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School groups

Learn right there where it all actually happened

Salt. A valuable natural resource that played a huge role in the history of Salzburg.
During your next school trip to Salzwelten Salzburg, we will tell you exactly why that is. Take part in our special program “Underground Classroom”, combine theoretical knowledge with hands-on experiences, so that what you learn sticks in your memory even better.
History you can touch and experiment with. We make learning fun!


The Underground Classroom

Here with us, every school class receives a special Salzwelten package at no extra cost. This includes:

  • a “salt researcher bag"
  • various salt products
  • detailed information on the topic of salt
  • instructions for a range of experiments
  • a small saltshaker for every pupil
  • a DIN A2 annual planner with class photo as a souvenir of this extraordinary learning experience below ground

 


The Mine Quiz: €300 for your class fun fund!

If you pay close attention during the guided tour of the mine, you will have the opportunity to win €300 for your class’s extra-curricular activity fund!

Pick up the “Mine Quiz” at the salt-mine ticket office and answer the questions the best you can. We will conduct a drawing for the prize money at the end of the year.


Prices

Here you will find current prices for school groups.

Prices

PACKAGES FOR SCHOOL CLASSES

Salt mine and ...

  • Entrance fee and special school tour “Underground Classroom” (duration: ca. 70 minutes)
  • Admission to Kelten.Erlebnis.Berg incl. Salt Manufactory
  • Entrance and guided school program at Museum of the Celts Hallein (duration: ca. 90 minutes)
  • Discounted admission to Silent Night Museum Hallein

For the different themes available to choose from, simply visit the official Museum of the Celts website.

Price: 17.00 EUR per person
(every 11th person free)

  • Entrance fee and special school tour “Underground Classroom” (duration: ca. 70 minutes)
  • Admission to Kelten.Erlebnis.Berg incl. Salt Manufactory
  • Ride up the Zinken on the double chairlift and exciting ride on the Alpine Slide down to the valley (only in good weather, duration ca. 1 hour)
  • Discounted admission to the Museum of the Celts and Silent Night Museum Hallein

Price: 19.10 EUR per person
(every 11th person free)

  • Entrance fee and special school tour “Underground Classroom” (duration: ca. 70 minutes)
  • Admission to Kelten.Erlebnis.Berg incl. Salt Manufactory
  • Entrance fee and guided tour of Salzachöfen Gorge incl. zipline
  • Discounted admission to the Museum of the Celts and Silent Night Museum Hallein

Price: 25.00 EUR per person
(every 11th person free)

  • Entrance fee and special school tour “Underground Classroom” (duration: ca. 70 minutes)
  • Admission to Kelten.Erlebnis.Berg incl. Salt Manufactory
  • Entrance and guided school program at Museum of the Celts Hallein (duration: ca. 90 minutes)
  • Discounted admission to Silent Night Museum Hallein

For the different themes available to choose from, simply visit the official Museum of the Celts website.

Price: 17.00 EUR per person
(every 11th person free)

  • Entrance fee and special school tour “Underground Classroom” (duration: ca. 70 minutes)
  • Admission to Kelten.Erlebnis.Berg incl. Salt Manufactory
  • Ride up the Zinken on the double chairlift and exciting ride on the Alpine Slide down to the valley (only in good weather, duration ca. 1 hour)
  • Discounted admission to the Museum of the Celts and Silent Night Museum Hallein

Price: 19.10 EUR per person
(every 11th person free)

  • Entrance fee and special school tour “Underground Classroom” (duration: ca. 70 minutes)
  • Admission to Kelten.Erlebnis.Berg incl. Salt Manufactory
  • Entrance fee and guided tour of Salzachöfen Gorge incl. zipline
  • Discounted admission to the Museum of the Celts and Silent Night Museum Hallein

Price: 25.00 EUR per person
(every 11th person free)


For Teachers: Lesson plans & materials

Here you will find not only salt facts, but also experiments, as well as various lesson planning materials available to download. We hope that these materials and hands-on activities will help teachers to enrich their students' experience as they learn about the lifegiving element of salt. 

Salt-based Knowledge

Salt is among the earliest and most important natural products, and is crucial to human survival. But not all forms of salt are created equally; the varying forms of salt are differentiated through their extraction methods and origins.

