My family visited Laurel Caverns with my son’s school. I was not compensated for this post and am sharing our experience for future visitors of Laurel Caverns.
The other day, my son’s 2nd grade class took a field trip to the largest sandstone cave in the world, Laurel Caverns Park. Since my husband and I had never visited a real cavern before, we figured we would tag-along on the trip too.
While admission could quickly add up if you have a lot of kids, or people, ticket prices to the caverns aren’t too expensive and range from $10-$14 a person. In fact, preschool aged kids actually get in for free with a paying adult.
Since we were coming from Maryland to visit the caverns, we had to cross over the Youghighany River Lake and pass Nemocolin Woodlands – two great places to visit when traveling through.
When we arrived at the caverns, there was already a line of buses waiting and things quickly got a bit hectic.
Although, the staff tried, you could tell they were overwhelmed with the amount of kids. Our son’s class was pushed into the indoor mini golf course, but we had to wait outside, near the gift shop, since there was only enough for the golfers to walk through.
We looked through the gift shop, while we were waiting, and while they had a few nice things, I didn’t really see much worth buying. Most of the stuff was just things you could easily buy at the store, besides a few shirts, rocks, mugs, and postcards.
After we finished looking around the gift shop, we were kind of pushed into another small room that had a few helmets, mold, and smelled musky. The small room, was supposed to keep us out-of-the-way while we were there, but for a room full of 2nd-graders, it was almost the worst idea – ever. Kids were given strict instructions not to touch the rock, helmets, or anything – basically they were just allowed to stand there and wait.
After waiting for what seemed like forever to a bunch of kids, they were finally allowed to do the gem-mining. My 8 year has been collecting rocks, so he had really been excited for this part of the tour, but it only lasted for about 5-minutes. When he was done, he did get a small bag of rocks to keep and he loved it.
After finishing gem-mining, we all thought it would be best to break and eat our packed lunches. Thankfully, Laurel Caverns offers a nice pavilion and picnic tables, so kids can eat lunch.
After lunch, it was finally the part everyone had been waiting for – the tour of the cave.
Of course, before taking any group of children down under, inside a real sandstone cave, we had to take some time and listen to a few rules and information about the cave.
Once we heard everything we had to hear, our tour guide lead us into the cave. While it was pretty dark inside, the cave had lots of lighting, so we didn’t need flashlights to tour it.
The tour of the cave took us about an hour, but it was really fast-paced. Tours run almost back-to-back, so there’s not a lot of time for stopping and taking pictures. You walk in almost a line-formation, so if you do try to stop, you hold someone else up.
While this was our first cave experience, I wasn’t impressed with Laurel Caverns. There are a lot of things that could be improved, but the cave, itself, is still pretty amazing. Walking through it was probably a once in a lifetime experience, for my family, and it wasn’t as narrow walking through as I hear some other caves are.
If you’re looking to take your child on their first cave experience, I do think Laurel Caverns Park is a good place to start. It’s not scary and at the end, they even do a light show for the kids. The only thing I would truly suggest is planning a visit during a less busy time – possibly weekdays during the summer?
If you want to learn more about Laurel Caverns Park, you can visit their website HERE.