5/3/2017 Laurel Caverns
Hold on to your hats folks-today’s post is calling out all outdoor adventure seekers, or underground adventure seekers, to be specific. This adventure is a little drive away from Erie, but we think it’d be worth the drive for whoever could take advantage of a day and go explore. Laurel Caverns Park is home to Pennsylvania’s largest cave with over three miles of underground passages. Its family friendly environment allows for adventurous opportunities around every corner.
Laurel Caverns closes seasonally during the winter for bat hibernation because it doubles as Pennsylvania’s largest cave as well as the largest bat hibernaculum. The bat hibernation season typically runs from November through April, but the wait is over! The 2017 season officially opened to the public on Wednesday, April 19th. The park is privately owned and receives no tax dollars or government funding, it is maintained by funds from cave admissions, program admissions and gift shop profits.
While you’re visiting the preserve you can participate in a variety of activities, starting with traditional cave tours. These tours last about an hour and cover all passages that can be reached, they have no age restrictions, require no special equipment and all toured passages are lighted. The traditional tours can be modified for those who may have difficulty with stairs or steep slopes. The caves also welcome cameras so you and your loved ones can take photos, but it is asked that no video cameras be used in the cave.
TRADITIONAL TOUR: Adults $12.00 Youth (Grades k to 12) $10.00
MODIFIED TRADITIONAL TOUR: Adults $11.00 Youth (Grades k to 12) $9.00
Pre-school child with parent: Free
If you’re feeling adventurous after a traditional tour, Laurel Caverns is the largest developed cave in the world that still has its largest rooms and passages in its original state, and they offer caving trips of both the upper and lower passages. If this type of activity sparks your interest follow the attached link to access release forms for spelunking in Laurel Caverns. Depending on which trip you chose the cost is $20-$25. You do not have to take a tour before caving if you do not wish to.
Cave rappellingis also available twice a day with no reservations necessary, but you must be 12 years of age or older to participate. The activity is designed for beginners so don’t be shy-there’s a first time for everything! The rappelling rate is $35 a person.
The visitors center has a gift shop and houses the largest simulated cave in the world; Kavernputt, for individuals who cannot physically experience the natural cave.
This is a great area for a family weekend or just a day away. We suggest staying in the area for a night and seeing some other local sights that will be individually featured in future posts, but you should be aware about in case you decide to visit soon! The Ohiopyle State Park is only 15 miles from the caverns. The famous Fallingwater house is only 22 miles from the caverns. If you end up in the area, take advantage of the close proximity of these sights of interest! We’ve attached links to the Ohiopyle State Park and the Fallingwater house if you would like more information!
We encourage a visit to this area and would love to hear about your experience if you go. Remember to plan accordingly and always keep safety first, and have fun! Happy caving.