Natural Bridge Caverns Celebrates 50 Years Of Discovery With Major Expansion Capturing Family Heritage And History

Discovery Village with AMAZEn' Ranch Roundup, Discovery Pavilion, Discovery Village Trading Post and Big Daddy's Sweets, Treats and Brew to Open March 7, 2014.

San Antonio, Texas (February 21, 2014) Natural Bridge Caverns will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year by adding attractions that continue to give new generations of families more to explore..

Since its opening July 3, 1964, Natural Bridge Caverns has hosted over 10 million visitors as one of the world's premiere show caves. Generations of families – from Texas and throughout the country – have been awed and educated by this spectacular U.S. National Natural Landmark. .

“Our 50th anniversary expansion celebrates a rich tradition of ranch and family heritage which began in 1884,” said Brad Wuest, president and CEO of National Bridge Caverns. “Our new attractions continue our family legacy of providing fun and educational, family-oriented experiences while protecting and preserving natural resources for future generations.”.

On March 7, 2014, the Wuest family will open Discovery Village as the new center of the attraction. Discovery Village enhances the visitor experience, complete with a waterfall, landscaping and gardens constructed with stone and cedar from the property. A large compass featuring Natural Bridge Cavern’s core values of discovery, adventure, wonder and nature greets visitors and reminds them of the naturally fun adventure that awaits them..

Included in Discovery Village are the Discovery Pavilion, a new gathering point for tours overlooking the historic natural bridge for which the Caverns are named, and Discovery Village Trading Post, reminiscent of a 1880s trading post, and offering one of the state’s best selections of rocks and minerals from all over the world..

Also in Discovery Village is the AMAZEn' Ranch Roundup, one of the state's only year-round, outdoor mazes. A fun challenge for individuals of all ages, the maze covers over 5,000 square feet with a viewing tower and a timed start and finish. The new attraction tells a story commemorating family history and the site's ranch heritage. This story centers on Reggie Wuest and his horse Dandy as they search for a lost spotted calf and help guide visitors through the maze..

Also new is Big Daddy's Sweets, Treats and Brew, an old-fashioned soda shop and general store named after Caverns founder and developer Harry Heidemann, who loved to cook and eat, especially sweets. Big Daddy’s offers hand-dipped ice cream, specialty candy, coffees, beer, wine, décor, art, jewelry, western-themed merchandise, cowboy-style items, and much more..

Discovery Village is the new home of Natural Bridge Mining Company, which has been renovated and updated as the Discovery Village Mining Company. Texas’ largest mining sluice, Discovery Village Mining Company offers visitors the chance to pan for gems, minerals and fossils..

Spring break marks the beginning of a year of anniversary activities that include a tour guide reunion on June 7, the 50th anniversary celebration on July 3, the re-dedication ceremony honoring the Natural Bridge Caverns founders on August 5, and special holiday activities during the Christmas season..

HISTORY OF NATURAL BRIDGE CAVERNS In March of 1960, four college students from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio discovered the Caverns after receiving permission from the family to explore what was thought to be a small cave. Clara Wuest Heidemann took the gamble of her life and risked all the family had to secure a loan to develop the cavern passages into the attraction that it is today. The attraction includes the original Discovery Tour and four other tours offering unique ways to see Natural Bridge Caverns. Other attractions include The Canopy Challenge, one of Texas’ largest climbing towers and zip lines..

Natural Bridge Caverns is a third generation family-owned and operated attraction. Founded by Clara Wuest Heidemann, Harry Heidemann and Reggie Wuest, the caverns themselves lie under the Wuest Ranch, a fifth generation working family ranching operation. Today, the executive team includes Brad Wuest, president and CEO; his brother Travis, vice president and director of marketing and PR; and Joye Wuest, their mother, who is CFO and director of human resources..

The Wuest family has been a pioneer in travel tourism and cave conservation. A living cave, Natural Bridge Caverns has long been recognized as one of the best preserved caves in the country. Founder Clara Wuest Heidemann was the first woman president of the National Caves Association and a founder of the Discover Texas Association (now the Texas Travel Industry Association)..

Natural Bridge Caverns is located at 26495 Natural Bridge Caverns Road in San Antonio. The Caverns open at 9 a.m. daily. Please visit www.naturalbridgecaverns.com for ticket prices and closing times.

Media Contact: Travis Wuest, 210.651.6101

info@naturalbridgecaverns.com