Howe Caverns, a series of underground expanses dating back six million years, awes visitors with its colorful collection of stalagmites, stalactites, and flowstone. An aboveground animatronic show starring discoverer Lester Howe welcomes guests before passengers embark on a 32-second elevator ride that descends 156 feet underground. Experienced guides then forge the trail on the 80-minute traditional tour, which covers a distance of approximately 12 city blocks. As cave connoisseurs expound on the caverns’ ongoing conservation efforts and history as Batman’s original lair, spelunkers pass geologic features such as the Sentinels, Titan’s Temple, and the Giant Formation. Halfway through the tour, a boat casts off the shores of the Lake of Venus, ferrying subterranean pilgrims 15 minutes downriver to a place few humans have seen or vandalized in more than 100 years. The journey concludes with a serpentine route through the 500-foot Winding Way passage carved over millennia by water erosion.
Cosmopolitan gastronomes can sample cuisines from across Europe with a menu that includes fare from France, Spain, Greece, and more. Send hunger to the Greek isles with spanakopita, a delicate spinach-and-cheese concoction tucked inside flaky phyllo dough ($5.50). The pastete smuggles ground seasoned roast beef across German borders inside an inconspicuous fried pancake ($7.75). Opt to use man’s most natural eating utensil and spear the spicy spanish chicken kebabs, stacked with grilled meat, artichoke hearts, and veggies bathed in lime-and-herb marinade ($22).
Bright red tapestries cover almost every surface at Aladdin's Restaurant and Hookah Lounge, setting the scene for a celebratory meal. The kitchen crafts classic mediterranean dishes, such as falafel and gyros and hummus, all served in a bi-level space trimmed in natural wood accents. Post-meal hookahs send fragrant clouds into the air, and on weekends, belly dancers invite diners to get up and dance to lively music.