has another item checked off. In our desperation to escape the heat yesterday, we opted to visit the long neglected (by our family) Luray Caverns. We had heard about it's beauty, majesty and awesomeness, thanks to the billboards and commercials, but never really had the desire to visit (especially after viewing ticket prices). However, we thought it is a natural wonder of sorts and wouldn't it be nice and cool on a hot summer's day?
Yes, it would be, if another 500+ tourists were not in the caverns with you. Quite honestly, one of the best parts was the drive there. Not the bickering and fighting over the radio and A/C, but the views of the mountains, driving through the small towns that appear unchanged for years and the lack of people, cars and crowded, big box shopping centers. We also took note of companies offer canoe tours and tubing on the Shenandoah and reminded ourselves that family camping in the mountains would be the perfect way to spend a fall weekend.
We had a late lunch in Luray and arrived at the caverns in the late afternoon along with several hundred other people. I only had to get in line to go to the ladies room in order to ensure that our tour promptly started. Kelsey, surprisingly, was a bit fearful and held my hand throughout the entire tour (when she wasn't leaning over the railing, taking pictures of water features with my iPhone) and Nick was ready to run through the entire cavern.
Note: There was ONE rule for the tour and that was that no one was to touch the stalagmites, as the touch could alter the formation. May I just interject that it is extremely hard to enforce this rule with a 3 year old when he watches adults, large groups of them, who appear to be understand what is being said, blatantly ignore said rules and not only walk around said features, but touch them and take family photos around them?
I mean, REALLY? With all of the anti-kid movement business lately, it makes me wonder if anyone realizes that adults (with kids or otherwise) have a tendency to at times set absolutely terrible examples for children? If you want kids to follow your lead, then please, ensure it's worthy of being followed! (Yes, paying $68 to spend the entire tour watching adults act rude and disrespectful in front of my children irks me beyond belief.)
All of the above being said, it was worth it to see it once. I was worried it might not be 'enough' for the kids, but they were sufficiently interested and fascinated by the formations. Once we passed those who insisted on taking pictures every 5 minutes, the tour moved quickly enough to be enjoyable but not stifling. The tour guides didn't stop too often, and there was only one bad joke about "The best rock music you've ever heard!" regarding the organ that was specially designed to make music from the stalactites (it was actually very interesting and the kids were fascinated by the design).
I can't say that we will voluntarily visit Luray Caverns again, but it was definitely worth the one trip. The kids were amazed by the formation and fascinated by the fact that it was discovered exactly 94 years to the day before my birth (I'm sure there is significance there somewhere...). It was also an excellent reminder that we need to get out of our area and explore the country more, as it is just so incredibly gorgeous.
Yes, I know the pictures are not the greatest. My iPhone is sadly having flash issues and I only wish I had the SLR that the 10 year old girl in front of me appeared to own. Let's not even get into the lack of civility HER parents displayed...*sigh*.