The Historic Crystal Cave near Kutztown reopens for cavern tours after a three-month closure due to the coronavirus COVID-19.
“The management at Crystal Cave is very excited to resume our 149th season so people can enjoy the natural wonder and its 55 degree temperature,” Kathy Campbell, president of Crystal Cave, said in a June 23 statement.
The guided cavern tours will resume, starting June 26.
“To ensure the health and welfare of our guests Crystal Cave has implemented new safety guidelines based on the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and the Pennsylvania Department of Health,” said Campbell.
Face coverings and temperature checks for all employees and customers will be required. Social distancing inside the gift shop, theater and cave with reduced tour sizes will be adhered to, she said.
“Enhanced cleaning and sanitizing efforts are also in place so our customers can enjoy their experience at Crystal Cave,” Campbell said.
The one-hour tour includes a movie about Crystal Cave’s history as the state’s first show cave and the cave’s geology; followed by a guided tour 125 feet underground to view cavern formations. Concrete walkways and steel railings ensure safety. Inside the cave, the temperature is a constant 54 degrees. A light sweater or jacket and walking shoes are recommended, according to the Crystal Cave website, https://crystalcavepa.com/.
The Crystal Cave guided tour admission charge is $17 for ages 12 and older, $13 for ages 4 to 11 and free and children ages 3 and younger. Also pan for gemstones for additional charge.
Discovered in November 1871, the cave’s Grand Illumination was held on May 25, 1872, which was the formal opening of the cavern to the public.
According to the history posted on Crystal Cave’s website, “On Sunday, November 12, 1871, William Merkel and his assistant, John Gehret, were blasting for limestone on a farm owned by Merkel’s parents. At the time, crushed limestone was a valuable resource widely used by farmers to increase the fertility of soil. To their astonishment, they noticed a dark, narrow hole in the side of the steep hill, 80 feet from Gideon Merkel’s farmhouse. They pulled away the surrounding dirt to reveal an opening large enough to penetrate. Once inside, darkness precluded further exploration. The news of the potential cave discovery created much excitement in the small rural Kutztown community.”
The three-generation business Crystal Cave Company Inc. has been owned by the DeLong and Kaufman families since 1923. Now on 125 acres and called Crystal Cave Park, it continues to be family-run.
The Historic Crystal Cave is located at 963 Crystal Cave Road, Kutztown. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For more information, call 610-683-6765.