Montana Trip, Part 2: Butte and Vicinity
A few days after arriving in Montana, the kids, Grammy, Grandma Janet, and I set off on a Montana state history vacation. We started our trip in Philipsburg. We read about the town's history, visited several shops (including the giant candy store!), then "mined" for sapphires. Although we didn't find any sapphires, our little rockhounds loved finding garnets, amethysts, topaz, fluorite, and peridot.
We tried out the Copper Chute Slide in Anaconda next.
We got to Butte in the evening and settled in at the KOA. Grandma brought a tent so each child got to have a turn camping with her.
In the morning, we went to the World Museum of Mining. It's situated on the old Orphan Girl Mine in Butte.
Here's the "Gallus Frame" (head frames were called gallows frames because mining was so dangerous).
An old mine shaft
An elevator once ridden down into the mine shaft
"Wow! What a giant scooper," said Ascha.
The tires dwarf even grown-ups!
The kids had a lot of fun at the mining museum.
It was fun for me to take a trip down memory lane. My grandparents took my cousins, siblings, and I to Butte many times. I remember swinging on these old-fashioned swings behind the museum schoolhouse as a child.
After a long morning at the museum, we managed to catch a late afternoon trolley tour. The boys enjoyed it, as did the adults. Ascha didn't love the tour, but she did love falling asleep on Mimi's lap.
The tour took us to the Berkeley Pit. It's a GIANT hole in the ground left over from an open pit copper mine.
After our long, hot day of adventure, we all felt like cooling down, so we spent the evening in the swimming pool at the campground.
The next morning, we packed up camp and drove up to the Montana Tech Mineral Museum. The boys were enthralled and enjoyed seeing all the amazing rocks. Some are huge (like this amethyst and a giant smokey quartz crystal), some are luminescent and/or phosphorescent (they have a dark room filled with "glowing" rocks), some are valuable (they had some amazing gems on display), and some were just plain cool (like the fossils). Ascha was nonplussed, but she wandered around with the grandmas and enjoyed their company.