Not Exactly Disneyland…

March 17th, 2010

But it’s pretty damn close…

Yes, we have EIGHT wonders in Kansas!

Not six!



And one of them is a SALT MINE!

Please don’t let your brain EVEN BEGIN to consider what the other SEVEN WONDERS might BE!





We took the elevator down into the mine and we took the tour.
But only after we had applied the appropriate safety gear and listened to the salt mine safety lecture that includes the stern admonishment…


Because if EVERYONE licks the walls – there won’t BE a salt mine much LONGER!



I did not lick the walls.

Because GROSS!


My four sons

And my husband

All licked the walls.

It must be a male recessive gene….


You know what else they have in those salt mines?

Other than lickable walls that you are not supposed to LICK?


And salt?


And mining equipment?


And a gift shop?











Turns out that salt mines are the perfect place to store valuable items.

Because the temperature never changes.

And there’s virtually no humidity.

Plus, it’s very hard to break into a salt mine and steal stuff.

And it’s in Kansas.

So who would bother anyway?

The only real danger to the stored items are people who might occasionally LICK THEM!

I confess…


I licked a cardboard box that contained a few original episodes of Friends.





This has been another riveting day trip in the Land of ‘Ahs’.




I suggest taking slow deep breaths to bring your pulse rate back down.


And it’s back to the salt mines for me,

(hee ha ho ho har har hee ho ho hee har har hee hee haw haw hwah ha ha hee hee HEE!)


  • Spinny:


    I need an expert opinion.

  • Oh man, that would have been the perfect place to ask that! Can you call them right quick?

  • Gee… it looks like sooo much fun.

    By the look on their faces I think I’ll pass on the 8th wonder of Kansas.

    Ahhh… family vacations are they best!

  • Kay in KCMO:

    I’m envious; I’ve wanted to go there for years. The original episodes of “The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson” are there.

    So, Rechelle, what did you buy in the gift shop? The mind reels.

  • suzetta:

    Whoa, I passed out for a minute there–must have been the slow, deep breathing.

  • Boz:

    I like your sarcasm, it is very funny!

  • Rechelle:

    Spinny – Where was my brain! How could I not have asked!

  • Rechelle:

    Wait! Clearly I was too stupefied by the overwheming excitement of this tour to ask any philosophical questions. I can’t be blamed!

  • DirtyKSmama - Nikki:

    But did they lick the part with the ancient bacteria in it?

    Last month I had a reunion in Wichita with a friend I hadn’t seen in 20 years. And where’s one place we went? The salt museum!
    Yeah, we know how to party like it’s 1989. But the drive was good for talking and catching up, and we can cross that Wonder off our lists.

  • I was hoping it looked like the Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland inside. But I still think it is cool they store films inside. I would have licked the Friends boxes too.

  • Wow – & to think: your boys, when they’re in college, & everyone’s all, “Let’s go to Cancun! Or, let’s go to West Palm Beach!” They’ll understand that nothing (no – NOTHING) will ever compare to Spring Break 2010! The year they toured the 8th Wonder of Kansas!! I’m jealous….

  • Ashley F.:

    Oh man–how have I NOT been to the salt mine museum? Or to Cowtown? Or the Garden of Eden? Or the World’s Biggest Collection of the World’s Smallest Versions of the World’s Largest things for that matter? (uh, yeah,
    I haven’t even been to the World War I museum. I clearly need to have a massive, Kansas-style staycation this summer.

  • Ashley – your life is an empty vacuum of endless night. Get thee to a salt mine and fill it up!

  • Nancy:

    Wow, what a great Christmas card photo op! I can see the card now…”SEASONing Greetings, from Mrs Salt and Dr Pepper”

    Actually, I had heard about the salt mines being used for storage, but never realized you could actually tour them. That’s kind of cool!

  • Now I know where we’re going on vacation this summer. Thanks so much for your tour, Rechelle!

  • Wendy:

    I REALLY need to know what the other seven are.

  • Action Squirrel:

    You need to follow that up next year with a visit to the Corn Palace. That was certainly the highlight of all my existence.

  • km:

    Beats the Trash Museum in CT.

    I kept thinking of Austin Powers when I saw your pictures

  • The Garden of Eden in Lucas is totally worth visiting. If you go, check out the Grassroots Art Center and the creepy doll art (creepy but fascinating). I’d love to go back someday when the Flying Pig Studio and Gallery (ceramics) is open. The one thing in Lucas that I didn’t really think was worth the time was the Florence Deeble Rock Garden, but it was on the Grassroots Art tour and didn’t take much time. The World’s Collection of the Smallest Versions, etc. was not open when I was there either, but I didn’t feel too compelled to visit that anyway. All of that surely tops some salty hole in the ground, but I can’t say for sure as I’ve never been to the salt mines.

  • Heidi:

    That family photo? My daughter had the same look on her face last year when we took her to the Ronald Reagan Library and Museum over spring break. We had to stop at a mall on the way home to put the sparkle back in her eyes.

    You don’t happen to have a chocolate mine do you? ‘Cause I would surely lick the walls in that…..bacteria be damned!!!

  • amy:

    “Male recessive gene”– I love it. As a mom of three boys, I’m with you on that one!!!

  • I agree with Action Squirrel: next up the Corn Palace (Mitchell, SD), then a side trip to the Spam Museum (Austin, MN if memory serves)!

    I was really hoping you were gonna say you found Mike Rowe down there (he did a salt mine episode, although I don’t think it was in KS). But hey, original films are almost as good! I’m curious about the Superman costume and what looks to be Agent Smith from the Matrix…

  • Emily:

    LOL. I knew there was a reason I’ve avoided the midwest ;)

  • Kansas Girl:

    As a person who was raised in that area of the state, I always wanted to see the salt mines. It is an amazing thing to me–but I love living in Kansas and am very proud of the history our state as well as the Wonders of Kansas. I hope that while you were in the area you also took in the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center.

