Not far from the border of Minnesota and Wisconsin, 70 feet beneath the earth surface, you will find a world of total darkness, mystery and maybe a few bats. Crystal Cave is one of the longest caves in Wisconsin. Located just 30 mins from the Twin Cities, it’s perfect for some Family Fun!
Wait a second. Did I that just say bats? Yes, you read that right. As an adult, I know that bats are harmless creatures that come out at night and only eat mesquites and other insects. But there is something about the wings that still give me the hibbie jibbies. I was going to put on my big girl pants and play it cool. I just left that part off when I told the kids we were going.
Crystal Cave offers a variety of different tour opportunities. The regular tour gives you an hour walk through of the cave, well light and highlighting the different formations. They also offer private tours and flashlight tours. The flashlight tour leaves off the lights and lets you explore like a true caver!
What to Know Before You Go
Peeking into the past
Crystal Cave has several large sections of the classic cave formations, including stalagmites, stalactites, running water and even a few crystals. Everything was lit up and on display. Some of the fragile sections were under Plexiglas, to give them some extra protection from wandering hands.
One of the most amazing parts of a cave adventure is getting to see the fossils from when the country was once covered in ocean. They have a variety of different species including a Cephalopod. It was interesting to see the size these creatures. The tour guides do a great job of sharing all their knowledge of the life in that time.
Crystal Cave is home to 4 species of bats. Both a Little and Big Brown Bat, Eastern Pipistrelle and the Northern Myotis. We did get to see a few of them on our tour. We visited in Early Spring so all the bats were still hibernating. They will be coming out soon now that things have warmed up a bit. When you go, chances are they will be sleeping in various locations on the cave ceiling. It became a fun game in the group to see who could spot the bats. By the end of it, I was wishing a bat would wake up just to see it fly around.
This cave was very easy to traverse on the normal tour. There are a series of stairs but they only go down 3 levels. Compare this to Niagara Cave and it’s a cake walk. Our Niagra Cave experience was the reason my husband was hesitant to go this time. When the guide told us we were only had two more levels, we both let out a sigh of relief. While going down lower sounds glamorous. You don’t realize that you have to go up all those stairs again. Tack on any small children that might need help, and you’re in for a good workout, filled with judging eyes. This was not a problem here. Though I did wait until the back of the pack and gave my son a piggy back ride up do I didn’t hold anyone up.
The ground is fairly leveled out most of the way. The only problem is there are a few low-hanging sections, but your guide will be sure to point them out.
While it may be a beautiful summer day above ground, the temperature below is only 50 degrees. That sounds nice, but after 10-15 minutes it will be chilly. Come with a light jacket or dress in layers. Also wear appropriate footwear, like tennis shoes or hiking boots. In our group, there was a couple people that didn’t plan ahead and were in tank tops. They were miserably huddled together most of the time. Don’t let that be YOU.
If you have smaller children with you that want to be carried at any point, don’t wear nice clothing. They have been walking in cave mud and will have it all over their shoes. I remembered this from my last cave adventure and did my best to keep the shoes away from me, but it was impossible. You’re going to get muddy! Think of it as a souvenir!
Cave Tour Only
Youth (3 ñ 12) 9.98
Children 2 & Under Free
Reservations are not needed.
Crystal Cave is located at W965 State Road 29 in Spring Valley, Wisconsin. Or by phone at Phone: (715) 778-4414
If you are looking for more to do in Wisconsin, check out Wisconsin Day Trips by Mary Bauer. She has a lot of great ideas.