degrees, year round), so be sure to bring a jacket.
The tour officially begins in the visitor’s center where there’s a short movie playing showcasing what working in the mines would have been like. It’s not a blockbuster film, but it’s worth seeing once and is a great way to kill some time before you’re called to line up for the trip into the mines.
Following the movie, you may have time to wander the grounds and look around before the whistle sounds, letting you know your tour is ready….which is kind of neat. A tour guide will give instructions to your crew on how to get into the cable car and how to behave yourselves in the mine. He/she will then will lead you through an hour-ish long tour of the mine tunnels below.
Our tour guide was excellent and really made our tour enjoyable. His speeches were interesting, he seemed to really know what he was talking about, and he was very tolerant of Amelia who was quite vocal about needing to get back out of the “dark cave” from the moment we stepped out of the mine car. I did my darndest to keep her quiet but she just wasn’t having it. So, I’m very appreciative of both our guide and the group we were with for being so much more accepting of her than most.
That was pretty much it. We enjoyed a nice, long trek through the mine tunnels. It was fascinating and the guide did a great job of keeping everyone engaged. If you’re looking for a great, relatively inexpensive trip back in time or to escape the summer heat for a bit, the Lackawanna Coal Mines are sure to be a hit.
*Side note: Directly adjacent to the Lackawanna Coal Mines is the Anthracite Heritage Museum which delves a little deeper into Pennsylvania’a coal mining history. It’s an excellent addition to your trip to the mines and I highly recommend it.
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