Seneca Caverns is a thrilling descent into… well, a very large hole in the ground!
Jen’s and my date to Seneca Caverns had been planned for several weeks so we were looking forward to getting out and doing something new. Nothing says “romantic date” like crawling around in tiny caves 130 feet underground.
What we didn’t plan on was starting a 10-day fast that would bring us through two weekends of no food. I never knew this before, but going out and doing things when you can’t eat really sucks.
Luckily we broke our 10-day fast early so the cloud of dread that hung over us last week had been lifted. We were now free and clear to enjoy cave crawling without enduring an empty stomach.
Date-day started out as a typical lazy Saturday morning. Jen came over, made breakfast (mmmm food!) and we watched a couple episodes of Battlestar Galactica on Blu-ray (oooh, pretty!) About 15 minutes before Noon O’clock we put the bark collar on her dog and headed out.
Seneca Caverns is about a two hour drive from Canton. We arrived around 1:30 and walked over to the cemetery for a picnic lunch. Yep, there are bodies buried underground not 10 feet away from one of the cave tunnels! I was hoping to see dead people, but no such luck underground.
Tour tickets cost about $15 per adult. We just missed the previous tour and had to wait about 15 minutes for the next. We mulled around the gift shop looking at rocks. Lots and lots of pretty rocks. There are also plenty of toys for the kids including some bags of sand they can take out to the sluice to pan for various artifacts.
If you gotta go, don’t expect much from the “restrooms.” You get your choice of three porta-potties found on the other side of the parking lot. I can’t tell you how bad they smell because I held my breath!
Our tour group consisted of Jen and myself, two demons from hell young girls approximately 8 and 10 years old, their grandmother and the tour guide. The caves were found in the late 1800′s when two boys accidentally fell into them while hunting. For about 60 years they used they caves as their own clubhouse until, as adults, they sold the land to the current owner who turned it into a tourist trap attraction, which it has been ever since.
It took us about five minutes to get from the basement down to the first level of the caverns because Grandma had trouble with the stairs! An hour-long tour was starting to look like it would run three or four, (or worse, Jen might have to carry grandma back up out of the deep.) Thankfully Grandma gave up and turned back, leaving Jen and I with the Talky Twins.
The caves have approximately 13 levels, many of which are underwater most of the year. In the spring when they open the caves for the season the water often comes all the way up to level two or three then slowly recedes, giving access to more levels as it does. We were able to climb all the way down to level seven, the furthest they take tourists. This year was the first in the last three years the water went down far enough to bring people that far.
Seneca Caverns is the largest fractured cave in the world. It could also be the only one, but “biggests” and “only” was used interchangeably by the tour guide. Around level five we saw the worlds smallest stalagmites. I think I disappointed the tour guide when I told her I’ve seen 20 foot long stalagmites. Seneca Caverns boasted stalagmites of… wait for it… one whole inch. I think Seneca has stalagmite envy.
We went past a mystery rock. I won’t ruin it for you so you can just use your imagination to decide what it is. The tour guide said they knew little about the river that ran under the caves. I suggested they throw a dead body in there to see where it turns up, but that idea was met with underwhelming appreciation.
The trip back to the top didn’t take nearly as long as going down. There are a lot of short-cuts and less tourist dialogue for the Talky-Twins to interrupt. The tour ended with little fanfare. We walk back up into the gift shop, said our thank-yous and headed back to the car for the two-hour drive home.
Be prepared for a lot of steep steps and low ceilings. It gets pretty cold near the bottom so bringing a sweater isn’t a bad idea. If you want to explore deep I suggest you go late in the year when the water is at its lowest point. I’d definitely go back with the kids. Little explorers would likely enjoy climbing down into the hole and would have plenty to talk about on the drive home.
More Seneca Caverns Info
My Cost: 2 adults – $30
Hats off: 3/5
Seneca Caverns website
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15248 Township Road 178