BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – The Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine reopened this week for the 2021 season.
The property hosts a variety of activities, including a museum, gift shop and the iconic coal mine tours, which gives patrons an up-close look at what once was a real operating coal mine.
“It’s such a unique experience, there’s not many places you can really go into a coal mine,” Leslie Baker, the Director of Beckley Parks and Recreation said.
This is the 59th season for the Exhibition Coal Mine. And they are especially excited for this year, because after a year-long hiatus, they’re opening the coal mine back up for in-person tours.
In 2020, the coal mine tours were put on hiatus due to concerns with the pandemic, and instead a video detailing the mine’s history was shown to patrons.
They say this first week has been hugely popular, with dozens going on the tour each day. And that’s kept the coal industry experts at the mine quite busy.
“We love to do this, we love to tell people about coal and the coal industry,” said Tour Guide Gearld Lucas. “And this is a good way to do it.”
They’re also taking all the necessary steps to make sure the tour is safe.
“We’re gonna put people together in family groups and not put many people on the trains together,” Baker added.
Also at the Coal Mine is the mine museum and gift shop, as well as the Youth Museum. Everything at the Exhibition Coal Mine takes roughly three hours to fully explore.
“They come thinking they’re just going to go underground, and then they visit the mine museum and then go through the coal camp. Then they go through the youth museum and the mountain homestead. And then they’re so much more pleased because it’s much more than they thought.”