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“Fun in the Cave!”
Review of Howe Caverns

Howe Caverns
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: At the great cave of the Northeast, an elevator takes you 156’below ground. The doors open into a prehistoric underground cavern 6,000,000 years in the making! Trained tour guides help negotiate the cave and teach about its magnificent natural features. Back on the surface, mine for gemstones at Howe Caverns Mining Co. Beginning summer 2011, enjoy the first phase of Howe High Adventures—featuring ropes courses, climbing walls, zip lines and more!
Reviewed October 4, 2012

Caves/Caverns are always fun! If you are an AAA member there is a Save your card and Save discount! Our tour guide turned all the lights off in the cave to give us an idea of what total darkness looks like. Yeah I couldn't see my hand in front of my face! It was crazy!

1  Thank JRArnold
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Audrey O, Manager at Howe Caverns, responded to this reviewResponded October 8, 2012

Thank you for your review! It is always a pleasure to hear feedback. We hope you'll return to see us again.

Sincerely,
Audrey Oliver
Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (823)
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642 - 646 of 823 reviews

Reviewed October 1, 2012

We took both the regular and the adventure tours at Howe Caverns and enjoyed both very much. An elevator takes you down to the cave level for both tours. The regular tour features a walk through the cave as well as a boat ride, and is an easy walk with some manageable stairs. The cave itself is well-lit, interesting and pretty with running water through a large portion. (Another reviewer claimed that they advertised a waterfall; they don't - that's the nearby Secret Caverns.) The best part by far of the regular tour is the winding way at the end. It is chilly inside - be sure to wear a heavy sweater or jacket.

The adventure tour is very different, and in a different part of the cave from the main tour so there is little overlap. While our regular tour guide was informative, our guide for the adventure portion was able to give us considerably more detail about the cave, including about the bats and fossils. You head down in the elevator and through the winding way, then down another pathway to the adventure part of the cave. You suit up in plastic suits with kneepads, boots, gloves and a helmet with a light. All of the gear kept us completely clean on the tour. You start by heading down some large stone "stairs", maybe 8-10 feet down. The first few minutes are spent on your hands and knees crawling into the opening of this cave. It feels small, but there was no trouble navigating this space. The rest of the tour is in larger spaces where you can walk stooped or stand completely. The helmet lights are surprisingly bright. The highlight of this tour was a tall chamber where Lester Howe used to bring tours and where we were able to briefly experience complete darkness and complete silence. A visit to the end of the tunnel with a pool of water and another visit to a room filled with clay completed our tour. Our guide kept our camera clean and took pictures of us as we navigated the cave. It is certainly more physically challenging than the regular tour, and is limited to those 12 and older. But you needn't be an athlete, and because the tour is so small (only a few people with the guide) you can stop and start as needed. You will get dirty, but the gear keeps your hands and regular clothes clean. There wasn't a lot of information available online about this tour, so I will emphasize that there are no "heights," and at no point is the passageway so tight that you have to be on your stomach or feel that you will be stuck. By going on the adventure tour you get to go on the regular tour, too. We started with the regular tour, and I would recommend that, since the adventure tour was more in depth, and you are a bit tired after crawling around.

You need to reserve the adventure tour at least 48 hours in advance. One additional advantage of the tour was that few people do decide to try it, so our adventure tour was limited to our own group. That made it feel like we were having our own personal cave tour, which we were! All told, we spent about four hours doing both tours.

I would recommend this to anyone who is physically capable of the crawling/walking, we had a great time.

4  Thank suederkins
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Audrey O, Manager at Howe Caverns, responded to this reviewResponded October 8, 2012

Thank you for taking the time to write a review for your recent visit to Howe Caverns! We are so pleased you enjoyed the Adventure Tour. I appreciate the time you took to write your review and your comments have been passed along to our staff. We hope to see you again soon!

Sincerely,
Audrey Oliver
Manager
Howe Caverns, Inc.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 19, 2012

I try to be positive but I feel that it is also important to be honest and the Howes Cavern tour was not worth my money or my time.

