I am still in denial that Summer is over and Fall is here. I think when Labor Day arrives, it pretty much signals that the season is quickly coming to an end. We usually like to take that long weekend to go out and have some fun family adventures. That helps us wrap up Summer and ease into Fall.
A while back, my mom mentioned that we needed to visit the Ohio Caverns since it was only about an hour away. So, when Labor Day weekend was approaching, I suggested we all head over there on that Saturday. That’s precisely what we did, my parents, Shadrach, Logan, and I.
Since we had a blast, and Logan thought it was awesome too! I thought I would share our adventure with you and a few tips about the Ohio Caverns, in case you get the chance to visit!
The Ohio Caverns
Did you know that caverns are a type of cave, but not the type most people think about? A cavern is underground, instead of being on the side of a mountain or hill. So when you visit the Ohio Caverns, you are actually walking underground! How awesome is that?
The Ohio Caverns were discovered back in the late 1800’s on a farm. The farmer decided to allow people to come and visit these caverns with just a simple rope to guide them in and a lantern. It has evolved into so much more since the beginning and is well worth the trip to West Liberty, Ohio. You can see everything from early “graffiti” to amazing crystals that are still growing and forming. I will say, these crystals may not be what you are thinking a crystal should look like but they are still beautiful and amazing in their own right!
So, now that you’ve got a little history behind the caverns and you can visualize the fact that we went underground to see all of this, read on to find out more about our trip!
Let the Adventure Begin
We woke up to rain on Saturday. I wasn’t exactly sure how it worked with the caverns when it rains, but the website said they were open year round and I took that to mean a little rain didn’t stop them.
In fact, when we arrived, there were a lot more people than I expected. So, we headed into the gift shop to purchase our tickets. There are a couple of options, but we chose the combo ticket which gave us tours of the Natural Wonder Caverns and the Historical Caverns. Thankfully, children 4 and under are free, so we didn’t have to pay for Logan.
The Natural Wonders Tour
First up for us was the Natural Wonders Tour. We had a short bus ride to the entrance. When I say entrance, I mean a random little building with a door that opens to stairs. This is what takes you underground.
One of the things that make visiting Ohio Caverns worth the price is that you aren’t just walking through these caverns at your leisure. There is a guide that is very knowledgeable about everything and allows you to ask questions and does make the whole experience fascinating.
Before heading underground, our guide gave us the rules, which included no touching of anything, no food or drinks, and no videography. Shadrach and I were a little bummed about not being able to videotape our adventure, but we understood it was for our safety. It’s easy to trip when you are walking through these caverns. Trust me, we know first-hand. So, I’m sorry to say there is no video to share with you all but lots and lots of pictures instead.
Well, this was the first of two tours which lasted about 50 minutes and was very interesting and fun. I’ll be honest, I was super nervous about walking through the caverns with Logan since he likes to touch everything! I thought for sure we would always have to remind him. However, he walked through the entire thing with his hands clasped together so he wouldn’t touch anything. He did great and loved the whole thing!
After finishing the Natural Wonder Tour, we had about 20 minutes before our next tour started. So, we took a bathroom break, sat down, and ate some snacks. This allowed Logan to run around a bit and play before the next tour began!
The Historic Caverns Tour
Next up was the second part of our adventure, the Historic Caverns. There was a tour guide as well, but this time we walked to the entrance instead of taking a bus. It was a beautiful little walk where we were able to see the countryside, which was lovely, even on a rainy day. I can only imagine how pretty it is on a sunny day.
Anyway, so as we get to the entrance of our second caverns, they give us a rundown of the rules again (which is the same as the first one), and then we proceed. I did notice that the group of people that went on this tour was quite a bit bigger than the Natural Wonder Tour. I think it’s because most people only choose to do one of the two caverns and this is the more popular one.
So, this set of caverns has a lot of the crystals and formations that you look for in a cave. They are amazing, and Logan had a blast exploring this one! He also did an excellent job of not touching anything through this tour, but about halfway through he did start getting bored and was tired of walking. Things didn’t move as quickly through this trip due to the larger group and because the tour guides do stop to talk and explain everything (which is very helpful). So, overall, this tour was about an hour long.
A Few Tips When Visiting
If you plan to visit the caverns, there are few things to remember, especially if you have little ones.
- The caverns are open year round, so even if it is 32 degrees outside, inside the caverns, it will be 53 degrees. So, if you need to get out of the house in the winter, this is a great place to go!
- If you are claustrophobic, this may not be the place for you. While the caverns are somewhat open, the walking path can get tight. There was one lady that asked to be taken right back up again as we got underground during the Historic Tour, because she just couldn’t handle it. So, do keep that in mind.
- If your children are young and don’t understand that they shouldn’t touch anything, this is not the place for them. Touching the geodes will damage them. So little hands must be able to stay to themselves.
- Strollers are not allowed. There just isn’t room and the path and stairs would make it difficult. I advise bringing a baby carrier if you have babies and young toddlers, like two and under.
- Water is allowed in the caverns, but not food. So be sure to take advantage of the break between tours or stop and have a picnic before or after. There are a lovely picnic and playground area. Due to the rain, we didn’t get to enjoy this. On a beautiful day, it would be a great place to run off some energy and enjoy the outdoors.
- Dress in layers! For us, it was a little warmer outside than in the caverns, so having layers was important. I would imagine in the winter; the same rule applies. Also, be sure to wear shoes you don’t mind getting a little dirty or wet, as things are damp and muddy underground.
- If you can only do one tour, I recommend the Historic tour. It was by far my favorite and had the most to see.
- During the winter, there is only one tour that combines the two. Plus, the guides mentioned you see some things in the winter that you can’t see doing the two separate tours in the spring/summer/fall. Also, the winter tour is a bit cheaper!
- Bring your camera and get plenty of pictures. However, videos are not allowed! This is for safety reasons! Given that we tripped, plus my dad hit his head, and we were not even taking videos, I would say this is a necessary rule.
Sense of Adventure
I think it is safe to say that we like the Ohio Caverns. Logan was talking about it for quite a while, and I can’t wait to take him back for another visit when he’s a little older. I feel like it’s one of those places that gives you a sense of adventure and makes you want to go exploring.
Anyone else ever been to the Ohio Caverns? Do you have any tips? What is something you and your family do that invokes a sense of adventure? I’d love to hear from you!
* Coming next Tuesday is our Hiking Ohio: Charleston Falls Preserve post! You can get a sneak peak here!