Rock Salt: Mined with Tradition

Rock salt is deeply embedded in the history of Austria and is still mined by hand to this day. Modern tools allow miners to carve large salt stones directly from the salt deposits. These large pieces of salt are later crushed and ground. Only extremely pure veins of salt deposits are suited for this dry mining method.

Among the unique qualities of rock salt from the Salzkammergut region of Austria is how untouched and natural it remains, along with its mild flavor notes and fine light beige coloring. The salt's color can be attributed to the iron content and individual mineral makeup of the region's salt deposits, which contain imporant minerals sich as calcium, magnesium, and iron oxide. No other salt deposit in the world contains the same unique mineral makeup and content.

Other well known sources of unique rock salts include

  • the pink Himalayan rock salt of Pakistan
  • the Kalahari salt found in the Kalahari desert
  • the Persian blue salt of Iran

The varying colors of rock salt reflect the differences in chemical composition and mineral deposits of difference salt sources. In contrast to our native rock salt, other forms of rock salt are imported into Austria.

Rock salt tip: With its natural qualties and mild flavor, rock salt is a great addition to any conscious kitchen. 

 

From Brine to Table Salt

Our BAD ISCHLER Fine Salt (table salt) has its origins in the prehistoric seas that existed 250 million years ago where we now have the Austrian Alps. Salt is a mineral, and consists of sodium and chloride atoms, hence its chemical descriptor of Sodium chloride (NaCl). 

Fine salt or table salt is extracted from salt deposits underground as a brine solution that is then evaporated to create the salt crystals we use in our kitchens and at our dining tables.

Through vertically drilled holes, water is pumped into the salt deposits to dissolve the rock salt, creating a cavern through which water is cycled. This begins the process of solution mining. The brine solution created in this mining process is then transported via pipelines to a facility where it is purified and evaporated. The whiter the crystals, the purer the salt.

With a sodium chloride percentage of over 99.9%, BAD ISCHLER Fine Salt is among the purest and highest quality salts - extracted from the Austrian Alps.

Fine salt has far more uses than just seasoning, it is also used in many other ways, including:

  • As pharma-salt for medical purposes
  • As salt tablets for the purification of drinking water and disinfection of pools
  • As industrial and agricultural salt

Fine salt tip: Fine table salt is the ideal salt for fermentation and pickling of foods.

 

Sea Salt: The Product of Sun and Wind

Sea salt is the created through the evaporation of sea water in natural lagoons or man made drying basins. Through exposure to sun and wind, the water evaporates from the basins, increasing the salinity of the water left behind. As the concentration of salt increases, the water is drained into the harvest basin, where the salt is allowed to crystallize and is scooped out of the water. 

Sea water has a salinity of approximately 3.5%, though this percentage varies depending on location. In cooler waters, or brackish waters where fresh water meets the ocean, salt is often at a lower concentration, while higher temperatures create more evaporation and therefore a higher salt content. The Dead Sea, for example, has a salinity of circa 28%.

Typical sea salt is naturally a larger crystal, and contains traces of calcium, magnesium, and manganese.

Sea salt tip: The larger crystals found in sea salt make for a great addition to salt rubs for poultry and other meats.

Our Austrian salt deposits were formed around 250 million years ago. But how exactly did this "white gold" end up here in the Alps? The explanation dates back to 1877, with Swedish geologist Carl Ochsenius' "bar theory":

Through shifts in the sea floor, a lagoon was formed, separated from the open ocean by a "bar." Despite the separation, salt water from the ocean still flowed into the lagoon, maintaining a similar level of salinity within the lagoon. 

Towards the end of the Paleozoic era, the warming climate led to the evaporation of the lagoon as sea levels fell. Over millions of years, the evaporation process built up the typical deposits of minerals commonly found in sea water: carbonates, sulfates, and salts. The evaporative process continued until the entirity of the sea water in the lagoon had fully evaporated.

In the Mesozoic era, these salt deposits were covered by sand and rubble, then flooded with sea water that formed new salt deposits on top. 240 million years ago, this recurring process of flooding, evaporation, and erosion formed many layers of limestone and dolomite in the region that is now the Salzkammergut. 

