NATURAL BRIDGE CAVERNS TO RESUME CAVERN TOURS ON MAY 8, 2020
Surface Attractions to Open at Later Date
(San Antonio) May 5, 2020 – Natural Bridge Caverns will reopen cavern tours May 8. Natural Bridge Caverns closed its doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic March 16. Under Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s plan to reopen Texas, the Caverns will join many businesses, including State Historic Sites and National Natural Landmarks, across the state in welcoming guests back in a safe and strategic manner. “There is no higher priority than the safety of our guests and staff. Since the onset of COVID-19, Natural Bridge Caverns has followed the guidance of federal, state, and local authorities and continues to monitor this ever-evolving situation,” said Brad Wuest, President and CEO of Natural Bridge Caverns. “We are excited to resume daily operations and welcome our guests back, and we are taking every precaution needed to ensure guests and staff remain safe during their visit.”
Some of these new precautions include:
- Cavern tour capacities will be limited to allow guests effective physical distancing between each family group.
- A dedicated cleaning and sanitation crew has been established to clean and disinfect all high touch surfaces throughout the park.
- New hand-washing stations have been added around the park, and importantly, at the entrance and exit of the caverns, so guests can wash their hands immediately before and after their tour.
- Complimentary hand sanitizer will be made available throughout the park and inside the cavern as well.
- Guests will be encouraged to wear face coverings while they visit and to use hand-washing stations and hand sanitizer.
- All team members will be provided job-specific appropriate personal protective equipment (face masks, gloves, safety glasses), will have their temperatures checked before reporting to work, and will always be required to wear proper PPE as their position requires.
- New merchandise and food handling guidelines have been developed.
Other protocols will include capacity limits to the visitor’s center, retail stores and cafes, along with limited seating areas in dining spaces. These measures along with increases to queue line spacing will allow guests to enjoy the park and maintain safe distancing while on property.
With each ticket purchased for the month of May, the Wuest Family Foundation will donate $1 to the San Antonio/New Braunfels Food Bank. “Our family has supported the San Antonio and New Braunfels Food Bank for many years,” said Travis Wuest, co-owner of Natural Bridge Caverns and current Advisory Board Chair of the New Braunfels Food Bank. “The Food Bank is now feeding more than 120,000 people a week, which is almost double the number they were feeding before March. Every $1 provides 7 meals for a person in need.”
Cavern tour tickets are now available online and guests are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance due to limited tour capacities. Cavern ticket prices vary by date, and guests can save more by planning and purchasing days in advance.
Daily Cavern tours will begin May 8 at 9 a.m. and be available at frequent intervals seven days a week. Final tours will vary each day, departing anywhere from 4 to 7 p.m. throughout the summer season. The Twisted Trails Zip Rails & Ropes Course and Climbing, the AMAZEn’ Ranch Roundup maze, as well as the Discovery Mining Co. Gem and Fossil Mining and Adventure Tours will be opened at a later date.
For those whose communities are still under stay-at-home orders, we bring the caverns to you with a series of Discovery@Home educational modules including worksheets, crafts, vocabulary, and experiments that cover geology, especially caves and their formations, the effects of weathering, erosion, and deposition on the natural landscape. Learn about the importance of bats to our world and how to create a topographical map of your neighborhood! To pan for gems and fossils at home, our bags of mining rough are available for purchase on-site, as well as online.
ABOUT NATURAL BRIDGE CAVERNS
On March 27, 1960, four college students, Orion Knox Jr., Preston Knodell Jr., Al Brandt, and Joe Cantu from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio began an underground exploration that ultimately would reveal the most extensive, largest cavern system in Texas. After hearing of an incredible 60-foot natural limestone bridge, which later became the caverns’ namesake, the students asked landowner Clara Wuest if they could investigate what laid beneath their family’s ranch. On the cavers’ fourth expedition, they uncovered a long, narrow crawlspace that ultimately opened into 2 miles of virgin caverns. Today, their discovery is recognized as one of the world’s premier show caverns.
Natural Bridge Caverns located between San Antonio and New Braunfels, Texas, offers year-round activities including multiple cavern tours, a maze, an aerial sky adventure, gemstone mining, restaurants, and shopping. Grounds offer several ideal settings for weddings, groups, and birthday parties. Christmas at the Caverns includes holiday light displays, carolers throughout the caverns, and a hill country hayride. Natural Bridge Caverns is owned and operated by the Wuest family and is a designated State Historical Site, National Natural Landmark, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.