Just a few miles away from the Ohio River sits Indiana Caverns underneath a grassy field. Indiana Caverns is one of 4 caves that make up the Indiana Cave Trail in the southern end of the state. On this road trip I visited ALL 4 of these caves in 2 days which is extremely doable – even with small children. That leaves you PLENTY of time for other sightseeing or enjoying time at a campground (I recommend Buffalo Trace Campground!). PLUS if you visit ALL 4 caves you’ll get a free t-shirt! How cool is that?!
If you’ve never been inside of a cave before you can take a tour in this one ANY time of year – no matter what the weather is like! In fact they are only closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. The weather is constant because it’s underground (about 56*) so it’s a great year-round attraction to visit! It’s perfect for families and the cave tour takes roughly 1.5 hours. You’ll start by watching a short 15 minute video that helps give you some background on the cave system that you’ll soon be heading down into. In fact you’ll be about 110 feet underground -but wait! You’ll ALSO get to enjoy a 25 minute boat ride!
If you’re just like me, and all you want to do is HEAD RIGHT TO THE CAVE, just keep scrolling down! But for the rest of you wanting to see what Indiana Caverns has to offer, you’ll want to read the tips and pointers below! Especially if you are traveling with those who will not be going in the cave!
Cave & Karst Interpretive Trail:
The property surrounding Indiana Caverns is HUGE! If you have kids that have been cooped up in the car for a long road trip – this is absolutely the place to let your kids run outdoors! There is PLENTY of open space for you here! Next to the Indiana Caverns building is a fantastic interpretive trail that is really interesting to compare to your cave tour.
Along the simple trail are signs that point out where the Battle of Corydon took place, which room you are standing over or next to beneath you in the cave system, and other historical information. You can see here on the 3rd stop that you are over the drain of Blowing Hole Boulevard.
Especially for Kids:
Not all kids are OK with bring underground in a cave for over an hour – no matter how lit it is. OR maybe your kids want more of a wild cave experience where they can actually crawl and climb through dark tunnels. Either way the Cavern of the Sabertooth is for both of them! In fact if you can fit you can go too! For a few bucks your kids will get a flashlight and cave hat to wear to try out this manmade tunnel system which simulates real cave exploring! If you’re lucky, you’ll get to meet Mr. Tooth, the furry orange kitty that you see laying in the front of the sabertooth mouth there.
Indiana Caverns Photo Opps:
If you’re worried you’ll forget about your wonderful trip to Indiana Caverns or you just want to show your friends how lucky you were to visit – snap some selfies and photos at some of these fun photo opp spots! Outside there’s a gem mining station that makes a fun picture spot with kids! You can buy a bag of sand and gems or fossils inside the gift shop.
Indiana Caverns Gift Shop:
When you first walk into the building at Indiana Caverns it’s delightfully open, naturally sleek with plenty of room to walk around and stretch your legs. Impressive really. The gift shop is fantastic and there’s even a pressed penny machine (my favorite!). Whether you want a small trinket or stone to remember your day or a pricier more stunning gem or fossil – you’ll find it here!
Inside of Indiana Caverns:
This tunnel connects you from the gift shop right down into the cave. Although all of the walkways are smooth to walk on with very good hand rails you’ll need to be able to handle walking on this steep path as well as several flights of stairs. I’d say it’s a great cave tour for your average fit person who does not have any disability that prevents them from a little bit of stairs and inclined/declined walkways. It’s a great tour for families with children as well!
Myron was my tour guide and MAN was he fantastic! If you find yourself on a cave tour at Indiana Caverns make sure you get on his tour if you can! He has a REAL passion and obsession with caves just like I do! I ended up on a tour with a family that had 4 small children – it was their first time in a cave and they were pretty scared. After all a cave is darker (even though it is well lit!) and enclosed. Throughout the tour Myron was impressively phenomenal with these kids while still teaching about a TON of things in the cave system.
Don’t let the vastness of this cave room fool you – just ask Gary Roberson, developer and CEO of Indiana Caverns. Unfortunately I did not get to meet him on the day I was at Indiana Caverns but hopefully someday I’ll have the opportunity to meet the legend himself. He has personally developed, owned, or sold the majority of the caves in the Indiana Cave Trail and personally mapped out much of the Binkley Cave system. Cave exploring is a dangerous muddy business and not for the faint of heart. (I’m not talking about a regular show cave tour!) If you’re up for a fantastic story about the Binkley Cave System then you’ll want to buy Gary’s book 50 Years Under the Sinkhole Plain.
