Discover Crystal Cave
An Inside Look at Pennsylvania's Oldest Show Cave
Looking for spring day trip ideas for the family? Why not escape from Philly for a day and explore a cave? Crystal Cave is located in Kutztown, only an hour and a half from Philadelphia and offers visitors the unique adventure of touring an active cave—meaning the stalagmites and stalactites are still growing. As the first and oldest show cave in Pennsylvania. Crystal Cave offers guests a day filled with fun and also with history.
Crystal Cave was discovered on November 12, 1871, by two farmers prospecting for limestone with dynamite. “They noticed a hole and put their hand inside. They didn’t go in, it was too dark but they thought they had discovered a cave,” explains Kathryn Campbell, president of Crystal Cave. The next day, at a tavern, the two farmers shared the tale of their discovery—so a group of explorers set out to open the cave, complete with all the essentials…candles, lanterns, and lots of rope. Of course, uncovering the cave was not a simple process. “It took a lot to break it down. They had to do a lot of climbing in the dark all while holding their light source,” Campbell says. After getting about fifty feet inside the cave, the explorers gave up and made plans to return again another day for further exploration. But they were very impressed and excited about having stumbled upon a large cave.
Word spread about the farmers’ discovery, and soon afterward, a neighbor heard about the cave and decided it should be opened for tourists. The cave has been open to the public ever since. Fast forward to Memorial Day 2017, Crystal Cave will be celebrating 145 years as a tourist attraction. “We’ve always been open. Since day one. We are one of the longest running cave operations in the country,” Campbell explains proudly.
Upon arrival, guests will view a fifteen-minute introductory film to learn about the history of the caves, about how the caves formed, and about the other activities available on the property. Other than the cave itself, visitors can enjoy a mini golf course, restaurant, ice cream parlor, souvenir shops, and a nature trail and picnic area.
The main draw for visitors, of course, is the cave itself. Visitors can join a forty-five minute guided tour inside seven different rooms of the cave to see the science and history firsthand.
The cave is sixty feet wide, so don’t worry about feeling claustrophobic. Plan on spending a couple of hours to experience all that Crystal Cave has to offer. The temperature inside the cave is a constant 56 degrees making it a perfect escape from the summer heat.
- By Ettractions Digital Content Editor PAULA MARINO
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