Ever since it was first perfected in 1894, walking has become widely recognized as an effective remedy for ailments such as toothaches, headaches, hair loss, and head loss. Reap a few of walking's benefits with today's Groupon to Cumberland Caverns. Choose between the following options:
- For $9, you get a 90-minute scenic walking tour (up to an $18 value), which departs for the caverns every hour on the hour from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- For $12, you get one admission to Spelunk-Tacular Saturdays (a $25 value), a one-day caving adventure that departs every Saturday at 1 p.m.
A U.S. National Natural Landmark with more than 32 miles of known caves, Cumberland Caverns proves Tom Waits' controversial theory that there's a world going on underground. A walking journey through the subsurface site showcases an awe-inspiring selection of shimmering pools, fantasy-book-cover rock formations, a breathtaking waterfall, and a historic saltpeter mine. Informative guides will eagerly inform you that the saltpeter extracted from said mine was used as an ingredient in Civil War gunpowder as well as the Civil War's most popular food, gunchowder. You'll also have an opportunity to "ooh" and "ahh" along to “God of the Mountain,” a subterranean light and sound show depicting the biblical story of creation. Cumberland Caverns also has an underground ballroom featuring a beautiful 3/4-ton crystal chandelier, which provides the perfect accouterment for swanky troglobite soirees.
Since its discovery in 1810, the mystery of Cumberland Caverns has continued to unfold—with new rooms and passages being discovered every few decades by curious cave explorers looking for unreleased Little Orphan Annie comic strips. Spelunk-Tacular Saturdays allow groups of any size to enjoy a squeezing and shimmying tour through this vast underground network. Showcasing some of the cave's most beautiful and unusual formations, these trips take eager explorers through tight squeezes and sticky situations, making the tour an extremely strenuous trek. Adventure seekers can expect to encounter mud, wetness, and other mythical creatures along the way, so sturdy shoes and a change of clothes are recommended.
TripAdvisors give Cumberland Caverns an average of 3.5 owl eyes and three Yelpers give it an average of 4.5. Reviews are mixed on the light show narration, but others praise the informative tour guides.
- Every time I go I leave the cave amazed. The huge rooms and the beautiful rock formations. And the artistic way in which they have the cave lighted up is beautiful. Staff was extreamly [sic] friendly, helpful, and informed. – Pioneer49, TripAdvisor
- The guides were VERY friendly and knowledgeable. – dsbwilliams, TripAdvisor
When surveyor Aaron Higgenbotham discovered Cumberland Caverns in 1810, he couldn't see its majestic pillars of dripping rock, its flowstone curtains, or its subterranean waterfalls. Stuck on a small ledge in the dark, Higgenbotham was as blind to the cave system's features—one of them a 2,000-foot-long cavern hall—as the eyeless crayfish that live there. His initial discovery nevertheless paved the way for nearly 200 years of speleological findings. Today, guides preserve this 32-mile National Landmark cavern by leading daily tours through its passages.
During tours, guides point out artifacts left by pre Civil War–era saltpeter mines, tunnels filled with rare gypsum deposits, and mysterious inscriptions reading "Shelah Waters - 1869" and "Millard Fillmore + Stacy." They lead guests among stalagmites and stalactites to a sound-and-light show that dramatically retells Bible stories, or into a domed hall that houses a hand-cut crystal chandelier rescued from a historic Brooklyn theater. It's in this last space that staffers organize banquets, weddings, and monthly live bluegrass concerts, or hold burial services for broken fax machines. They also lead visitors through the tight passageways of lesser-seen cavern segments during daytime or overnight spelunking trips.