There are usually two types of things you can do in tourist attraction caves – the general large group tour or a get dirty adventure where you climb and crawl and have to wear safety gear. Both of these were available at the Natural Bridge Caverns just north of San Antonio, but the children’s ages precluded us from their “Adventure Tour”. Not surprising – it is difficult to find activities that could qualify as adventure travel when you travel with kids. You can’t go repelling or skydive and even something like horseback riding will often be off limits.
However, there was a third option available… a natural bridge caverns lantern tour. The first tour of the day, the lantern tour is conducted entirely in the dark with only the guide’s flashlight and our lanterns to guide us. It also serves the purpose of turning on the lights for the general tours that would come behind us. It sounded different, a little adventurous, and safe for the munchkins.
It was a cold day, but the cave offered us a humid warm environment we were thankful for. We traveled through the caverns being told the history of discovery of the caverns. Caving equipment has changed drastically since 1960 when the caverns were discovered, and their lighting options were very limited. Their head lights were pretty dim and it was pretty cool to see the different rooms in much the same way the original explorers saw it.
A unique experience for sure, and the kids really enjoyed it. They wanted to stay all day at the cave and do another tour. I wish we’d had time for it because I think it would have been a completely different experience to see it in full lights. But, we were on a timetable and had to hit the road.
We only had one small hiccup on this adventure. There was a portion of the tour where we sat down and listened to one of the original founders talk via a recording and we turned all our lights off. As you can expect, it was very very dark. Luke quietly said, “Mama, I’m scared.” I held his hand. He was alright, but if I had known before hand, I would have prepared him for it.
Website : Natural Bridge Caverns