• Where: Quecreek Mine Rescue site
• How much: Admission is $5; free for those under 5.
• How far: 73 miles from Pittsburgh; it's about 4.5 miles from Exit 110 at Somerset, off the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
• What for: With the miraculous rescue of 33 Chilean miners still fresh in everyone's mind, combine a beautiful fall drive to the site of Western Pennsylvania's own "9 for 9" miracle eight years ago when nine coal miners were pulled to safety after being trapped in the Quecreek mine for five days. The developing Monument of Life at the rescue site on Dormel Farms honors the tireless heroism of the workers who successfully saved the miners in July 2002. Farmer-turned-Quecreek Mine Rescue Foundation director Bill Arnold said the number of visitors -- typically about 10,000 a year -- has increased in the wake of the Chilean incident and the weekly hits on the foundation's website jumped to 3,000 last week, compared with the usual 200-300 a week. Construction is under way on a permanent education and visitors center, which is expected to open next summer, he said. When completed, the 5-acre site is expected to be the largest tribute to America's rescue workers in the country. Among features to see is a 7-foot bronze statue of a coal miner and an arbor garden tribute to the 18 Quecreek miners in the mine on the day the nine were trapped. The capsule used to rescue the men also is on display in the temporary visitors center.
The site is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. The temporary center closes Oct. 31 and reopens April 1, but visitors can tour the grounds year-round. Quecreek also is a stop on several local "Heroes" bus tours that include the nearby Flight 93 crash site, also in Somerset County. For more information, check www.quecreekrescue.org or call 1-814-445-4876.