CAVE TOUR:
*The cave advertises the fact that it has a waterfall but we did not see anything slightly resembling a waterfall.
*The tour guide seemed bored and therefore, made me uninterested in the facts she was sharing.
*Most of the "stories" they share on the tour are fiction.
*The boat ride was pointless and dangerous. If you go with children, do not let them sit on the right side of the boat as it constantly bashes into the wall during the ride. The guide would sometimes tell us to watch out and others time let us fend for ourselves.
*The ticket booth worker was not helpful in the slighest. I asked her a simple question of how long the tour was and she not only ignored me the first time but gave me an attitude the second time saying, "Does it really matter?" before she finally answered. Not to mention it costs us $60 for two adult tickets. They make a killing at this place!

FOOD:
*The workers were very friendly and gracious, repeatedly thanking us for stopping at their estbalishment which was nice.
*The food was very expensive. It costs almost $6 for a grilled cheese sandwich.
*The dining room is large and has wonderful views.

ZIPLININE:
*We did not do this course but we did check it out. Their zipline is much cheaper than Hunter Mountain's zipline but I think Howes Cavern version is better suited for children as it is lower to the ground.

5  Thank beckamoose
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Audrey O, Manager at Howe Caverns, responded to this reviewResponded October 8, 2012

Thank you for your review of Howe Caverns. I apologize you were disappointed in your visit to us. We apologize for any miscommunication, but we do not advertise an underground waterfall. That is Secret Caverns, which is down the road from us. We value your business and will be sure to address your concerns about our staff with our Management Team. I do also appreciate your positive comments. We hope that you will give us another opportunity to show you the wonderful experience we have here at Howe Caverns!

Sincerely,
Audrey Oliver
Manager
Howe Caverns, Inc.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 14, 2012 via mobile

VisIted the cave on Labor day weekend. The tour was very fun, guide was very young but was knowledgeable. They do a nice job on the basic tour and the cave is beautiful. Nice and large for the most part, and those who may get clastrophobic have alternate paths to the narrower ones. Boat ride was fun too. Overall great family fun day for a reasonable cost.

2  Thank STF27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Audrey O, Manager at Howe Caverns, responded to this reviewResponded October 8, 2012

Thank you for your recent review of Howe Caverns! We appreciate your feedback. We are so happy to hear you and your family enjoyed your visit with us. We hope we will see you again!

Sincerely,
Audrey Oliver
Manager
Howe Caverns, Inc.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 13, 2012

We visited the Caverns with our 2 grand-daughters, 11 and 12 - their first time, our second (last time was with their mother, our daughter, when she was their age.) The current edition is better, more complete, more comfortable (and more expensive) than on our visit 35 years ago. In addition to dropping (by elevator) 156 feet intot the earth and walking the paved paths through the caves, there is now a boat ride through the flooded portions, which adds a little excitement and variety. Howe Caverns is not as geologically spectacular as Luray Caverns or as extensive as Carlsbad, but it has a long history as a tourist attraction and that history is well-covered during the introductory lecture and slide show. It is also not as "natural" as some other cavern systems we have visited, with a lot of hokey "named features" and pseudo-legends, but the tour guides were charming and knowledgeable and the tour lasted just about long enough (and not any longer) to make it fun and interesting for all of us.
The Howes Caven visitor center is itself a deligh, located on the rolling hills of central New York, with a wonderful view of pastures, groves, and grazing cow. The porch facing this view is dotted with traditional rocking chairs, a perfect place to while away the minutes waiting for your tour number to be called, or to relax afterward. There is a nice snack bar and gift shop and large parking lots. We would suggest allowing a half-day for a visit.

2  Thank ZedOConnell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Audrey O, Manager at Howe Caverns, responded to this reviewResponded October 9, 2012

Thank you for taking the time to complete your online review! We are very pleased that you made a return trip to see our Cave, and that you were pleased with it. We appreciate all of your positive feedback. We will be sure to pass the wonderful comments about your Tour Guide along to the Management Team. We hope you will make the trip to see us again!

Thank you,
Audrey Oliver
Manager
Howe Caverns, Inc.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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