A Visit To Penn's Cave - Centre Hall, PA

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Every Sunday, my husband read the Travel section in The Washington Post. We love going on road trips and check the paper for ideas on where to go next. Years ago, we read about an underground lake that you could tour in Pennsylvania. We saved the Travel article and told ourselves we would make a trip up there one day. We finally had the chance to visit this summer.

Penn's Cave and Wildlife Park features an underwater limestone cavern. The 45-minute guided tour is given a flat-bottom motorboat. In addition to the Cave Tour, the park also offers a Farm-Nature-Wildlife Tour, Miners Maze, Cave Rock Mountain Tour, and Gemstone Panning.

Penn's Cave is about 4 hours away from the Washington, DC area, so we decided to couple the trip with a visit to Hersheypark the next day. As we drove up to Pennsylvania, we didn't tell the kids where we were going, just that we were going somewhere we had never been to before. While this led to them asking every 5 minutes if we were there yet, it made the trip fun as they made guesses at our final destination.

Tickets are bought in the Visitors Center, which also houses the Gift Shop and the Cave Cafe. Tickets are purchased on the day of your arrival and cannot be purchased in advance or online. You buy tickets for a certain time. The tours depart every 30 minutes. We bought tickets for the Cavern Tour only and had about 40 minutes to kill before our scheduled tour.

We browsed the Gift Shop and ate lunch in the Cave Cafe until it was time for us to head down to the Cave Entrance.

There's a somewhat steep staircase leading down to the entrance of the cave. We brought hoodies to wear during the tour since the cave's temperature is 52 degrees.

The motorboats fit about 20-22 people. The ride can be kind of tight.

Inside the cave, it can be dark at times. My 3-year-old got scared sometimes, but overall, was okay during the tour. At some points in the tour, you have to duck down because there isn't much headroom!

It was really pretty inside.

The cave opens out into Lake Nitanee. Here, you can see some of the wildlife that are part of the Wildlife Tour.

Once the boat goes around the Lake, you head back towards the cave.

It was pretty neat seeing all the stalactites and stalagmites and the different formations.

Everybody enjoyed the tour. While I'm not sure it would be worth the 4 hour drive to do just the Cave Tour, it was a nice addition to our trip to Hersheypark.

Penn's Cave and Wildlife Park is open for Cave Tours year-round except for Thanksgiving, Christmas and in January. The Wildlife Tours are available from April through November.

Penn's Cave and Wildlife Park
222 Penns Cave Road
Centre Hall, PA 16828

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