We started our exploring today! Fred came down from Maryland and since it was going to be a rainy day, we tried to find something “indoors” to do. Initially, my mom had suggested Luray Caverns, but we weren’t sure that’s what we wanted to do. Then dad suggested The Museum of Shenandoah Valley. Fred and I sat in front of the computer weighing our options and we decided to go to the Luray Caverns.
As we were driving there, which is just over an hour away from my house, we passed Skyline Caverns. Driving past, I said, “should we go there instead?” We were only about 20 minutes from the house! Being in agreement to go there, I made a u-turn and headed back.
I have nothing to compare it to, yet, but Skyline was $54 for all four of us compared to about $84! The adults were $18/ea and Buddy was in their “child” range so both boys were only $9. At Luray, Buddy is considered an adult at 13 and their adult prices are $24/ea and the child ticket is $12.
The tour was about an hour and we had a really lovely tour guide for our group of about 15ish? Thankfully we all brought jackets because it was about 55 degrees inside the caverns. We started off learning about how the caverns were discovered and that was in April 1937. Where we stood at the entrance there was a huge man made fire place that was used to warm the caverns.
As you go on the tour, lights are turned on and off. I loved that they sold spelunking helmets for kids! I wish they’d have had colors that weren’t so “little kid”. If they had red or dark blue or black, I would’ve definitely bought them for the boys, but they were mostly pastel colors.
We would walk a short distance and the tour guide would explain about all the things around us and what she’d point out. I was in awe of everything around me. God’s handiwork is utterly fascinating. I didn’t listen very well to our tour guide because I wanted to capture as many photos as possible and I knew I wouldn’t remember everything she said.
We ended up pulling up the rear because we were taking so many photos. There was another group of 4 in our big group who were taking even more pictures than us! And yes, the rest of the group had to wait every single time for us to finish our picture taking. Whaaaaat? It’s not my fault they didn’t bring their cameras!
I have to say, I was in awe of how everything was designed. All of these amazing formations and the people who discovered it could see “things” in them. Like above, that’s supposed to be an eagle. The wingspan is about 1/4 of the way down from the top of the photo.
Above, in Fairyland Lake, you can “see” the Death Star (hahahaha) in the circle, I Love You fingers, and our guide pointed out a number of other things that I missed because I was so intent on taking photos. =) This lake is actually only a few inches deep and for the most part, what you’re seeing is just a reflection of what’s hanging above the lake.
For the most part, you aren’t supposed to touch anything other than the walls. The chemicals we emit on our skin causes everything to break down over time. They also use various colored lights because the heat from the light also causes erosion of everything in the cavern. We were allowed to touch this, which is believed to have broken off a stalagmite a number of feet further down the path. It looks set initially, but it’s amazingly smooth.
It was really cool to watch Buddy taking so many photos. He mostly used my phone, but he took a ton of photos. Doodle on the other hand I think was more interested in learning from the tour guide. Towards the end, I could see him ahead of us, but couldn’t figure out what the heck he was doing. As we got closer, it was clear, he was acting like he was an artifact. Yea, only my kid!
We had a really good time exploring all of the different trails and getting a ton of photos. It took us about an hour or so to get through the entire tour. They also have a mini train to ride. We didn’t go on that because it was raining out and I think you ride around above ground. There’s also an Enchanted Dragon Mirror Maze. Now, it’s extremely small and really quick. It was pretty amusing because Doodle ran into the mirror several times. Let’s just say, you shouldn’t run in a mirror maze. =)
If you’re in one of my Google + circles, you can see more of the photos from the excursion there!