Known as one of the biggest and best caverns on the East Coast (and maybe the country), Luray Caverns is a mecca for those wanting to explore the world below the surface. There’s more to explore at Luray Caverns than the wondrous cave system, however. Much more. Spend the day and play.
The expansive rooms of Luray Caverns leave visitors in awe. The enormity and magnitude of such creation steals your breath with incredible calcite formations – some pure and white, sparkling reflecting pools, and the 47-foot column formed when stalactite met stalagmite. These sights are treasures, and the National Historic Register status secures Luray Caverns as such. To say it’s a must-visit is an understatement, but while you’re there, visit the other hot spots, too.
Seven acres are dedicated to introducing visitors to the original frontier: the Shenandoah Valley. From artifacts from the Native peoples through the 1920s, the history of the Shenandoah Valley is presented through relocated and restored buildings like the 1800s Elk Run Dunkard Meeting House for the Mennonite community of Page County. It’s in this particular building that visitors can see authentic, preserved signatures of Civil War soldiers.
African American history is preserved within the Shenandoah Heritage Village as well. Visit the 1870-1884 one-room schoolhouse – Hamburg Regular School – one of the oldest surviving African American schoolhouses in Virginia. Doodles at the hands of children remain intact on the walls and nearly all of the furnishings are original.
Care to sluice for gems? While the early prospectors were searching for precious metals and minerals like copper and iron ore, you’ll be on the hunt for mostly gems and fossils. It’s a great hands-on experience for kids and adults alike.
After you mine, explore the 10 historic structures and their collections, peruse the gardens, and visit the museum shop, you’ll want to take a load off and enjoy a drink or snack at the Heartpine Café. You’ll find it in the lower story of the Burner Barn.
You won’t believe it until you see it, but one of the country’s oldest (if not THE oldest) operable cars is located in Luray, Virginia. It’s an 1897 Mercedes-Benz, which looks more like a carriage than a car. For a taste of Hollywood glamour, don’t miss Rudolph Valentino’s 1925 Rolls Royce. It is referred to as the Silver Ghost and features a distinctive custom paint job.
One little boys 1940s treasured electric train turned into a lifetime collection of trains, which are now on display at Toy Town Junction. It’s an expansive display sure to bring joy and delight to both young and old.
GARDEN MAZE ($)
More than 1,500 hedges morph to create a labyrinth of a garden maze with a path wide enough to be handicap accessible. At a half-mile in length, you may twist and turn for a bit before finding your way out, but that’s okay. On warmer days a cool mist helps you beat the heat.
Whether it’s to push yourself or to push your team, the two-level Rope Adventure Park serves up a challenge and loads of fun. Test your courage and support others when you step out of your comfort zone.
All of the activities mentioned above are included with your Luray Caverns admission except for the Garden Maze and Rope Adventure Park. Plan your trip to Luray Caverns and learn about special discounts and hours of operation at LurayCaverns.com/visit-us/.
Header image courtesy of Luray Caverns.