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“A unique experience”

Seldom Seen Tourist Coal Mine
Ranked #3 of 6 things to do in Patton
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Attraction details
Owner description: A trip to this coal mine is a trip back through Pennsylvania's history.
Ebensburg, PA
Level Contributor
336 reviews
151 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 120 helpful votes
“A unique experience”
Reviewed 9 February 2012

You travel inside of a real coal mine with a real coal miner. The experience is so different from most tourist sites that you will either be totally bored or astonished.

Thank Cambria5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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20 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
728 reviews
356 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 402 helpful votes
“An interactive journey back in time to when coal was king”
Reviewed 19 September 2011

We wanted to see a real coal mine and this is one of the few that we could do as a day trip. The drive there was long, tedious and windy and the entrance is not well marked, but once there, we got our tickets and were met for the tour within a half hour. It was given by a retired mine supervisor so we couldn't have had a better guide. At that time, we were the only ones there, so we had our guide to ourselves and could really take in the experience fully. He was very knowledgeable about the equipment, jobs and politics of the coal system. Some of the original tunneling and drilling machines were on display outside the mine. They were massive, loud, and dangerous to operate. We rode into the mine on a little train, which is how the workers went in, and once it came to a stop inside the mine, were allowed to get out and walk around in certain areas, heads bent. The donkeys that they used actually lived below ground and were used to the noise, smells, and constant heavy dust and debris that the coal created. Inhaling coal dust is very deadly but in those days they didn't have masks, goggles, nor earplugs to keep it out. Men, boys and animals could get very ill from the effects of black lung and some died in the name of progress from excavating tunnels in order to supply the high demand for coal in those days. This was a very real, eye opening experience and I would recommend it to any family or group.

Visited March 2011
1 Thank travelkitty50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
33 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Well worth driving here”
Reviewed 29 August 2011

I can't say enough about this place. The Seldom Seen Mine is a hidden gem. I have dim memories of my parents bringing me here as a kid, so I found it online and brought my 8 year old son. Winding our way north of Altoona, we found the mine. Tours start at noon, and we got there at 11:10. There was plenty to look at while waiting for the tour, and we were entertained until the tour preparation started.

When the tour starts, you get a hard hat and a brief overview about what to expect including a short bit about how the mine is ventilated and safe to enter. Then you load up into some mine cars pulled by a battery powered engine. The tour guide (Bill, I believe) knew a lot about coal mining from the early methods to modern processing. He did a great job showing you not only how coal is mined but also explaining the conditions for those who worked in mines in the early 1900's. The guide stopped at various points inside and outside of the mine to explain machinery, processes, and history. Inside the mine, the kids got to mine their own coal with a pick and take it out as a souvenir.

The mine was not as cold as some caves I've toured, and I suspect this has something to do with the ventilation that circulates outside air into the passages. Also, I'm fairly tall (6'0"), and sometimes claustrophobic. Though I could not at any point during the tour stand straight up due to the ceiling height, I was not bothered by being down in the mine.

There is nothing fancy about this place. From the VHS orientation video to the complete lack of cell phone reception, the mine is a throwback to the 80's. However, the Seldom Seen Coal Mine was fun, educational, reasonably priced, and stood in contrast to today's polished tourist traps. I plan on coming back in the next few years to bring my other kids. We had a great time, and this place is worth breaking out the map (GPS doesn't really get you here).

Visited August 2011
1 Thank flightlessbirds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jupiter, Florida
Level Contributor
11 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Off the beaten path, but definitely worth the drive!”
Reviewed 2 July 2010

The Seldom Seen Coal Mine is a gem! I discovered it while searching on the internet for fun things to do with children in Pennsylvania. We enjoyed a wonderful drive through the rolling hills of Pennsylvania to get there, and it was well worth it. I really didn't know what to expect during the tour, but when we donned our hard hats and climbed aboard a small tram that took us into the mine, I knew we were in for a fun adventure. The ride inside the mine was great fun for my boys, ages 8 and 10. I wasn't expecting to learn so much of the history of coal mines, or to see first-hand how coal mining was actually done. Our guide was very knowledeable and had us all enthralled with his history of the mines and some great stories as well. We were inside the mine for more than an hour, and when we came out I had a greater understanding of coal mine operations, and how dangerous it all is. I highly recommend this attraction to anyone looking for something different to do. How often will you get a chance to experience first-hand the wonders of a coal mine?

1 Thank Blueskat2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pittsburgh, PA
Level Contributor
51 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Out of the way, but a nice little stop that is worthwhile”
Reviewed 26 May 2009

I can't believe no one has written about this attraction before. Granted it is a bit out of the way. And that led us to joke among our family that that is why it is called "Seldom Seen." But it is wonderful and we had a lot of fun there.

It fit in very nicely as we made a weekend loop around Altoona and Johnstown. We also visited the Horseshoe Curve, the Johnstown Flood Museum and the National Memorial, and the Heritage Discovery Center, including the Wagner Ritter House. To top it off, so to speak, we road the Incline to the top of the mountain, where we had a very nice meal before heading back to the North Hills of Pittsburgh.

The mine was pretty special. Then again I love little out of the way tourist spots around Pennsylvania. You put on a hard hat and ride on a tram into what once was a real working coal mine.

Our guide was a retired coal miner who really knew what he was talking about. Not only was he informative, he was very enjoyable, posing with my daughter for a nice photo.

Before heading down to Altoona to see the if the Curve was still there, we had a nice meal at the Miners' Rest, a historic restaurant and landmark in the small town of Patton. I would recommend that for a stop as well.

1 Thank Sybernet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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