The Lackawanna Coal Mine takes you and your kids 300 feet beneath the earth's surface. You'll learn about the life of a coal miner as you meander through the different corridors of the mine. The tour involves walks about 0.5 miles and is an hour long.
The temperature in the mine is 53° year round. Comfortable shoes and clothing are recommended. A light jacket can be borrowed for anyone who has not brought their own.
The descent down the slope takes 3-4 minutes. The walking portion of the tour is approximately a 1/2 mile and lasts one hour.
My family took the final tour of the day around 2:40PM on a Friday afternoon. Bring a jacket - the mine is chilly.
The 5-10 minute trip down into the mine in a mine car is certainly a unique experience. My kids were a bit scared entering the elevator-like car, but once we started moving they had no issues at all. The experience feels very authentic.
Down in the mine there are 5-10 places along the tour path where the guide stops to talk about the history of the mine. Several of the stops have mannequins dressed as miners acting the part of what the tour guide is describing. The guide also has props such as the tools that where used during various historical periods to tell the story of coal mining in the region.
Our tour guide was a man who had been working in the Pennsylvania mining industry since he was twelve years old. He was a wealth of information and answered every question that I threw at him with absolutely no hesitation. He is a valuable resource for anyone looking to learn about coal mining in Pennsylvania.
Discussion on Child Labor
Our tour guide expertly described the jobs that children would have had in the mines just over 100 years ago. While my kids at ages 5 and 6 were a little bit young to fully grasp the concept of child labor, I would expect that this topic would have a great impact on kids ages 8-12. The topic of child labor in the mines makes this an especially relevant and interesting tour for older children.
The tour narrative was a bit complex for my younger kids to fully understand so they were most entertained by looking around the mine and its features. The tour guide did a great job of trying to involve them when appropriate. Up until the last 5-10 minutes my kids were perfectly satisfied just looking around and listening in to the tour when something sparked their interest.
Helmets are provided. (Guests are required to wear a hair-net for sanitation purposes.) People over 6ft tall will have to watch their head during the tour of the mine.
There is no predetermined schedule for tours of the Lackawanna Coal Mine. Tours seem to leave every 30-60 minutes as they fill to approximately 10-15 people. we found a white board with the next tour time at the desk when we came in to purchase our tickets. There is a waiting area with a gift shop.
There is so much for kids to learn about on the Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour from child labor in the early 1900s to the history of industry in Pennsylvania. I highly recommend this educational tour families with kids ages eight and up - though younger kids will certainly enjoy the tour as well.
Disclosure: My family was hosted by Lackawanna County CVB for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.
The coal mine tours are very interesting for both the children and adults, unlike a lot of kid friendly activities. My son thought it was "creepy but cool (he was 4 at the time) and wants to go back. If you are looking for a unique place to go, this is great. A couple warnings though- it's kinda cold and a bit damp down there, even in summer, so warm clothes are a must. Also, they have a point where all the lights are turned out, so some kids might find this a bit too scary because you can see nothing at all. But we really enjoyed it.
Coal is a major part of this region’s history. One of the best places to gain an understanding of the life of a coal miner is on the Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour at McDade Park in Scranton. Here visitors ride 250 feet down into a real underground coal mine. Former miners and sons of miners tell the story of what a typical workday was like for the men and boys (as young as seven years old!) of the mines. Children who are afraid of the dark should be forewarned, but most children’s favorite part of the tour is when the guide turns out the lights and the group stands in total darkness for a long couple of seconds.
The tour is partially wheelchair accessible, as long as the person can move from a wheelchair to the car. It’s chilly and damp down below (55 degrees year-round), so be sure to bring along a sweatshirt.