Exploring Local Caves/Caverns

Adventure Series 2023

Have you ever experienced total darkness? Seen rocks that look like they have been melting for eons? Delved into the deep places of the earth to see what natural wonders exist beneath the surface on which we live? If not, you really should check out the many caves and caverns that are open to the public around the country. For our adventure series, we will kick off our experiences by taking our little ones on guided tools of several of our regional underground treasures. This was one of my favorite school trips when I was younger and it has always stuck with me, so getting to experience that wonder again through the eyes of my children really makes this worth the effort.

I know that many people may have an aversion to going underground, whether it is a mild case of claustrophobia or a general aversion to dark and potentially creature-filled places. That is understandable and this may not be an activity for you. For everyone else, I would challenge you to not have some fun wandering around and seeing the colorful and beautifully majestic scenery that you may find. 

From where we live we have a decent number of options available to us, and I have not been to most of the ones on my list so I am almost as excited as our girls are for this experience. 

  1. Linville Caverns, NC [https://www.linvillecaverns.com/]
  2. Luray Caverns, VA [https://luraycaverns.com/]
  3. Forbidden Caverns, TN [https://forbiddencavern.com/]
  4. Dixie’s Caverns,  VA [https://www.dixiecaverns.com/]
  5. Bristol Caverns, TN [https://bristolcaverns.com/]

While you should not expect to fight a Balrog during one of these excursions, you should keep a mind to safety, for yourself and the creatures that reside in the geological wonders.

Recommended Tips for your Excursion:

  • Dress for the temperatures, Going underground can get cold, even if it is hot outside, so dress appropriately. 
  • Leave no trace. What makes exploring these natural wonders routinely enjoyable for all is that they are kept as pristine as possible, meaning clean up after yourselves. Every little bit can add up over time so please do your part.
  • Don’t touch the walls, most guides will tell you the same advice, and many places have rules about it as well since the oils from our skin can impact the development of the caverns for years and decades in the future. Keeping your hands to yourself is imperative, even if that rock formation looks so smooth and soft you struggle with the impulse.
  • Remember that you are encroaching on other creatures’ homes, just as when you visit friends or family if there are things that the guides are asking you to do, please follow the instructions. For example, Bats in the area are highly susceptible to a fungus that causes white-nose syndrome (WNS), it is typically debilitating if not fatal for them. So when you are entering or leaving, you may be asked to clean your feet so as to not help the spread of the fungus spores. This will help protect the ecosystem, not just those tiny little bats hibernating deep in the caves.

New and exciting experiences tend to leave an impression on us and can shape many of our behaviors well into the future. As a parent, getting to share these adventures with my children and seeing their wonder and reactions to something I have long become accustomed to, makes me appreciate the novelness of the experience and I am only encouraged to do more with them.

Check out more of our ongoing adventures!