My parents and I visited these caverns in the off-season, that is, late November of 2013. Because of that, it was just the three of us plus the tour guide. During the season, groups can go up to about twenty people, so I’d highly recommend visiting in the off-season if possible. Luckily, though, due to how different entrances are set up, you shouldn’t run into other groups doing other tours.
With just the three of us, it was easy to take pictures of everything (flash is fine), and we could ask the tour guide as many questions as we wanted. She was friendly, funny, and informative. She knew her stuff, and she never minded when we asked her questions that sounded a bit stupid.
They’re open basically all year and start tours every thirty minutes. I think their last tour for the day starts at six. Since it was the off-season, we could only do the Natural Wonder Tour (only $15/person). That’s fine, because the part of the cave we did see was real darn pretty. The walls have interesting coloration to them, and this is one of the most active caves out there, so expect to find lots of pretty white crystals. And if you have an overactive imagination like my mom and I, expect to find lots of fun shapes in the crystals. Among the many pretty sights, this cave has one of the biggest white crystals you’ll ever see in Ohio.
The unsafe pits are fenced off by chains, which don’t distract from the view. Also, for safety reasons, you’re not allowed to shoot video. They used to allow that, but our tour guide told us they had too many people bumping into things or each other rather than watching where they’re going. Obviously, you’re not allowed to touch anything. In fact, if you try stealing a crystal, the police might get involved because that’s protected land! You’re also not allowed to go down without a tour guide or two because they want to protect to land.
It was nice to browse the somewhat-narrow path through the pretty cave. Pictures can’t do it justice: you have to see it in person. The tour didn’t feel too long or too short, and it definitely wasn’t too strenuous. We had to duck a little, but that didn’t hurt even my dad’s fragile back. The tour guide did a good job of warning us when slightly tricky sections were coming. Kids should do fine if they’re well-behaved enough to keep their hands to themselves.
I should also point out that one of the tours during their busy season is partially wheelchair accessible, which many people don’t know about. There are picnic tables outside for family reunions, weddings, school outings, and more. It’s peaceful and quiet in the sprawling fields outside.
The restrooms are fine, and the gift shop is surprisingly cool. It has a huge selection of pamphlets from other caves. In the store, you can buy pencils, pens, shot glasses, lots of different t-shirts (some cartoony, some rustic), science projects for kids, thimbles, wall decors, stone figures, and much more. My parents and I found plenty of things for ourselves and a few gifts for others. The service was friendly, too.
If you like pretty caves and cool gift shops, then check out Ohio Caverns!