New Jersey, the state that lays across the river from Manhattan has way more to offer than most people think. It’s called the ‘Flower state’, is known for the ‘Jersey Shore’ on the southern part of the state, suburbia with tons of malls in the middle of it, and tons of parks in the north.
For me the northern part of Jersey is one of the most beautiful areas. It is also where I visit my family. However. it is not one of those regions that is filled with attractions. So it was a true challenge to find some kind of unique, educational tour that would be fun for the whole family.
What to do with Kids In New Jersey (North) – Mine Tour
A long time ago I visited Bolivia in South America and had the chance to visit a mine in Potosi. This experience had a huge impact on me. Looking into the world of miners is looking at one of the most dangerous jobs.
That’s why Sterling Hill Mine Tour caught my eye during my research. It was only about thirty minutes from my parent’s house, so the proximity was intriguing. And honestly, I had no idea that Jersey even had mines.
When I got there I discovered that you can walk around the grounds, do fun activities with kids (mineral collecting, rock discovery, panning) and the actual mine tour.
Boy! Were we surprised about our visit!
Surprise number 1 – The place was packed! They had to break us up into three large groups for the tour.
Surprise number 2 – If you are going to take the time to visit the mine, definitely do the tour. Even after reading their very comprehensive website, I didn’t fully grasp the importance of the tour. It is actually the whole reason to visit the museum! You miss 75% of the information and fun by not doing it.
Surprise number 3 – I asked about the length of the tour and got worried. They told me that it is a two hour tour! That is an eternity for kids as young as mine.
But it was so entertaining that not once did they get restless.
Surprise number 4 – This part of the country can get incredibly hot in July. We were dying of heat! At least until we got to the part of the tour that takes place inside of the mine and was 56 degrees (year round).
Facts about New Jersey Mines – What You’ll See and Learn on the Mine Tour
1. The Gallery – The tour begins at a gallery that exposes rocks, minerals, miner’s locker rooms, fossils and other things that are commonly found at a mine. The guide also has a fun way to share interesting info. He set us on a treasure hunt. In it we were able to see and learn about:
• Miner’s locker room
• Dinosaur Skull
• Periodic Table
• Evacuation box for miners
2. 1300 feet under – After that learning experience you are taken inside the mine and 1300 feet below ground.
3. The Fluorescent Mineral Rock Room – I didn’t know that some rocks glow in the dark. This made miner’s work a lot easier, because they knew when they had found the minerals that they were looking for.
4. Tunnels and the workers- Everything was set up to look as if it was a working mine and everything was happening as you walked through it.
Mining is one of the most disrespected and underrated jobs out there, yet it is one of the most dangerous ones. Back in the days when this was working they hired immigrants for all sorts of dangerous jobs and equipment handling.
5. Mining Shafts – This is where everything happened. It was also a place where the workers were evacuated if they got hurt.
6. The Entrance for the Miners – The tour actually starts at the underground tunnels, it wasn’t until mid tour that we crossed over to the original mine. This was the place where workers would enter to start their day, not knowing if they would come out alive.
7. Lunch and Shopping – This was a tour with loads of information to absorb and by the end of it my kids needed some munchies. The Miner’s Lunch Box was really cheap, it allowed me to get tons of goodies for my hungry boys (we missed lunch).
With a full belly my oldest boy spent almost an hour in the shop looking at rocks and crystals. He’s been obsessed with them for a while.
Information for the Sterling Hill Mine
The mine has so many educational programs activities and tours that I would simply recommend taking the time to orient yourself with all that they have to offer.
Address and phone:
30 Plant Street, Ogdensburg, NJ 07439