For many centuries, people lived in caves and only came out to hunt or curse their neighbours for hitting golf balls through their windholes. Suavely spelunk ancient dwellings with today's Groupon: for $16, you get two cave-tour admissions to Bonnechere Caves in Eganville (up to a $32 value). Admission for children younger than 4 is normally free .
Encased in exquisite limestone and shrouded by rock icicles, the ancient fossils nestled in Bonnechere Caves captivate visitors with their beauty and rare accessibility granted through guided tours. Expeditions depart every 20 minutes during summer months and, for 45–60 minutes, lovingly traipse through stony passages enriched with remnants of 500-million-year-old sea creatures and Scarface posters still hanging from prehistoric dorm rooms. Bring along a flashlight for enhanced examination or a picnic lunch to enjoy at the provided tables. Suitable for all ages, excursions welcome cameras for capturing the historic walls, cascading waterfalls, and affable bats. Bonnechere Caves' sagacious staff encourages sweaters for protecting against the chilly drafts and blending in in case a pack of woolly mammoths returns home early.
Bonnechere Caves give explorers a rarely seen glimpse into early days of the Earth. Encased within the limestone walls lie fossils of coral and other marine life that are estimated to be between 400 and 500 million years old, predating both dinosaurs and the Walkman. Despite their advanced age, the caves were unknown until 1955, when the subterranean channels of the Bonnechere River were cleared, revealing the ancient passageways carved out by eons of currents.
Today, tour guides lead explorers of all ages into the caves' earthly halls, home to a sinkhole, a waterfall, and stalactites—rock icicles that form at a rate of 1 cubic inch per 150 years—all illuminated by electric lights. Occasionally, a snoozing bat makes an appearance or steps out to take in his trash cans. To heighten the experience, guides sometimes host special events such as fossil hunts, and visitors can also take advantage of the picnic grounds just outside the caves, as well as activities such as dining, golf, and museums in the surrounding area.