For the past 10 years driving along desolate Hwy 58 running between California and Las Vegas out in the Mojave Desert; I have seen the sign for the Boron Museum and promised myself that I would stop “next time.” Well, that “next time” always came and went waiting for the “next time” to appear. This weekend I stopped. I’m glad I did.
It’s a little creepy taking a road to “nowhere.” While you see the Boran Operations ahead, the road to the museum goes straight past and up a high gravel road to the top where the Borax Visitor Center sits. It’s a strange and lonely drive.
Once there we explored the outside first where a life sized replica of a Twenty Mule Team is hitched up to carts of Borax ready to make the dangerous ride down the mountain and through the high desert. You will also find a 100 ton truck tire, picnic shelter, and the headframe from the original underground mine. Climb the small hill at the back of the center for stunning view of the open pit mine which descends an amazing 850 ft down. Hard to believe this was an underground mine until the 1950’s!
The Borax Visitor’s Center is small but educational. Retired miners act as guides through the mining process and do they ever know their stuff. Ask them any question and they have the answer. From huge rocks of Borate, to displays of all the products that contain borate, and models of the different parts of the plant below; this is the place you want to go to learn all about borate mining.
The only thing I didn’t care for was the short film that was shown in the theatre. While very educational it felt more like a company promotional piece than a sincere desire to teach visitors more about the mining process. But the highlight of it all was the opening of the back curtain to see the vast 2 mile long mine which mines over three million tons of ore every year. It truly is an amazing site.
This is one of those short off-road breaks. Give yourself about an hours time to look around, visit the gift shop, view the films and the displays.
Just a few of the products that use borates:
Space Shuttle tiles
Teflon Cooking Utensils
The Visitors Center is located in Boron, CA and is open seven days a week from 9 a.m.- 4:45 p.m. excluding major holidays. This is a FREE museum and they even give you your own sample of Borax to take home with you!