Join Adventure Traveling Mom, Fran Capo, the World’s Fastest Talking Woman, and her son, Spencer Patterson, on her latest adventure where she rolls down a giant hill in a water-filled gerbil ball, and then crawls on her stomach into the bowels of the earth behind a door that hasn’t been opened in over 100 years!
The caves of Howe Caverns in Schoharie County, New York, have been entertaining people below the ground since 1892! (And we’re not talking dead people –we’re talking at a depth of 156 feet or 15 stories below the earth’s surface.)
Many people remember going to it as a child and taking the boat ride in the caves…but for those of you who haven’t been there in a while, there has been a lot of changes, and in a minute you’ll find out that what’s old, I mean really old, becomes new.
Yes, the standard boat tour that you all know and love still exists, but Howe Caverns has a lot more to offer these days. They just keep adding on new things. Just a few years ago, my son, Spencer and I went to Howe Caverns to do the Adventure Tour that had just opened then, which was a crawl through the muddiest part of the cave, and I have the dirty pictures to prove it!
But now, for the first time in 100 years, a section of the cave that has not been open to the public since Howe himself discovered it, has been opened…and they call it the Signature Rock Discovery tour. Why? Because there is a huge rock inside. It was signed by all of the visitors (some very famous, but I’m not going to tell you who) on the original tour led by Howe. They used nothing but kerosene lanterns over a century ago.
So during this tour, you actually experience what the first tourists saw, except not with kerosene lanterns but only the battery powered lights on your helmet. (By the way there is a lantern tour as well, but not in this section.)
This new “old” tour has been opened since May 2015, and I wanted to be one of the first to crawl through the closed crypt area with its walks, tunnels and rooms, as well as being able to see the old relics. It was awesome, and the guides were fantastic, offering a plethora of history.
Just like the other muddy tour, you get coveralls so your own clothes don’t get dirty. (Well within reason, don’t wear your tux or gowns! – although if you wanted to, there is a separate part of the cave where you can get married. I’m seriously thinking about it.)
But why stop in the bowels of the earth? Howe Caverns now has expanded and has really cool things above the ground as well. There’s a gem mining section where you can pan for rocks, a high flying rope obstacle course, and my favorite, the H20GO ball – where you basically are put into a big plastic ball, filled with some water (don’t worry it’s only a little, so you can’t drown) and then you are rolled down a giant hill like a gerbil in a play ball, until you come to a stop. You get wet, have a blast, climb out of the ball and then are driven back up to the top. I tried this adventure in New Zealand and loved it and am thrilled it is now in the U.S.
Then after you are done with the water sports, you can dry off in the locker room, (complete with blow dryer) and doll yourself up for your caving experience.
It is a great way to spend a day with your kids of any age. I brought my son, who is over 18, (Hey I’m not going to tell you his real age or you can figure out mine!) and we were laughing all the way down! Bottom line, adventures like these bond you together and are a unique way of spending a weekend. Plus there is a hotel on site, and it’s inexpensive.
Then you can end the day with some delicious desserts in the gift shop, that is filled with all kinds of home baked chocolates, just the thing to put back on the calories that you crawled off, but oh so well worth it. Enjoy!