As the Mesozoic era came to a close, the primordial seas withdrew and the salt deposits were slowly buried. 

As the Alps began to form approximately 100 million years ago, the salt deposits and the surrounding earth and rock were uplifted, rotated, split apart, and covered with new layers of rock. These relatively malleable salt deposits became encased in other rock, and slowly found their resting place. Through the weight of the limestone mountains, the much softer and more moldable salt was pushed upwards by the pressure, and enveloped in a protective layer of clay. This process is still under way, even as we mine the salt from within the mountain.

Our BAD ISCHLER Salt, therefore, has its origins in the primordial oceans and even today maintains a pure and natural form, deep in the Austrian alps where it is mined with care and passion.

"Mankind can do without gold, but not without salt."

How much salt do we need, and why? 

Unser täglich Salz bringt uns Schmalz

The body of an adult contains anywhere from 150 to 300 grams of salt, depending on height and weight. Sodium chloride (table salt, chemical formula NaCl) is a crucial mineral for the human body that is required for many necessary functions. Salt is essential in the body, and needed for regulation of blood pressure as well as fluid regulation. A lack of salt, therefore, can negatively impact vital bodily functions. 

Osmosis, the basis of cell metabolism also operates based on the salinity of cells and their surrounding environment. Even on a microscopic level, the functioning of the human body relies on salt.

The right dose of salt

So how much salt does the human body need? The World Health Organization (WHO) reccomends that adults consume a maximum of circa 5 grams of salt per day in order to maintain these vital bodily functions. This amount is equal to approximately one teaspoon. Children require less, depending on their age and level of activity.

With a balanced diet, approximately 3/4 of the daily reccomended amount of salt intake will be met. The remaining quarter of the reccomended amount is fulfilled by table salt used for cooking and seasoning. The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment advises that adults should not consume less than 1.4 grams of salt per day in order to maintain an optimal bodily salt content.

Those who have higher activity levels, such as athletes, should be particularly vigilant about their salt intake. Of course, these needs will vary on an individual basis. so it is best to find a level of salt intake that works for your own body and lifestyle.

Salt-based Experiments

Experiment: Water Dissolves Salt

Materials:

  • Glass plate or low bowl
  • Salt
  • Semolina
  • A magnifying glass or microscope

Procedure:

  • Add water and some salt crystals to glass container.
  • Using the magnifying glass or microscope, observe as the salt crystals shrink in size until they fully dissappear.
  • Try the same method with water and semolina. What do you observe?

Experiment: Physical Separation Methods

Materials:

  • 1 glass of water
  • 1 spoonful of salt
  • 1 spoonful of semolina
  • Coffee filter
  • Cooking pot

Procedure:

  • Pour salt and semolina into glass of water, stirring well, until salt has fully dissolved.
  • In order to separate this solution of salt, water, and semolina back into its component ingredients, various filtration and seperation methods are required.
  • Semolina can be filtered out of the solution by pouring the contents of the glass through a coffee filter; the semolina is visibly separated out and left in the filter. Taste the filtered water. Was the salt filtered out as well?
  • In order to separate the salt from the water, a different phyiscal method of separation is necessary. Pour the salt solution into a pot and bring to a boil until the water has evaporated. In the bottom of the pot, a white residue will remain - give it a taste!

Experiment: 3 + 1 = 3 ??

Materials

  • Lidded glass jar
  • Salt
  • Semolina

Procedure

  • Fill the glass jar to approximately 3/4 full with water, and mark the level of the water.
  • Add your salt, mixing well, until it has fully dissolved. Check the water level after adding and dissolving salt.
  • For a comparison, try the same procedure with an equal amount of water and semolina (in the same quantity as the salt in the previous steps). What do you conclude?

Explanation

A salt crystal is composed of many extremely small pieces that are not visible to the naked eye. When a salt crystal comes into contact with water, these little pieces of the salt crystal slowly crumble apart.

In order to understand how this works, it helps to imagine water having little "spaces" or "gaps" between the miniscule components of water. The dissolved salt pieces fit perfectly into these little gaps. Because the salt pieces fit between the water molecules, they seem to dissappear, and the water level remains the same!