    We have lots of cool stuff in Kansas–Rock City at Minneapolis, The Largest Ball of Twine at Cawker City, The Garden of Eden at Lucas, The Tulip Festival in Wamego and the list just goes on and on.

    Enjoy your trip through the state!

  • Jamie:

    Looks like fun! I kinda want to check it out!

  • Jennifer:

    Just the kind of place my family loves visiting. Our criteria usually hinges on “when will we ever get the chance again?” Never imagined they keep all that cool stuff there–so it fits our criteria. Now we just have to get from Brooklyn to Kansas.

    Is that the place they featured on Dirty Jobs? I suppose most salt mines look alike, but it looks just like the one Mike Rowe visited.

  • Yes – it was featured on dirty jobs.

  • Nancy:

    Well, we just LOVEd the Garden of Eden at Lucas – stopped there on our way out West last vacation. Definitely would recommend that to anyone going that way. Also we LOVED the Steamship Arabia museum in Kansas City. Fascinating places.
    I will put the Salt Mine on our list to see the next time we head out thru Kansas.

  • Mindy:

    Mmm, salt. As for if salt can lose it’s saltiness, technically no. (Please skip to next paragraph if chemistry scares you) Salt (table salt and others) is the result of an acid and a base reacting and the salt is the leftover ionic substance after you take away water and carbon dioxide. Table salt (sodium chloride) actually comes from the combination of hydrochloric acid and baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). Obviously it’s also found in mineral states, otherwise there wouldn’t be salt mines.

    So as long as salt is a salt, it is salty. It will only lose it’s saltiness if it gets chemically altered, but then it is no longer a salt. So no, salt cannot lose it’s saltiness.

    I would have licked the wall.

  • Cristen:

    Next on the list – the worlds largest ball of twine! Only I’d seriously advise against licking that. It looked disgusting enough when I was forced to visit it 18 years ago. I can’t even imagine the state it is in now!

  • km:

    Rechelle, OT have you been reading about the Texas Board of Ed Social Studies curriculum votes?

  • Nanc in Ashland:

    Did Mike Rowe lick the walls!? If I visit Kansas I will be touring the salt mines. I love this stuff. I love touring factories, farms, historical sights–you name it, I love touring it! If you ever make it to Oregon I highly recommend the Harry and David factory tour because not only do you see an enormous popcorn popper making Moose Munch, at the end of the tour you get cookies and candy!

    • I just read up on it Nanc. I guess my question is – how much influence does the content of a textbook really have over the individual classroom teachers? My eldest son just told me that his biology teacher moved from TX to KS so that he didn’t have to teach by the TX book. Evidently KS teachers have more freedom to teach the class they want to teach and are not as restricted by the content of the textbook.

  • I’ve lived in Kansas all my life and have never been! I really should try to do that. I wish I’m “met” you sooner because you drove within just a few miles of our farm in Goessel. :)

  • Kait:

    Okay, it might have been boring for you. But I knew none of that. Thankfully you have told me and I won’t have to endure it myself. :)

  • Maria:

    Wow. This is right up there with my favorite site from my old stomping grounds in Wisconsin. The Grotto. Seriously, it’s got a gift shop. If that doesn’t put it on the map, what does? It brings religion and patriotism together! (says so on it’s website)

  • Freth:

    There are some caverns where they store food and other stuff underground then ship it out later in 18-wheeler trucks … I’m just glad that I never had to deliver or pick up a load down there … :-p

  • Fran:

    I have got to get to Kansas!

  • Ewwwwwww, on the licking of the walls. You never know who licked before them LOL.

  • LucyGolden:

    I think I might have been tempted to lick the walls…especially if Mike Rowe had licked them, too!

  • the salt mine museum has a gift shop? what do they sell? clumps of salt? salt crystal sculptures?


  • stephanie:

    The Ball of Twine is not as exciting as it sounds. I don’t recommend it.

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  • Twin-Skies:

    Sad to say the only time I’ve ever seen a salt mine was on the Discovery Channel :(

    Thanks for the pics Rechelle – I’d love to visit that!

  • Isabel:

    so that’s where they keep the Lois and Clark bloopers. I’ve heard about it. Fascinating!

  • FL Liz:

    LOLOL.. !! Yes those faces look like my son’s face when I ‘MADE’ him go see the Senator: United States largest Bald Cypress Tree.
    It was neato, and sort of worth the 3 hour drive to get there.

    And, Stephanie advising that the Ball of Twine is not as exciting as it sounds……. ‘sif it sounded exciting. Actually the Salt mine is something I would tour.. I love stuff like that.

    It’s only out on VHS tape, but if you ever get the chance to see a Disney movie, Tourist Trap, it’s hilarious and contains tour sites like Barb Wire World and The World’s Smallest Cave.

  • Kay in KCMO:

    Maria, I’ve been to the the grotto! It’s just off I-90 iirc. I was traveling from La Crosse to Oshkosh. It’s…well… very, very weird. The diorama’s are just freaky and back then (’89 I think) were very poorly done. Comically poorly done. My friend and I were giggling hysterically all the way through. Not the reaction that was wanted needless to say.

  • BlonDee:

    Rechelle..I haven’t been on the tour, but I did work for Underground Vaults & Storage several years back. It was a really neat work environment and the only place that I’ve ever had to wear a sweatshirt to work in the middle of a Kansas heatwave. My hubby wants to go, but after working there, it just doesn’t have the same fascination for me. Oh, and by the way….I never licked the walls, but I did lick small salt chunks!