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The world has its eight wonders. Structures like the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, and the Giza Pyramids have stretched artistic ingenuity almost to the breaking point. And the Sunflower State has its own version. These are also called the Eight Wonders of Kansas. Among the elite group of eight in Kansas are the Big Well Museum, the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge—also known as Cheyenne Bottoms—and the Kansas Underground Salt Museum, unique for being the only salt museum in the United States that’s accessible to the public.


There’s a reason the Kansas Underground Salt Museum is among the eight wonders of Kansas. Many amazing attractions—all within the state—did not manage the cut. That means it’s not just any other attraction. There’s something about this famous salt museum that leaves visitors in utter awe. And that’s what we reveal here, including how far it really goes.

Here’s Why Kansas’ Strataca Is A Must-see

Just for its immense size, the Kansas Underground Salt Museum is a must-see. The salt formations—that are the lifeblood of this museum—have veins that span an impressive 69,929 square kilometers. That’s about 27,000 square miles. For perspective, it’s an area larger than West Virginia and about the size of Ireland. The veins meander through four states: Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and all the way to New Mexico. These vast salt formations were the source of scientific discovery—in 1998—that would jolt the scientific community all over the globe.

Pulling up a block of rock salt that weighed about 220 pounds from a subterranean nuclear waste dump connected with these expansive formations, a crystal of salt, the size of a postage stamp—was found to be containing bacteria that was supposedly 250 million years old. This discovery, among other crucial implications, revealed to us the tenacity of life—in conditions that are some of the most forbidding. For instance, it’s unbelievable that these bacteria would go into a “temporary” state of hibernation for a mind-blogging 250 million years. And it’s these kinds of lessons, and kindred others, that await visitors to this impressive site. And for the doubting Thomases, the piece of the salt crystal where this 250-million-year-old bacterium was discovered—is on display at the museum.

Related: 9 Magical Caves Under The Earth You Should Visit.

What Kansas’ Strataca Tour Entails

Descending several feet underground, visitors enter into a cool and calming subterranean world—built by salt deposits in the Perminia Sea—in the far distant part. Consisting of more than 150 miles of tunnels, this quiet underground world is as vast as the rock formations that have built them. One of the hot favorites on this trip is the Salt Mine Express Train Ride. It’s a journey into an underground time capsule that has essentially remained the same for more than 50 years. The rails were abandoned in the early days of salt mining. Later, volunteers laid them to fit the width and breadth of the underground tunnels. The Salt Mine Express Ride entails narrations that delve into the interesting history of the mines and some fascinating factoids. But this is only one of three rides visitors will want to participate in.

Aside from the Salt Mine Express Train Ride, there’s another ride known as the Dark Ride. This one takes 40 minutes and, unlike the Salt Mine Express, is conducted on a tram. This memorable ride is punctuated with several stops to marvel at unique salt formations and a number of abandoned equipment in this underground maze. Towards the end of this ride, there’s a brief stop where travelers are allowed to quickly get off the tram—to pick a rock they’ll keep as a souvenir of the trip.

The last ride, and the newest, is the Salt Safari. This ride is special because it goes into places of the salt mine that were previously inaccessible to the public. This tour takes an hour and goes beyond Strataca.

Here’s How To Financially Plan Your Trip To Kansas’ Strataca

One of the most important elements of a travel plan is money. And for this, travelers to Kansas’ Strataca will need to budget $21. That amount covers the admission fees for adults(13-59) as well as the Dark Ride—and the Salt Mine Express Train Ride. Children aged 4 to 12 will, on the other hand, pay $14.

Related: Visiting The Stunning Maya Ritual Caves Of The Mayan Peninsula.

On the flip side, seniors (60+) and veterans will pay a slightly discounted amount of $19. Locals—meaning residents of Reno County—also benefit from a significantly discounted price of $15. For those who want to take part in the Salt Safari, the museum offers a Combo Pass of $34. This is all it takes to enjoy what has been deservedly included among the Eight Wonders of Kansas. An adventure to Strataca is a deep dive into Missouri’s well-covered secret—literally.