Today we ventured to Strataca, the Kansas Underground Salt Museum, before leaving for home.
Yes, the museum is in an active salt mine that is 650 feet below the surface. The trip down was a bit disconcerting as it was completely dark, but what a great experience for all of us. I tease Andy for picking up all those tourist brochures in the different hotels that we stay at, but it really does work out sometimes!
The museum is located in an area that was mined back in the 1950s and the year-round temperature is 70 degrees. It was very interesting to learn all about salt mining and the miners themselves. John was fascinated by the large machines that were (and are) used in the active mine.
The tour included a self-paced walking tour, a short train ride, and the “Dark Ride” with a tour guide. At one stop along the Dark Ride, it was amazing to see the pile of trash left over from the 1950s. I saw an old Campbell’s Soup Can and a calendar on the floor that you could still read quiet well.
It is customary to leave everything in the mine. This results in a lot of equipment laying around that is not in use anymore along with all kinds of other things like boxes that once held explosives, and, of course, the trash. The Dark Ride ended with a stop that allowed everyone to pick up their own piece of salt. The kids were very excited to get to do this and each picked out a few small pieces.
After visiting the gift shop to buy a magnet and then getting a “squished penny,” we left for home about 11:45. We decided to break up the drive a little by stopping about 90 minutes away in Emporia, Kansas, for lunch. We ate lunch at a local brewery, Radius Brewing Company, that I had found online. Of course, Andy and I had to try the beers so we shared a flight. The beers were quite good and the food was great!
We arrived home right about 6 pm. It was a great, short trip and we all had fun. If you ever get a chance to visit Hutchinson, do it! You will not be disappointed.