Yes, in fact, we did finally make it to the Caverns! And are we glad that we did! These caverns are privately owned and to get there, you need nerves of steel to go down that road from Boone.
To enter the caverns, you must enter with a tour guide. Our guide has been doing these tours for over 11 years. She was very knowledgeable. The caverns were discovered by fishermen. They saw some trout swimming into some rocks from the creek and soon found a way into the caverns. It was used during the Civil War and was opened for the public in 1937.
It is always 52 degrees down there and wet. The week prior, they had to close because the water was up to the walkways and it was too dangerous. We lucked out, though it was dripping from the ceiling.
The caverns are home to bats in the winter, though the population has dropped due to white nose syndrome, a fungus that is harmless to humans but deadly to bats. There were 2 in the caverns when we went.
Bat A is a formation caused by the minerals leaking through the limestone. You can see its head and its outstretched wings (with some imagination). Bat B is known as Wal-Bat, since it was purchased at Wal-Mart to make sure everyone saw a bat at some point during their visit to the caverns.
The formations were stunning and still living, so we were cautioned multiple times NOT TO TOUCH THE ROCKS. Though it was difficult at times as there are low ceilings in places and tight walkways.
At one point, the caverns were part of a massive ocean. There was only one old fossil on display.
(It was Mom’s joke, so those who are going to call me mean, blame her).
The tour is only approximately 35 minutes long, but your guide has some leeway in extending it. It is definitely good for all ages, though there is a small period of absolute darkness, so be prepared for a small freak out from small children (or big kids if the dark isn’t their favorite thing).
Oh, were you wondering if there are still fish in the waters in the caverns? Our guide told us that due to the rains, the fish, which are blind, were a bit cranky and not likely to show up, as they didn’t like when the water was so high. So imagine our surprise when right at the end of the tour, this guy showed up.
I would definitely recommend this tour, though make sure you pack either a poncho or something waterproof and warm. Tomorrow is a day of rest and Monday we continue our trek north, towards West Virginia.