One of the biggest tourist attractions in the area is the Luray Caverns. People come from far and wide to see the caverns, as evidenced the tour buses and large parking lots. The weather was predicted to be rainy, so the caverns provided an “inside” activity. The caverns open at 9am and we arrived a few minutes before. There were some people lined up, but not too bad that early. We bought our tickets, at $28/person, it is not a cheap excursion for a family of 4. The tickets included a guided tour of the caverns and admission into Car & Carriage Caravan Museum, Luray Valley Museum, and Toy Town Junction.
Your tour begins with the expected picture in front of a green screen. You are then ushered in groups of about 20 down into the caverns. There you are greeted by your tour guide and sign explaining its significance as a U.S. Natural Landmark and “No Touching” warning. Our guide was a bubbly girl that started us out with some history of the caverns and a few rock puns.
The tour stopped at significant sections like the Fish Market, Fried Eggs, Giant’s Hall and Saracen’s tent. All of the formations are unique and the stories behind their naming make the tour very enjoyable. I was most impressed by the crystal clear bodies of water such as Dream Lake. They create a dramatic mirror effect on the formations above. You would never know it was water except for the occasional drip causing ripples on the water’s surface.
The highlight of the tour was music surprisingly. We were played a song on the Great Stalacpipe Organ which is the world’s largest musical instrument. The organ plays songs using solenoids and little hammers scattered throughout a large chamber. The hammers bang on the formations to create a musical note. If this was not cool enough, we were ushered into another chamber purportedly has amazing acoustics. Our tour guide began testing this theory out by singing How Great Are Thou,quite well. And the acoustics were pretty incredible.
Our tour took about two hours and they say you walk about a mile total. You come back to the surface and are ushered through the gift store and photo studio where you have the option of buying your green screen photo. Outside the main entrance to the caverns is the Car & Carriage Caravan Museum and Toy Town Junction along with another gift store and fudge store. Neither blew us away, but was worth a few minutes to walk through. We never made it to the Luray Valley Museum across the street.