As the focal points of the City’s lovely New RiverPark, the Exhibition Coal Mine and theYouth Museum draw thousands of people to the area annually. The unique underground mine, the recreated coal camp, the Youth Museum and the Mountain Homestead are surrounded by inviting lawns, colorful flowers, picnic areas, an imposing coal miner statue and a whimsical 20 ft. “Peace Totem”.
At the Exhibition Coal Mine, visitors ride through the dark passages of a vintage coal mine. The guides are veteran miners and provide firsthand accounts of the daily responsibilities and travail of past and present day miners.
Guests board a comfortable coal mine “man trip” that holds approximately 35 people for the duration of the whole tour. As the trip begins, guides give general information about the Mine and the history of coal mining in our region. The Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine is a “drift mine” and the track goes 1500 feet up and around various mined out areas. Stops are made at these areas and the veteran guides give in-depth information on the mining methods and equipment seen. The underground tour last approximately 35 minutes. Visitors are asked to bring a jacket because the temperature is always 58 degrees inside the Mine.
In addition to the Mine, one can tour the period coal camp buildings situated throughout the grounds. Lovingly restored, the Coal Company House, Superintendent’s Home, Pemberton Coal Camp Church, and the Helen Coal Camp School, give visitors a true representation of early 20th century coal camp life.
The Exhibition Coal Mine operates on a seasonal schedule, opening on April 1 and closing November 2.
During peak season most tours begin on the hour and on the half hour.