Tucked away in the heart of the mid-west, Bonne Terre Mine is one of the most exquisite man-made wonders in the US. Formed by the shear determination and ingenuity of several generations of the toughest men in the mining industry, this amazing phenomenon was opened to the public in the early 1980’s. Beautifully preserved by time, guests are transported back to the early 1900’s as they descend the 65 steps into the heart of the Mine. Above ground, they do not realize the enormity of the maze of tunnels and cathedral size rooms hundreds of feet below the surface. Areas below ground have been minimally adapted to provide the Mine’s guests with just under an hour of ooh’s, aah’s, history and fun.
Several years of research, exploring, planning and careful preparation culminated in Bonne Terre Mine’s unique experience for divers and non-divers alike. After descending into the bowels of the earth, breathtaking views thrill participants of all ages and provide an unforgettable experience. Walking through the Mine is like traveling back in time – eerie, quiet and very still. Whether above water in the boat or below water in scuba gear, the awe-inspiring crystal clear, time-stilled waters offer a glimpse of bygone days of the mining industry at its peak. Use your imagination and you can see the miners punching their time cards at the time keepers shack, sitting on a ledge reading a magazine during their break, or climbing overhead on scaffolding that is now suspended in space and time.
The dock is the beating, pulsing heart of the Mine from which all activity flows. From the dock divers enter and exit the water. Tourists board the pontoon boat for their excursion on the billion gallon lake. During the boat tour, guests hear stories of filming movies – The Abyss, sporting events – Red Bull’s Wake Board Contest, and documentaries by the Travel Channel and the History Channel. They peer over the edge at the mining equipment left behind fifty years ago preserved as far as three hundred feet below the surface. Weekends provide the opportunity to watch scuba divers explore the depths below. Follow their bubbles as they move smoothly through the still waters.
Divers venture through the mystical world of water silenced by years of seclusion and secrecy. Explore the open water and catacombs where Jacques Cousteau and his crew spent five and a half days investigating the underwater phenomenon of the Mine. Float through the keyhole, play with mining tools that chiseled rock decades ago and were left behind in ore carts that stand stationary, move through the crystal room to see large quartz deposits and blue and green calcite falls. Marvels are suspended in time around every pillar and in every room, down every shaft and up the staircase.