Thursday, January 24, 2013

Penn's Cave & Wildlife Tour

As you navigate down the sidewalk and approach the steep steps you begin to feel the natural coolness rush across your body. As you descend down the stairs, the hairs on your body begin to stand on end. The cavern breathes its cold air across your body. You are now standing inside America's only all water cavern. As the group drops into the boat it rocks back and forth erratically, the thoughts inside your head hopes everyone knows how to evenly distribute their weight. If they don't your guide will help them even things out. As the motor of the boat fires up, a sense of mystique enters my mind.

The guide begins to maneuver us through the pitch black darkness of the cavern with only the help of a flood light. You often duck or tuck yourself in order to squeeze through some narrow passages. Along the way your guide will point out stalactites, stalagmites, columns, and curtains. All sculpted through thousands of years of cascading water passing through the rich limestone. The guide points out formations resembling a Nittany lion, the Statue of Liberty, and the ever impressive Garden of the Gods room. You see some of natures most pristine beauty as you pass through the 1,300 feet cave. During one part of the tour you'll see nothing as the guide will extinguish the light.

The cavern was originally discovered by the Seneca Indian tribe. They would often use the cave as shelter during times of inclement weather. In 1885 the cavern was opened for public tours, that same year the Penn's cave hotel was established. Since than the cave has become a popular tourist destination, and in 1976 both the cave and hotel were placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The cave also offers a wildlife tour through their 1,500 acres of preserved forests and fields. The focus is mainly on animals that are or at one time were native to Pennsylvania. Elk, deer, mountain lions, bison, and black bear can all be found within the preserve. Offering a perfect day of all the true beauty the world has to offer, we just gotta get out there and find it!

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