When we talk about salt, we usually mean table salt. In fact, there are many different chemicals that are considered salts. Salts are created when an acid is mixed with a base.

In the case of table salt (chemically: sodium chloride – NaCl), lye/caustic soda (chemically: sodium hydroxide – HCl) combines with  hydrocloric acid (HCl). The product of these chemicals when combined is table salt and water. This reaction can also be reversed, turning salt and water back into sodium hydroxide, chlorine, and hydrogen.


Experiment: Separating Table Salt into Sodium and Chlorine

Materials:

  • Lidded glass jar
  • 2 copper wires
  • 3 tsp. salt
  • 4.5 volt battery
  • Water

Experiment

  • Fill jar with water, add 3 tsp. salt and stir until salt is completely dissolved.
  • Carefully wrap wires around the two poles of the battery, taking care not to allow them to touch, then lower the wires into the salt solution.
  • The solution should now be bubbling at both ends at various levels as the electric current begins to separate the salt into its components of sodium and chlorine.
  • The wire on the negative pole of the battery (the longer side) combines the sodium in salt with water molecules to create sodium hydroxide (NaOH). On the positive pole of the battery, yellow-green bubbles, chlorine, are created, most of which binds to the copper in the wire to create copper chloride. If you waft over the jar to carefully smell the reaction, the telltale scent of chlorine should be noticable.

Explanation:

When salt is dissolved in water, the bond between sodium and chlorine is broken. While sodium and chlorin are bonded, the sodiumn atom gives the only electron in its outer shell to the chlorine atom, which then has 8 electrons in its outermost shell, bringing it to a stable noble gas configuration.

When this bond is broken, the sodium atom has one electron too few, creating a positively charged Na+ ion (ions are electrically charged molecules).

The Chlorine, however, has one electron more than usual, creating a negatively charged Cl- ion.

If an electric source is now introduced (for example, our two electrodes placed in the solution), the negative Cl- ions are drawn to the positive pole. They give up their extra electron to return to a neutral electrical charge, and become chlorine gas, which reacts with the copper of the wire and forms copper chloride.

The positive sodium ions (Na+) are attracted to the negative pole, where they gain an electron. In doing so, they become pure sodium metal, which immediately reacts to the surrounding water and becomes sodium hydroxide (NaOH), releasing hydrogen in the process.

Before the invention of canning and refrigeration, one of the most common methods of preserving food was salting. Salt was traditionally used to preserve meats (salting, pickling), fish (eg. salted herring), vegetables (sauerkraut, kimchi), and more. This trick to extend the lifespan of foods dates back as far as Ancient Egypt, where it was used to preserve food for seafaring journeys.


Experiment: Make Your Own Pickles

Materials:

  • 1/2 kg small cucumbers
  • 1/4 Liter vinegar
  • 1/4 Liter water
  • 1 tbsp. salt

Procedure:

  • Place cucumbers in a bowl and cover with cold water, then let rest overnight. Rinse and dry the next day.
  • Add cucumbers and herbs (eg. tarragon, dill, grapeleaves with whole peppercorn) in a clean jar or container in layers.
  • Mix your vinegar and water and pour into the container to fully submerge cucumbers.
  • Cover the container with a plate, weighed down by a rock or other heavy object.
  • Allow the cucumbers to pickle for at least 4 weeks, with regular monitoring. In the case of a layer of yeast or mold forming on the surface, remove and rinse the pickling cucumbers and replace the vinegar solution.

Tip:

To prevent mold and yeast, the pickling solution can be topped with a neutral cooking oil. The oil can later easily be removed from the surface with a spoon.

As far back as 1500 years ago, people in Eastern parts of the globe were already capable of cooling food and drinks. Using crushed ice sprinkled with salt, they created a sort of cooling solution that was able to cool to temperatures as low as -21° celsius. 

This method reached Europe hundreds of years later via sea trade. In winter, blocks of ice were cut from frozen lakes and streams to be stored in cellars with straw as insulation in order to save the ice to cool drinks in the summers. When extreme cold was required, the ice could be crushed and mixed with salt to achieve colder refrigeration.


