Deep underneath the stunning Blue Ridge mountains in Virginia is the largest cavern system in the Eastern United States – the Luray Caverns – which are extraordinary and incredibly accessible to experience with kids.
Folding, flowing and dripping columns formed over hundreds and thousands of years, are spectacular and breathtaking to behold. Designated as a National Landmark, it is a mesmerizing lesson in geology with cathedral-sized rooms opening up with towering stalactites and stalagmites 10-stories tall.
Underground, shallow ponds create incredible reflections, providing an unearthly view of this underground world.
Tour guides walk guests through, sharing intriguing facts about the cavern system. The paths are lighted and paved making this experience safe and accessible even for young children. Our son, ever a batman fan, declared this his bat cave.
There is a wishing well, where coins are tossed, wishes are made, and the funds collected help preserve this marvelous landmark for future generations. The caverns are open daily, and tours depart every 20 minutes. There are a variety of ticket packages available, and discounts are available especially if you’ll be engaging in other activities on the property, such as the ropes courses and garden maze. Kids under the age of 5 are admitted free into the caverns with accompanying adult.
Garden Maze at Luray Caverns
Get lost in a garden! On the same property as Luray Caverns is a host of family friendly attractions, including Garden Maze at Luray Caverns. The kids loved finding all the clues, getting their passport stamped and solving the mystery within the maze.
Reportedly, the largest hedge maze in the Mid-Atlantic states, the maze is 1-acre in size, featuring 8-foot tall hedges.
Within the maze there are fountains, flowers, tunnels and a look out tower to take in the size and scope of the maze experience.
Children under the age of 5 years old are free, with a paid, accompanying adult. Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for children (6-12). Discounts available when purchasing a package including several Luray attractions.
Gem Mining at Luray Caverns
The caverns aren’t the only fun lesson in geology to be had in Luray. The Stonyman Mining Company Gem Sluice is a fully operational, completely recreated mining station.
There are a variety of gem bag sizes available for purchase ranging from $8-20. We selected the $8 size and both our kids were shared in the fun and wonder of sluicing for gems. Their eyes filled with wonder and excitement and they delighted in the discovery of each new gem.
Rope Adventure Park at Luray Caverns
For a bit of adventurous and daring fun, strap on a harness and challenge yourself with a feat of balance and agility on the ropes course at the Rope Adventure Park at Luray Caverns. There are two courses available, the high ropes course for adults and kids over 48 inches, and a low ropes course for children under 48 inches.
Our oldest, who is typically afraid of heights, loved challenging himself and besting his fears on the high ropes course (it was also a fun experience for father and son).
Our littlest adventurer desperately wanted to try the high course, but height restrictions kept her closer to the ground (and she had a fun time balancing on the low ropes course).
All of these attractions, as well as a couple museums are located on the Luray Caverns campus providing a full day (or multiple days) of family friendly fun in Luray, Virginia.