If you are in Vancouver and want to take your family for a fun getaway, head to Britannia Mine Museum. It would especially be an adventurous trip for your family if they are interested in discovering history and relive past age in present.
If you have cheap flight tickets to Vancouver booked, the Britannia Mine Museum is just 55 kilometers drive from North Vancouver. If you drive through Sea to Sky Highway or along Howe Sound to Squamish, it is difficult not to notice the giant mill which is a well known sign of this museum. The stunning location of the museum between Squamish and Vancouver makes it an ideal place to explore with family on a bright day.
It is a huge museum build across 10 acres of impressively maintained property. Getting around the museum to see all the buildings and exhibits is pretty easy but there are some stairs to climb to for a mine tour; so, see if the elderly members of the family could manage.
Inside The Tunnels
While the cheap flights to Vancouver would let you enjoy the magnificent Canadian skyline, the Britannia Mine Museum will take you underground. The tour takes about 45 minutes and a fresh batch progresses every half an hour from 10 AM to 4:30 in the evening. The museum is open seven days a week.
There are 210 kilometers of underground tunnels that are blasted through the mountains to lay down the railway tracks and other equipments. Since most of the tour part is through underground tunnels, make sure that you are dressed warmly because the temperature could be quite low.
A little train from the entrance drops you inside the tunnel for a short demonstration in the working tunnel. Expert tour guides accompany you to explain the mining processes. The ear-deafening sound out of a compressed air diamond drill can certainly give you an idea about life of the historical miners who worked in shifts.
There are some more demonstrations that explain how those miners used to gather up the rocks, blast the mountains, sort and process the entire stuff. It is fun to watch old machineries work and the tour guides actually fire up some old drilling equipment in front of your eyes. The tunnel tour is fascinating for everyone – be it children or adults.
Over The Mill
After the tunnels, mills are the place where tour ends. Mill 3 is 20 storey tall and that is huge considering it was built in 1921. By the year 1929, Britannia mines were the largest producer of copper in whole British Empire. It even extracted huge amounts of gold, silver, zinc, lead and cadmium.
In 2007, mill 3 underwent a structural restoration that included changing over 14 thousand glass panes that provided much light to miners of the past and current visitors. The tour guides also narrate interesting stories of the miner communities from past. You even get to see historic photo albums along with letters and small artifacts like household items and cameras etc to showcase the lifestyle of the miners.
At the museum you have the gold panning available and there also is a kid’s play area in the Beaty-Lundin Visitor Center – the main exhibition hall. The mineral gallery, gift shop, Canadian mining hall of fame and other mining displays make this place an ideal getaway from Vancouver with family. For quick, cheap tickets & flights booking to Vancouver, just click here.