Boerne's Cascade Caverns: Take a Cave Tour!
Did you know that according to the Texas State Historical Association, "At least 3,000 caves and sinkholes are known in Texas, distributed in karst areas covering about 20 percent of the state...The majority of Texas caves occur in the Cretaceous limestones of the Edwards Group, Glen Rose, and Austin Chalk, distributed in the Balcones Fault Zone, the Edwards Plateau, the Stockton Plateau, and the Cibolo Creek and Guadalupe River basins." (source). Meaning, RIGHT HERE in our own backyard!
I recently wrote about our Boerne date night which included a Concert in the Cave at The Cave Without a Name HERE. That is really something every Boerne-ite should experience at least once, but I really think that if you do it once, you'll want to do it again because it is really cool. However, we also recently toured and explored Cascade Caverns as a family and I'd like to tell you a bit about that.
The cave's brochure tells us that Cascade Caverns has been declared a Texas Historical Site for its combination of history, geology, & archaeological significance. The cave was opened to the public in 1932, is 132ft deep in the upper cave and 230ft deep in the lower cave. It is 1670ft long and maintains an average year-round temperature of 63.1 degrees. The cave is 95% ALIVE and is the wettest show cave in Texas. It is also Texas' only show cave with a 50ft waterfall. It was the filming location for the Patrick Swayze movie "Father Hood", site of the novel "Hermit of the Cavern" and bison, mastodon, and saber-toothed tiger fossils have even been discovered there!
We chose to take the 4:00pm tour so we showed up about 3:00 to purchase tickets and take a look around the gift shop.
Then we enjoyed a nice picnic lunch under the shady trees and of course, had to take a photo with Rex, the dinosaur that was left behind after the filming of "Father Hood".
Just before the tour was to begin, we took a bathroom break then met our tour guide by the flagpole where we were each given a flashlight and a few do's/dont's of visiting the cave. Then, we were on our way. Our tour guide was a local Champion High School senior who was very well spoken, entertaining, and who really knew his stuff! So nice to see local high school kids working in (and for) our community and especially in a role that celebrates our local history.
The tour that we took was, I think, about an hour long. There are a lot of steps going down which also means a lot of steps coming back up! There were also times when we crouched a bit to walk underneath lower parts of the cave. The floor was mostly wet, so sneakers or hiking shoes are recommended. Overall, this was a pretty easy cave to explore but it's probably not for those who have a hard time with stairs, crouching, or slippery surfaces.
Once we came back up out of the cave, we got a nice tour of the rest of the grounds on our way back.
This was really a lot of fun for our family. The kids couldn't believe they were in a real cave! They loved hearing about the fossils that had been found there and learning that the cave was alive. I will say though, that Baby didn't really enjoy the darkness or being on the receiving end of the "cave kisses" (the drops of water that fall from the top), so he fussed quite a bit. Also, the older two were so excited that they wanted to shout and point and talk about everything! However, everyone (including our guide) was super understanding and we still managed to have a great time despite the distraction (thanks for that!).
You'll find Cascade Caverns at 226 Cascade Caverns Road, Boerne, TX 78015. Basic tours are 45-60 minutes, Adventure tours are two hours, and Flashlight tours are 60+ minutes. Tours are offered year-round from 10:00-4:00, on the hour (with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's). TIP: Pick up a "Cascade Caverns" brochure from the display rack in the gift shop and you'll find coupons for discounted admission and campsites!
Have you toured any of Texas' magnificent caves? Which are your favorites or which are on your bucket list? Love this wonderful, always surprising state of ours!
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