Experiment: Refrigerating Solution

Materials:

  • ca. 1/2 kg ice or snow
  • 150 g salt
  • Glass jar or other container
  • Mixing spoon
  • Hammer
  • Kitchen towel

Procedure:

  • Packe die Eiswürfel in das Geschirrtuch und lege es auf die schlagfeste Unterlage. Zertrümmere nun die Eiswürfel mit dem Hammer möglichst klein (Aufpassen, dass du nicht deine Finger erwischst!)
  • Fülle nun 2-3 cm davon in das Gurkenglas, darüber streust nun eine etwa 1 cm dicke Schicht Salz, darüber wieder Eis usw.
  • Rühre jeweils mit einem Kochlöffel um.
  • Stecke nun bevor die Masse zu hart wird, das Thermometer in das Gemisch und verfolge, wie die Temperatur absinkt.

Erklärung

Wenn man Salz und Wasser vermischt, so möchte sich das Salz immer im Wasser lösen. Bei diesem Versuch muss aber erst das Eis geschmolzen werden, bevor sich das Salz im Wasser lösen kann.

Das Eis beginnt an der Oberfläche zu schmelzen, und sofort löst sich das Salz mit dem Wasser. Diese Reaktion benötigt aber auch Wärme, um überhaupt ablaufen zu können. Diese Wärme wird der Umgebung entzogen, welche dadurch immer weiter abkühlt. Dadurch entstehen Temperaturen bis -21° C!

Diese Technik war bereits den Römern bekannt. Die benutzten damals Salze, die sich an den Wänden der Pferdeställe gebildet hatten. Dabei handelt es sich nicht um Kochsalz, sondern um Salpeter, welches hauptsächlich aus Ammoniumnitrat besteht. Ammoniumnitrat entsteht, wenn Gülle von Bakterien zersetzt wird. Auch die Soldaten Napoleons nutzten diese Technik, die damals aber mehr ein Nebenprodukt der Herstellung von Schießpulver war. Das Schießpulver für die damaligen Gewehre wurde nämlich auch aus Salpeter, Holzkohle und Schwefel hergestellt.

Im Meer liegen und dabei ein Buch lesen - diese Bilder sieht man oft, wenn Fotos vom Toten Meer gezeigt werden. Nur dort kannst du dich fast wie auf einer Luftmatratze auf das Wasser legen. Das funktioniert, weil der Salzgehalt des Wassers sehr hoch ist.

Im Mittelmeer ist der Salzgehalt des Wassers bei ca. 3%. Im Toten Meer hingegen liegt er bei sagenhaften 30%! Nur ganz wenige Lebewesen können unter diesen Bedingungen überleben. Daher kommt auch der Name "Totes Meer". Ohne Schwimmbewegungen geht der Mensch im Süßwasser unter. Auch ein frisches Ei sinkt im Süßwasser zu Boden.


Versuch: Das schwebende Ei

Du benötigst

  • Gurkenglas
  • Esslöffel
  • Salz
  • 1 frisches Ei

Versuch

  • Lege das Ei vorsichtig mit Hilfe des Löffels auf den Boden des Gurkenglases.
  • Gib nun einen Esslöffel Salz ins Wasser und rühre vorsichtig um, damit das Ei nicht bricht. Was ist passiert?
  • Gib mehr Salz zum Wasser bis das Ei aufschwimmt. Im Salzwasser ist der Auftrieb größer als im Süßwasser.
  • Was kannst du tun, damit das Ei wieder zu Boden sinkt?

Erklärung

Grund für dieses Phänomen ist der physikalische Auftrieb: jeder Körper wird im Wasser leichter, und zwar genau um so viel, wie das verdrängte Wasser wiegt.

Ein 3 dm³ großer Stein wiegt in der Luft etwa 7,5 kg. Im Wasser wiegt er um 3 kg weniger, da er 3 dm³ Wasser (= 3 kg) verdrängt. Also wiegt er nur mehr 4,5 kg.

