Indian Echo Caverns
We had originally wanted to go straight from ice cream to chocolate, but it wasn’t in the cards since the Hershey trolley was sold out for the next day. We decided it was probably better that way – to have a short break from the sugar – so we swopped and headed to the Indian Echo Caverns a day early. It was a pretty commercial cave tour, but we really enjoyed it, with its huge rooms and great stories behind each one. Click on the link to see that Trip Advisor gave it a great rating!
The kids donned their miner’s hats from our golf cart tour of the Lost Canyon Cave at the Top of the Rock, in Ridgedale, MO. In that tour, the cave portion was definitely not the highlight of the trip, but the grounds in and around the cave are definitely worth checking out. If you don’t believe me, check out my blog by clicking on the link above. You will not be in the cave long enough for the cool of the cave to bother you, so no sweatshirts required on that trip! But back to this tour!
There are about 70 wooden steps down (and back up, obviously), but there were plenty of places to rest and relax if you’re worried that may be too much for you. Looking at the photo below left, it looks like a long way up, but the stairs zig and zag in several spots, so it’s not so bad. The area surrounding the entrance to the cave is very green and lush and overgrown with vegetation. The entrance itself has a wonderful stonework facade with heavy wooden doors.
The day was extremely hot, so we were looking forward to the 52 degree temp inside the cave. We all brought sweatshirts just in case, and it wasn’t long before we all had them on. After the initial stairway, the rest of the tour was pretty flat, but there are several spots where they warn of cracking your head on low-hanging rocks. Since there had recently been a lot of rain, it was a little drippy and possibly slippery and areas with puddles, so I wouldn’t recommend wearing your favorite sandals.
We passed through the huge Indian Ballroom and came back to that at the end of the trip. I’m going to avoid telling the stories that go along with this tour, because half the fun is hearing the stories from their enthusiastic guides and having them point out the highlights. Pictures are my thing, so you’ll get plenty of them, but if you want to hear the stories, I’d recommend the tour. Plus, in most cases these photos don’t do justice to the beauty that is within these cavern walls.
“Our 45 minute guided tour reveals the stunning natural underground beauty that waits you. Every room offers an array of fantastic geological wonders, stalactites and lake. Also visit our gift shop, pan for gemstones and petting barnyard. We offer a non-walking tour as well. Corporate facilities are now available. Open daily and year ’round. Hours: 10-4pm Labor Day to Memorial Day, 9-6pm Memorial Day to Labor Day.” Click FOR MORE INFO about Indian Echo Caverns
The formations inside this cave are fabulous and there are three lakes inside as well. Pictured below is Crystal Lake – my favorite photo of the day.
Then we entered the Wedding Chapel and can you say WOW? So much of the “drippage” is crystal-like, sparkling in the dim light, which my oldest daughter had never seen before and she’s been in quite a few caves. It was just gorgeous.
I’d have to say, that was one of the best caves (and cave tours) I’ve ever visited. I used to be a little creeped out by caves, and I still won’t go in one if it’s a tight squeeze or I have to crawl around on the ground. But I was certainly impressed!
After the tour, the kiddos each panned for gems and bought a little bag of gemstones that they could sort by color against a sheet that explained what each one was. They had a great time. One more stop was the little petting zoo, including bunnies, but my favorites (as always) were the goats. The one in the top left photo was kind of a bully. He would head butt other goats out of the way and steal their “treats”.
Next up: Hershey, PA