Discovery Days and Lantern Tour
For immediate release: May 26, 2010
Tuesdays in Texas just got a lot more fun! In celebration of their 50th anniversary of discovery, Natural Bridge Caverns, Texas’ largest cavern, is hosting Discovery Days each Tuesday in June, July and August, and serving up a new tour sure to please guests of all ages.
Discovery Days, every Tuesday this summer, welcomes every 50th guest with a free admission to the Discovery Tour. From 1 – 3 p.m., guests are invited to cake and balloons, and pose while a caricature artist draws them into a cave-like scene.
In addition to Discovery Days, the exciting new Lantern Tour calls guests to experience the Discovery Passages with only the light of a lantern to guide their way. The Lantern Tour replicates lighting conditions similar to what the original explorers had, and shares what it was like to be one of the first people to ever explore Texas’ largest and most spectacular underground attraction.
“We’re inviting everyone to come celebrate with us this summer,” says Brad Wuest, president and chief executive officer of Natural Bridge Caverns. “This is a big anniversary for us, and we’re looking forward to appreciating our guests and giving them a great memory of their time here at the caverns.”
A third-generation family-owned and operated attraction, Natural Bridge Caverns was discovered in 1960 by four adventurous college students from St. Mary’s University. Led to the site after hearing of an amazing 60-foot limestone bridge which would become the caverns’ namesake, the students obtained permission from the Wuest family to investigate a giant sinkhole on their ranch. What the students found initially was enough to keep them interested, and on their fourth expedition they uncovered a long, narrow crawlspace that ultimately opened up into two miles of virgin caverns. Today, their discovery is recognized as a National Natural Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior and one of the world’s premier show caverns.
Cavern tours take guests 180 feet below the surface and feature vast rooms and winding passages of geologic treasures, from gigantic, towering stone monuments in Sherwood Forest and the Castle of the White Giants, to delicate and rare formations of soda straws and cave ribbon. The formations are plentiful and beautiful, even breathtaking, and nearly all of them are still growing.
“We’ve taken great care to preserve the cavern environment and develop for our guests unforgettable cavern experiences, each with its own personality,” explains Wuest. “We believe we are giving people an experience they haven’t had anywhere else in Texas.”
The Lantern Tour is offered once daily through August at 9 a.m. Reservations are strongly recommended for this unique opportunity and can be made at www.naturalbridgecaverns.com. Tickets are not available over the phone. In addition to the Lantern Tour, Natural Bridge Caverns also offers two popular and distinct tours, the Discovery Tour and the Hidden Passages Tour. The Discovery Tour lasts approximately 75 minutes and boasts the largest rooms in the caverns, one the size of a football field. The Hidden Passages Tour lasts approximately 70 minutes and features dramatic lighting and a total darkness experience.
For the more daring, Adventure Tours offer an opportunity to don rappelling gear, helmets and headlamps for a guided cave excursion that gives participants a chance to get dirty and appreciate the experience of exploring the unknown. These three- to four-hour Adventure Tours are by reservation only and are not for the faint of heart.
Natural Bridge Mining Companyis an authentic mining sluice where guests can pan for gems, minerals and fossils, just like miners once did in their search for gold. Sparkling quartz, sapphire, ruby, topaz, emerald, amethyst and many other gems and minerals, as well as arrowheads and fossils are among the treasures that can be discovered at this attraction. The more adventurous might want to try the Watchtower Challenge, season and weather permitting, and test their climbing skills on one of the largest outdoor climbing and zip line towers in Texas.
Natural Bridge Caverns is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with extended hours for spring and summer. The year-round temperature in the caverns is 70 degrees with high humidity. Guests should wear lightweight clothing and comfortable walking shoes which provide good traction on steep, wet surfaces. Strollers are not recommended for the Discovery Tour, and not permitted on the Illuminations Tour. The caverns are located 30 miles north of downtown San Antonio and eight miles west of IH-35 at exit 175/Natural Bridge Caverns Road. For additional information, visit www.naturalbridgecaverns.com or phone 210-651-6101.
Media Contact: Shirley Wills
Contact: Travis Wuest
Phone: (210) 651-6101