Friday, March 16, 2012

Spring Break Britannia Beach

Today we met the Warringtons at Britainnia Beach Mine. I love hanging out with the Warringtons for lots of reasons, but one of the biggies is we travel in a huge clump of blondies...the kids are blend together and split off into pairs.  

I hadn't been to the Mine Museum since I was in high school. I knew it had been redone, but I had no idea the remodel was so extensive. The facility is fantastic, but the tour was even better. It was a great experience.

Here is Lukey in front of the giant mining truck. That was pretty much worth it right there for him.

Yep, it's big.

You drive by this place on the highway and you know the truck is big, but you don't know how big until you stand next to it. 

A major highlight was the panning for gold. It is mislabeled, really. They have stuffed this panning area with tons of semi-precious stones and fool's gold, in addition to real gold flakes. The kids were all mesmerized. We had to promise to hit it again on the way back out.

We headed up to the head of the mine tunnel to catch the train and start the tour.

There were hard hats to put know, for safety. This made Finny excited.

This terrified Lukey. He hears that he needs a hard hat...he wonder why. Is it safe? What is the risk? Should we even go?

No choice but to go on with the group.

His worrying sort of got to Molly. She was asking me questions that made me realize she was confusing a mine train with a Disney ride. There are no drops. No spinning, and no turns. No, seriously.

I told them to get serious. They were miners now. Lukey's serious face is, unserious.

Finny's, on the other hand, is deadly serious.

And Molly is downright intimidating.

We waited about ten minutes for the train, which gave us lots of time to analyze the safety of the train and admire the view.

Once Lukey realized the train had a ROOF, he was ready to ditch the hard hats altogether. Pretty logical.

Then he saw the dynamite and he figured he may as well keep it on...

I thought Lukey would be the most interested out of our three kids in the mining info. He was keen, but it was presented in such a way that Molly and Finny were also into it. We all learned a lot.

The best part for me was getting a first hand idea of what life would have been like for the men who toiled in these tunnels for eight hours every day. The guide demonstrated what it would be like for early miners, who only had a candle for light. Even having seen it, I cannot imagine that life. A glimpse was enough.

The kids were MOST interested in the travelling honey bucket and the poor soul who pushed it through the 200 miles of tunnels every day. There were lots of very practical questions about how that worked. How it was emptied. How is was cleaned. Was it clean? Um, not really.

This is Molly in the core sample shed. It was amazing. We were able to pull the cores up and feel them, look how different they could be from one another.

This was the site of the second mill building, which burnt to the ground under mysterious circumstances during a labour dispute many years ago.

And this was inside the existing mill building. Now, that looks a bit like a Disney ride...that hill would scare the most sanguine ride rider.

In fact, the whole building was all kinds of creepy. Interesting, but spooky.

Group shot.

This terrifying object is the ambulance car that went down to pick up injured miners. Wouldn't you be comforted to see this arrive to transport you to safety?

We went back to the panning before we left. Molly, I learned, has a future in gold panning. So that has some real world practicality. Right?

She was demented in her focus. She even took off her coat. It was freezing out, but "it was in her way...". Nothing gets in her way.

Everyone else lost interest or lost feeling in their extremities. Not Moll.

Here's a bit chunk of oxidized copper, just like what was mined in Britannia.

We rushed home to get the kids to Thursday night basketball, but the trip to Britannia was well worth the drive and money.

I warn you...start rolling your eyes now...

...If happy memories are treasure, we hit the jackpot at the mine today...

...(see, I told you to roll your eyes preemptively...).


Diane Mitchell said...

Hi, I'm the Curator at the Museum. I'm thrilled that you all enjoyed your visit so much and clearly learned so much. It definitely puts a smile on our faces to see blogs like yours. Hope you'll come back to visit us another time....for more gold panning!!

Diane Mitchell said...

Hi again. Would you mind if we posted a link to your blog on our Facebook page to share with other Museum visitors and potential visitors?
Thanks, Diane