"America's Most Colorful Caverns"
Named one of the six best over all caves in America by Parade Magazine
Open for tours daily April 1 – October 31 from 9am - 5pm; November 1 – March 31 from 9am - 4pm (Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day)
Location: 2210 East State Route 245 ● West Liberty, Ohio 43357
Visitors are conducted through the Caverns on guided tours at frequent intervals. There is an admission fee for the forty-five minute, mile long tour. Ohio Caverns was recently listed in Parade Magazine as one of the top six caves in America! Ohio Caverns is the largest and one of the most beautiful of all Ohio caves. Its exquisite crystal-white stalactite and stalagmite formations are nowhere to be found in greater profusion or artistic settings. The diversity of formations and unexcelled coloring are all the more interesting because the formations are still in the process of development. Still photography is welcome to capture your memories. No matter how far you travel, you will find your visit to Ohio Caverns provides you with rich memories of its great beauty and educational value.
See past article about Ohio Caverns
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TOURISM DIGS DEEP
Ohio Caverns is a favorite memory for many Ohioans but with an aging population, caving was impractical – until now!
Simply pull into the parking lot, adjacent to the picnic pavilion. Park in front of the restrooms with ramped entry and then take a leisurely and scenic stroll down to the new section of caverns. This is where you gain access to a subterranean exploration that is now a handicap accessible adventure. The project was 10 years in the making.
The new entrance provides a beautiful photo opportunity from the pedestrian bridge showcasing a spectacular backdrop. The different layers of dirt, shale, limestone and chert pop from the rock wall. It was the bottom of a sinkhole. More than 2,000 cubic yards of material were removed including several tons of mud, silt and rock which had to be dug by hand.
“It is so rewarding to see folks with disabilities, whether they are veterans or retirees, flash a broad smile when they find themselves cave-dwelling,” said Eric Evans, owner/manager of Ohio Caverns. “Disabled visitors marvel at the unlikely adventure. They share memories of the last time they visited and the many stairs you had to climb, hiding behind a door, from inside the non-descript, main building.”
The handicap accessible entrance is at the foot of a very gradual, sloping, 800-foot serpentine ramp overlooking the beautiful Mingo Valley. Not only that, the handicap accessible entrance features a never before seen section of caverns. There are different tours that branch into Ohio’s largest and most colorful, public cave system. Not all of them are handicap accessible. But they all loop back so families can reconnect no matter which tour they take. Ohio Caverns, already known for unique offerings, is now a memory that can be shared or relived for anyone, including those with special needs such as wheel chairs.
Some other distinct characteristics and offerings at Ohio Caverns include the Crystal King – the largest and most perfectly formed pure white crystal stalactite found in any cave. Other rare stalactites found here are called helactites. These resemble straws hanging from the ceiling but somehow defied gravity, twisting in weird directions. One of the more intriguing formations is the “Old Town Pump,” which looks just like it sounds, right down to the dripping water. These are the only known caverns in the country where dual or double formations are found. There’s even an authentic wooden gem mining sluice, outside, where visitors can pan for minerals. Bags of rough are available inside the gift shop. Not only are gemstones and minerals found while sifting through the rough, but fossils and arrowheads, too.
The anomalies found throughout this natural wonder have mystified visitors for 115 years since its accidental discovery. No wonder it’s been dubbed one of the six best caves overall in the US, as well as America’s most colorful caverns. This rural Ohio treasure spans 35-acres and hosts family reunions, scout troops, and other outings large and small. Ohio Caverns is open year round. Call 937-465-4017 or visit www.ohiocaverns.com for more information.
This excerpt is from a past edition of OhioTraveler written by Frank R. Satullo, The OhioTraveler