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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Historic Penn's Cave and Wildlife Park in Centre Hall

If you are visiting northern or central Pennsylvania one place you will want to visit is the historic Penn's Cave & Wildlife Park in Centre Hall. The cave & park sits about 12 to 15 minutes outside of downtown State College.

The Penn's Cave is America's only all water cavern and wildlife park and we are pretty lucky to have this beautiful gem here in Pennsylvania. The cavern is an all-water limestone cavern and the only way to see it is via a guided tour on a motor boat.

Centuries ago, the Seneca Indians discovered this natural landmark in the Valley of Karoondinha (Penn's Valley). The cavern was opened to the public back in 1885 and has been open ever since. It is the only cavern in Pennsylvania on the National Register of Historic Places.

We found ample parking and went into the gift shop to pay for our admission. We only had to wait 10 minutes until our tour was ready to begin. You will walk down a paved ramp and then 40+ steps to get to the boat dock to enter the cave. We had 12 people on our motorboat plus our tour guide.
It is very dark in the cave and they do have some fixed lighting and use spotlights to help guide the way. The cavern is a constant 52 degrees year round, so you might want to wear a light jacket or sweater while taking the cavern tour.


Some of the famous formations you will see are: The Statue of Liberty, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Nittany Lion and more! Don't be surprised, you will get "cave kisses" along the way too! (drips of water that drip down from the cave top).

Our cave tour guide was named Gino and he had quite the sense of humor. We really enjoyed him and he gave us a really good education on the cave and it's history. It was a great learning & educational experience for us and we highly recommend it.

Once you go through the cavern you will come out the other end into Lake Nittany which is also part of the experience. As our boat swung around the lake we got to see a few white-tailed deer grazing nearby and some mallard ducks.
Then you enter the cavern again and go through for a second time until you reach the boat dock. The entire cavern tour took us about 40 minutes from start to finish and was really nice! I would definitely do it again!
Once off the boat we headed back up the steps and onto the ramp to head to the gift shop and the Cave Cafe where you can purchase some souvenirs or grab a bite to eat. Along the walk you can stop to read about The Legend of Penn's Cave or about the Stone Formations that are there.

Once inside the gift shop we did purchase a few little souvenirs (reasonably priced) and grabbed a beverage before we headed on out. On this particular trip we didn't do the Wildlife Tour but next time, we definitely will.

You can visit Penn's Cave & Wildlife Park website for driving directions, hours of operations and to obtain additional information. We highly recommend this family-friendly activity in Centre County Pennsylvania.

Note: You can click on each photo in my blog post which will pop the photo into a new window at an enlarged sized so that you can view the details more closely. Enjoy!

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