A very cool and unique place to go visit in Wisconsin is Crystal Cave. The cave is a very rare and popular tourist feature located in Western Wisconsin. It is located at W965 State Road 29 in the city of Spring Valley. You are sure to have an entertaining time walking through this beautiful tourist attraction. It is an attraction you don’t want to miss and is fun for the whole family.
The history on how the cave was discovered goes back to 1881. It was said to be discovered by a 16 year old boy named William Vanasse. William was just a local farm boy that was walking through the woods near his house. The story says that he found an area that was starting to sink with leaves on it. So being the curious teenager he was, he took a stick and poked around the area until he slipped and fell into the ground which turned out to be part of the cave.
At that time the locals called the cave the Sanders’s Corner Cave and they didn’t realize how unique the cave was. They also did not have the tools on hand to dig further so that they could explore the cave more, nor did they think about doing that. So the cave stayed undeveloped until 1941 when Henry A. Friede decided to start developing the area so he could commercialize it. Then throughout the years it was sold to a few different owners.
Now the present owners of the Crystal Cave are Blaze and Jean Cunningham. They have lots of experience in the world of geology. Before becoming owners of the cave they worked as mineral, oil and gas exploration geologists. They also reside right on the property of Crystal Cave with their son Samuel and take care of the cave so tourists from allover can enjoy it too.
The tours for Crystal Cave depart about every 30 minutes. The tour in all takes about 1 hour and then whatever time you spend in the gift shop. Your knowledgeable guide will take you through the cave and tell you about all the different rock formations in the cave and the history of the cave. The price for the tour is really cheap also. They charge $10 for adults, $8 for students ages 7-12, $6 for children ages 4-12, and children under 3 years old are free.
When you enter the cave, they have a few rules on what you can and cannot take with you. They do not allow diaper bags, camera bags, or backpacks. The paths are also not accessible for wheelchairs or strollers either, so those are not allowed. If you have a baby with you, you can use a front carrying pack, but not one that goes on the back. These items are all banned for safety reasons.
When you are in the cave, you descend about 70 feet with lots of steps and ramps. The paths that you walk on in the cave are well lit so that it is easy to see where you are going but they are gravel, so make sure that you wear comfortable shoes. Also in some areas it might get kind of muddy so wear old shoes that you don’t care about if they get dirty. Also make sure that you wear a sweater or a sweatshirt because it gets a little chilly in the cave. They said the temperature was around 50 degrees, but it felt colder then that.
As you walk through the cave you will get to see some really cool things all around you. The cave is home to four different species of bats that can be seen throughout the year. They are the Eptisicus fuscus (big brown bat), Myotis lucifugus (little brown bat), the Pipistrellus subflavus (Eastern Pipistrelle) and theMyotis septentrionalis (Northern Myotis). If you are afraid of bats, it is ok. Despite what some people think, bats are really gentle and hardly ever make human contact so there is no need to worry about them in the cave.
On the walls and ceiling of the cave there are a variety of speleothems, which are cave formations. Then from the roof of the cave hang stalactites, which look like giant crystal icicles hanging down. There are also bunches of helictites. These are finger-like growths of calcite that look like cluster of spaghetti noodles that branch out and twirl around each other. It was all really cool to see.
Besides doing tours for the family, the cave also offers a bunch of different birthday packages depending on how many people you are going to have and what age group. They also do school tours for preschool aged children through seniors in High School. It is a fun and entertaining way to learn new things.
When you visit Crystal Cave, make sure you take the time to check out their Lodge Gift Shop. In here they sell cool gifts for people of all ages. For the kids they have different stuffed animals, games, and many other cool toys. For the adults they have shirts, jewelry, pictures, books, fudge, knick-knacks and many other things.
For your fun afternoon at the cave, you can also pack a lunch for you to eat afterwards. They have a nice picnic area nestled in between trees with lots of picnic tables behind the gift shop for you to eat lunch or dinner at. That way you get to enjoy the beautiful outdoors as you have something to eat, and it is a great way to relax after your exciting day at the cave.
Overall I really enjoyed this experience. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and spoke in words that we all could understand. He answered all of our questions perfectly and even threw in some jokes to pep things up a bit! Make sure that you take a camera that takes good pictures in dim lighting because some people’s pictures weren’t turning out the best because of that. But I think this is a must see if you are in the area of Western Wisconsin. If you want any more information about Crystal Cave, you can give them a call at 1-800-236-2283.