We wanted to tour Marvel Cave which my friend vividly remembered from his visit 55 years ago when he was 12). At that time, it was just a hole in the ground and there was no park.
Unfortunately, we had to buy the full admission park tickets at $54 each (after a whopping $2 senior discount- come-on SDC, give at least 10% to seniors)) in order to see it. The gr8 news for people going to the park anyhow is that the regular, one-hour tour is free with admission.
I must admit that the entry Cathedral Room was incredible (the Statue of Liberty would fit into it) and the entire cave tour was fabulous. The first 500 stairs were mostly downhill until the end, with the final 200 up to the tram. Wear sturdy, non-skid shoes as the floors are damp, and bring a light jacket as it it cool underground year-round. Eat and potty before the tour as there is no food/drink allowed and no facilities in the cave. The guide gave a lot of interesting information, and the kids there over the Columbus holiday loved the exploring and adventure. It was gr8 and my friend saw many improvements since his last visit in 1958 when he was 12.
Note: While waiting in line before the tour, a family with kids shared that they had been on the "lantern" tour the night before and wished they had done the daytime tour first with the lights on first to really SEE the cave. The lanterns allowed them to experience the cave in the dark as the original explorers did, not knowing where the next drop-off or dead end would be.
The part that made the ticket price worthwhile for me was that I'm a roller coaster enthusiast, and the Outlaw Run was incredible. It's one of the fastest wooden coasters, with two loops (feet above head) and several very sharp turns. The line was long with a 30 min. of anticipation to get one minute of sheer exhilaration! There were a few other coasters, lots of shows and amazing replication of old-time crafts like woodworking, candy making, etc.
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