This being an active cave system you’ll see plenty of stalactites which hang tight to the ceiling.
Taking photos inside of a cave can be extremely difficult due to the low light conditions but this photo can help give you an idea of the vastness of this cave room. You can see the stairs on the other side of where I am standing in this photo and how it winds up into another portion of the cave. The main cave room is about 85 feet tall and 168 feet long!
Although there is a lot of walking on the cave tour and a reasonable amount of stairs, great care was taken in building the walk way system. The path is flat and not slippery, the hand rails allow for good grip and it’s very safe for children. As I said I’ve been on dozens of show cave tours and this was one of the best walkway systems I’ve been on.
By the time we made it back to this part of the cave tour I started getting excited, because I knew a boat ride was soon in my future! Although my photos turned out a little MEH, Myron took plenty of time to search out blind crayfish. YES! There are a few critters in Indiana Caverns. Blind cavefish are white since they have no skin pigment. In fact leaving a flashlight shining on them makes them pretty unhappy and they’ll quickly scurry away and look for a dark spot to hide under a rock. We saw several blind crayfish on the tour.
The long pontoon type boat was such a highlight! There are not many public caves in the USA that you have to load into a boat to view and Indiana has TWO of them! (the other is Bluespring Caverns). The underground river may seem a little frightening to some but the water is only 3-6 ft deep. So even if someone were to fall out of the boat – they could just stand right up! In fact the boat tour doesn’t even go to the end of the cave. The cave tunnel extends 28 MILES past the end of the boat tour. WOW!
If you look closely at the photo above you can make out a glimpse of the 4 story waterfall that you’ll see on the Indiana Caverns tours. It’s just to the left of the stairs.
I have to admit – I am completely bias here. I absolutely LOVE CAVES and I loved my time at Indiana Caverns so much I wish I could have stayed and worked there! I dreamed of being an archaeologist as a child so add that right in with my love of caves and it’s the perfect mix. The staff I met were SO FRIENDLY and kind. I absolutely adore this attraction and know you will too! If you’ve never been to a cave before (or if you’ve been to dozens!) Indiana Caverns is a great first cave tour for you. It’s educational, it’s unique, and it’s living history and science that’s being created and mapped out even as you read this.
Ice Age Bones in Indiana Caverns:
This is what got me really excited – they have discovered multiple locations inside of Indiana Caverns with piles of Ice Age bones! ICE AGE! This is PHENOMENAL! This is the greatest discovery of Ice Age bones in the United States! And YOU can walk right through the cave and see it!
In 2010 2 ISS Cavers spotted an opening up high in the ceiling and found an unexplored cave passage. (You can actually see this on the tour.) They traveled down almost a mile – it took them 4 hours! Eventually they found a shorter path. This cave system is the LONGEST cave system in Indiana and the 4th longest in the USA. (about 44 miles have been mapped and counting!)
The initial discovery found a peccary (similar to a wild pig) skull, a black bear skull, a juvenile bison, a fisher skeleton, bird bones, a snake, bear wallows, and claw marks. You’ll actually get to see a spot in the cave where bear claw marks are! Now the Indiana State Museum does annual archeology digs to learn more above the what animals the Binkley cave system has seen throughout the years. This area of the cave was dubbed Big Bone Mountain and is one of the largest roomiest sections of the cave.
I’ve been to over 30 caves in the USA and Indiana Caverns holds so many things I had never seen in a cave before. Ice age bones, helictites and churts! It truly was a fantastic day for me to see such an amazing piece of history and nature.
Details & Video of Indiana Caverns:
GPS Address: 1267 Green Acres Drive SW, Corydon, IN 47112
Phone Number: 812-734-1200
Social: Facebook and Twitter
Open: 363 Days a Year! Tours from 9AM – 4PM
Rates: $11.50 (ages 4-12) $21 (adult 13+) Pre-buy for a discount here!
Handicap Accessible: NO
NOT Allowed Inside the Cave: Strollers, Backpacks, Food, Drinks, Pets
Extreme Adventures: Deep Darkness Challenge