Wenn:

  • das Gewicht größer ist als der Auftrieb (z.B. Eisen - 7,8 kg/dm³), dann geht der Körper unter
  • das Gewicht kleiner ist als der Auftrieb (z.B. Holz - 0,5 kg/dm³), dann schwimmt der Körper
  • das Gewicht gleich ist dem Auftrieb (z.B. Fisch), dann "schwebt" der Körper

Das Ei hat eine Dichte (=Gewicht von 1 cm³) von etwa 1,1 g/cm³. Süßwasser hat eine Dichte von 1 g/cm³ --> das Ei geht unter. Salzwasser aus dem Toten Meer hat eine Dichte von ca. 1,3 g/cm³ --> das Ei steigt nach oben.

Versuch: Salzkristalle wachsen lassen

Du benötigst

  • ca. 5 Kafeelöffel feines Salz
  • Heißes Wasse
  • 2 Trinkgläser
  • Einen Löffel
  • Einen Bleistift
  • Einen Kaffeefilter oder eine Küchenrolle
  • Einen Naturfaden (Wolle oder Spagat)

 

Versuch

  • Erhitze das Wasser in einem Wasser kocher oder in einem Topf.
  • Gib ca. 4 Kaffeelöffel Salz in ein hitzefestes Glas und gieße ca. 150 ml heißes Wasser darauf. Ruhre um, bis sich das Salz vollständig aufeglöst hat.
  • Wenn sich das Salz aufgelöst hat, wiederhole den Vorgang, bis sich das Salz nicht mehr ihm Wasser löst, die Flüssigkeit also „gesättigt“ ist. Sobald das Wasser „gesättigt“ ist, nimmt es kein Salz mehr auf. Das Salz setzt sich am Glasboden ab.
  • Trenne nun das Wasser vom nicht mehr lösbaren Salz. Verwende dafür einen Kaffeefilter oder eine Küchenrolle. Fülle das Salzwasser in ein anderes Glas um.
  • Wickle den Naturfaden um einen Bleistift und lege den Bleistift über das Glas. Der Faden muss mit dem Salzwasser in Kontakt sein.
  • Stelle das Glas an einen warmen Ort. Du kannst es z.B. auf den Heizkörper stellen. Nun musst du geduldig sein und einige Tage abwarten.

Tipp! Je länger du wartest, desto größer werden die Kristalle!

Exkursionsdesign zum Download

Download: Unterrichtsvorschlag Download: Arbeitsblatt 1 Download: Arbeitsblatt 2 Download: Arbeitsblatt 2 Lösung

Das Unterrichtsmaterial wurde sorgfältig in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Verein Land schafft Leben erstellt.
Hier findest du noch mehr Infos zum Thema Salz für deinen Unterricht.


Worth Knowing Before Your Visit

The themes and information of the "Underground Classroom" experience are tailored to children between the ages of 6 and 15 years old.

The "Underground Classroom" tour takes approximately 60-70 minutes. Don't forget to plan in some extra time to visit the Celtic Mountain (Kelten.Erlebnis.Berg) - addmission included in your ticket - directly across from the salt mine's visitor center, where you can spend as much time exploring as you'd like.

In order to provide the best experience possible for our schools and their students, we limit our tour capacity to a maximum of 50 people. If your group will have to be split into multiple tour groups, the tour times will be approximately 30 minutes apart. Our tip to pass the time without missing out on the fun: Explore the Celtic Mountain (Kelten.Erlebnis.Berg)! Admission is included in your tickets, so wander across from the mine entrance and visitor's center to immerse yourselves in life as it was 2,500 years ago on the Dürrnberg, and return to the modern age in no time with the exhibition salt manufactory.

Within the salt mine in Salzburg, we have a year round temperature of approximately 10° Celsius, rain or shine, so prepare for cooler temperatures. Be sure to remind students to come dressed warmly with sturdy footwear for their comfort and safety, so nothing stands in the way of a good time in the mine!

We offer free parking for busses directly adjacent to the entrance of the salt mines.

Reserve now

Make a reservation for your class now: contact us by email at info@salzwelten.at or by phone +43 61 32 200 8511.

Contact

Salzwelten Destination Guide & Audio Guide

Hier können Sie sich Ihren Audioguide für die Salzwelten herunterladen. Es sind die Standorte Hallein, Hallstatt und Altaussee auf dieser App zusammengefasst.