Ever thought of having a caving adventure with the family? Well, you can, and it can be an amazing experience; something completely different, and something that has some serious fun appeal attached to it! We’ve searched high and low, and found some of the coolest caves for family adventures! Enjoy!
Kartchner Caverns, Arizona USA
These awesome caves run right underneath the Kartchner Caverns State Park, and carry on for an amazing 4km underground. They were discovered in 1974 and they’re carved out of limestone and filled with speleothems which are up to 50,000 years old. Ever heard of speleothems? If not, here’s your lesson for the day – it’s a cave formation that has a secondary mineral deposit! Lesson over! You can go the good old guided tour route and you’ll make a pit stop at the world’s longest soda straw stalactites, which measure up to a whopping 5.64km high! That would be quite a sight to behold! During your tour you’ll also get a viewing of the amazing ‘Kubla Khan’, an 18m high column named after the poem written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It also includes the ‘Big Room’, which has the absolutely heaps of brushite moonmilk in the world. Another Geography lesson anyone? Well brushtite moonmilk, sometimes called ‘elf’s milk’, is sparkling white, and is a creamy-looking substance. It looks rather awesome, but it’s actually formed by bat guano and limestone being mixed together. Right! And why is it here? Well the cave is home to more than 1,000 bats! But don’t worry; it only opens its doors when the bats migrate, so they won’t be flapping around your heads!
Cango Caves, Western Cape South Africa
The Cango Caves are near the Swartberg mountain range in South Africa. If you’re a natural explorer, then this is an awesome place for you! If you’re looking for tunnels and caverns and stalactites and stalagmites of epic proportions, then you’ll definitely see them here. The limestone caves are about 4km long. But you won’t get to explore the full 4km of limestone caves, as a lot of the areas in the cave are unsafe. Try not to make a breakaway, as you’ll probably get caught. There are heaps of tours a day and you can opt for the standard tour for beginners, which is literally a simple walk through the caves, but then there’s the adventure tours…now we’re talking. These take a lot longer, but you’ll get to do a LOT of climbing, there will be dim lights where you can barely see a thing, and crawling through tiny openings. This is not the faint hearted or the claustrophobes out there.
Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico USA
These amazing caves are found high in the Guadalupe Mountains. You get to choose your journey up there…take a hike or take the elevator. Decide on the day how adventurous you’re feeling! Here’s another cave with a massive cavern called the ‘Big Room’! Clearly the ‘Big Room’ is a popular word in caving circles! It has a truly awesome limestone foundation which is a massive 1.2km tall at its highest point. Wow, that is one seriously high! But this ‘Big Room’ is a little different as it’s the seventh largest cavern in the world, and the third biggest in the US. A must see! A massive family adventure awaits you here, with hiking and caving all in the same day! Awesome.
Barton Creek Cave, Cayo, Belize
Tourists flock to this natural cave in Belize near San Ignacio in the district Cayo, but for good reason. So be a tourist for the day, amongst the crowds of people as this is one cave you’ve just got to see. You’re in for quite a treat when you get here as you balance yourselves into a canoe and head off into the remote cave. This used to be used as an ancient burial site for the Mayans. Be prepared some creepy sights await you. The tour takes about an hour, as you paddle away through the ancient waterway, which lies inside the mountain and you’ll pass some amazing stalactites along the way. How awesome is that? The creepy things you’ll see include some ancient skulls. If you have to block the kids eyes if they’re not keen on a sight like this. Best you get your cameras out for this trip, what with its high ceilings, rock flows to blow your mind and cathedral chambers that will leave you breathless! Snapping away is a must. Now this will be a family adventure of note, paddling through an ancient civilization.
Caves of the Thousand Buddha’s, China
These caves have been described as one of China’s largest treasure troves. And here’s why! The Caves of the Thousand Buddha’s have a collection of art that spreads pretty much through the almost 500 caves that were dug out by nomadic monks. That’s quite something! Amazingly the monks decorated these caves with absolute delights, including sculptures, paintings and even sculptures that date back to between the 4th and 14th centuries. These are surely worth a visit. But don’t worry about a yawn fest coming on from the kids, as this is no ordinary art gallery! In these caves you’ll be climbing, crawling through tunnels and caverns to keep you all entertained. So double win here – adventure for the kids, and of course the adults, plus some very special artwork for you!
Cave of Crystals, Chihuahua Mexico
Wow…if you’ve got that bucket list going, then this is one place you have to experience. The cave is so unbelievably humid and hot that the most amazing crystals have formed and grown all over the walls. They are the largest crystal formations in the world! That must be one amazing sight to see. These caves were only found in 2,000 by two brothers that were both miners. Well, since their discovery, the caves have become a tourist hotspot! Quite a discovery to stumble upon. But, these caves come with a health warning! You can’t be in them for longer than 10 minutes as it’s somewhat hot, to say the least! Get dressed in the coolest clothes you have, and go on a 10 minute mini family adventure!
North Island, New Zealand
Want to see the awesome sight of glowing worms? Well then the Waitomo Glowworm Caves are the place to go. The actual sighting is one cool adventure in itself, as you get on a boat, get those eyes used to the dark, and as if by magic the stalactites and roof of the cavern lights up like stars on a clear night. These lights come from hundreds and thousands of glow worms that live in the caves. An absolutely awesome sight to see. It can get pretty tight in there, as you have to duck your head to avoid bumping into parts of the cave, so again, if you’re claustrophobic, don’t attempt this one. Also, you could come across a ‘weta’ – a not so popular, very large insect! So beware.
Want to explore the deepest caves on earth? Well then you need to head to The Krubera Caves in the Abkhazia Territory. They go down a massive 2191m below the surface of the earth. Whoa! Think Everest but just the opposite way around. How cool is this adventure. You build base camps when you get there on the side of the mountain, make yourself some food and keep yourselves warm. To fully explore this cave you’ll need to set aside a full 14 days…that’s how massive they really are. This is an adventure for the brave stars out there, as you explore narrow openings and tunnels, and come head to head with bats, cockroaches and spiders too. It sounds like an Indiana Jones type adventure. So brave stars of the world unite and get there fast, for one truly unique adventure!
The biggest ice cave in the world is The Eisriesenwelt Ice Caves, and they’re often referred to as ‘World of Ice Giants’. They are massive as they cover 42km! An ice cave in itself sounds like a pretty cool adventure, but to make it even more stunning they are buried deep in the Austrian Alps. But they haven’t always been too popular. Locals firmly believed that this was the opening to hell and nobody entered. It was left untouched and undiscovered for decades. Eventually a scientist, Anton Posselt, decided to take the plunge and see what fate awaited him. Lucky for him, he came out healthy and happy at having seen one of the most awesome sights in the world. This is quite an experience, as when you take a guided tour, you get dimly lit fire torches to add to the special ambience. This is a must see!
If you want to see The Marble Caves in Chile, be prepared for a long, but worthwhile journey to get there! These caves are certainly remote to say the least! First you’ll have to take a flight from the Chilean capital of Santiago, and fly about 1,200km south to the city of Coyhaique. But it doesn’t end there. Then you need to drive another 300km into the Patagonian wilderness, followed by a boat ride to get up-close to the caves. So there’s just one adventure, and you’ve only just reached the caves! Now onto the real thing! Why are they so awesome? Well they are the biggest source of marble in the world! In the Patagonian Andes, under the bitterly cold waters of Chile’s General Carrera Lake you’ll find over 5,000 million tons of marble. Gazing at the Andes and at the marble will certainly leave you entranced!
Have you been to any caves around the world that you think should make the list? Tell us about it!