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Laurel Caverns - a day trip from Pittsburgh

Day 2 of Pittsburgh trip over summer, we started off with a visit to Laurel caverns (not to be confused with Luray caverns in Virginia, which I visited 21 years ago as a young hippie). This one was a family owned local deal. It did not have any stalagtites or stalagmites but was more of a natural cave with two distinct types of rock. One on the walls and one for the ceiling. 

We checked in and went out to have lunch at the picnic tables they had outside. The view from the tables was just amazing! 

Before going into the cave tour which was around 45 minutes, they had a little gem panning area for kids. 

Jr. and the little one had a lot of fun panning for gems.. (they were more like gem stones) and there was an eye chart given to the adults to find what the stone was. 

This was a good way for the adults to get involved, with identifying the stones and realizing "sapphire in the raw" is not what we are used to seeing, or quartzite looks more like a gem as a stone but is worthless, etc. etc.

Then we went through the caves, which was interesting but not exactly breathtaking. They had one amazing display in total darkness where lights come on inside the cave to a classical music piece. 

There are places where the lighting makes you realize how nature works quietly underground to create amazing landscapes!


If you want to experience total darkness with a large group, this is the place to go. 

Apparently there were 2000 plus bats in the cave and they got a virus which makes their nose go white, and now they have less than 70 bats. That was sad to hear. 

We had a lot of fun going through the narrow passageways and it was a good walk through steep slopes. A decent workout! 

The family group had a lot of fun. We had fun cracking jokes and walking back up after the guide had finished. Reminded me of trips around temples in India where we would go in large groups and the fun part was the group dynamics, except this was nature's temple! 

We were on the clock to go to our next destination, so the timing for the tour and lunch was perfectly planned. If you have more time, they do have a tour that takes you into the tunnel, but that one is 4 hours and you need gear (and you will get wet and muddy). 

Definitely recommended this place for a half day trip, if you happen to go that area, with kids!

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