Old Mines, Quarries, Repurposed into Spectacular Worldwide Attractions

Did you ever wonder what happens to old mines and quarries after they have been abandoned?

📅   Tue October 10, 2017 - National Edition
Emily Buenzle


Subtropolis Technology Center, Kansas City, Mo.
Subtropolis Technology Center, Kansas City, Mo.
Subtropolis Technology Center, Kansas City, Mo.
Louisville Mega Cavern, Louisville, Ky. 
Henry C. Palmisano Nature Park, Chicago
Shimao Wonderland InterContinental Hotel, Shanghai, China Salina Turda Amusement Park, Turda, Romania

Did you ever wonder what happens to old mines and quarries after they have been abandoned? Some might just sit empty, but others around the world have been repurposed into amusement parks, hotels, parks and more.

Bisnow recently compiled a list of some of the world's most interesting revitalized mines and quarries:

1. Louisville Mega Cavern, Louisville, Ky.

The Stats:

  • This old limestone mine stretches 100 acres beneath the 10-lane Watterton Expressway and areas of the Louisville Zoo.
  • The Cavern is technically considered a building, thanks to its support structures, and holds the title of Kentucky's Largest Building.
  • Now, the Cavern is used for a variety of purposes, including space for recycling, storage, businesses and tourism. Attractions such as zip lines, a dirt bike track, tram tours, a rope course and a holiday lights display keep visitors coming.
  • At a comfy 58 degrees year-round, the cavern is a great place to explore in any season.
  • 2. Salina Turda Amusement Park, Turda, Romania

    The Stats:

  • Between the 1800s and 1932, over three billion tons of salt were mined at this location.
  • The mine sits 400 ft. beneath the earth, which made it the perfect place for both a WWII bomb shelter and a cheese locker.
  • Now, Salina Turda is an amusement park, complete with a Ferris wheel, a lake with paddle and row boats, a bowling alley, miniature golf, ping pong, an amphitheater and a spa.
  • 3. Subtropolis Technology Center, Kansas City, Mo.

    The Stats:

  • Hunt Midwest Real Estate Development turned this old limestone mine into a business park, complete with a $60 million data center, which it opened in 2014 with LightEdge Solutions.
  • The location was ideal: the limestone walls are six times as strong as concrete, and electricity was already installed from when the space served as a mine. What's more, the underground temperatures were perfect for the data center.
  • 4. Henry C. Palmisano Nature Park, Chicago

    The Stats:

  • list item
  • Stearns Quarry once produced the limestone that helped build downtown Chicago and the Illinois & Michigan Canal from 1836 to 1970.

  • At its deepest, the quarry descends 380 ft. below street level.
  • For thirty years after it closed, the quarry became a dumping area for clean construction debris, until 1999 when Chicago asked city departments to submit proposals for how to revamp the site.
  • The winner was the Chicago Park District, which made the space into a 27-acre nature park, complete with native plants, almost two miles of footpaths and catwalks, a soccer field and a retention pond that sits 40 ft. below street level, and features an exposed limestone wall.
  • The Park District filled the quarry with more than 40,000 sq. ft. of topsoil, burying the construction debris.
  • 5. Shimao Wonderland InterContinental Hotel, Shanghai, China

    The Stats:

  • What was once a stone quarry about 30 miles outside downtown Shanghai, will become an InterContinental Hotels Group hotel, set to open in 2018.
  • The Shimao Shanghai Group has already put up $555 million to build the facility, which will feature 370 rooms across 19 stories, 17 of which will be below ground level, with the remaining two located underwater.
  • The hotel's design is meant to mimic hanging gardens.
  • A man-made lake at the quarry's bottom will be used for water sports, including sailing.
  • The quarry's walls will be host to rock climbing and bungee jumping.