While we were unable to do our annual trip to the BWCA in the summer of 2019. We did get a chance to take Sandy’s Birthday trip to Wisconsin. Crystal Caves is a great day trip or pit stop on your way to other places.
This little gem is tucked into a rural area in Wisconsin. It’s not a very big attraction, especially in September so it really is appealing with my dislike of crowds. Being 8 months pregnant at the time of this trip, I was a little concerned but we went for it and it was a success.
Things to do
- Hike the nature trail
- Guided tour of the cave
- Pan for Gems & Stones
- Mini Golf
Hiking the Nature Trail
We were unaware of the nature trail prior to our visit, so this was a surprise little treat. The trail is rather short but offers a variety of interesting things. There are signs at different locations on the trail.
One of the coolest things was the sinkhole. What?! Yes, a sinkhole, don’t see that every day. It isn’t like you’d expect, no Indiana Jones action. But it is very clearly spotted just off of the trail. No, a rock isn’t going to get sucked right down if you throw one in, but still very cool.
Some of the other neat scenes on the trail include different berries, like gooseberries, and an interesting array of ferns, bushes, trees, and mosses. A sweet little escape away from the main attractions.
Guided Tour of the Cave
Of course the main attraction being the Crystal Cave itself, we took the tour down underground. In case you were wondering, you can take this tour while pregnant, I actually called ahead while planning just in case. If you’re planning a trip while pregnant, it doesn’t hurt to check ahead on something like this. There are not many places to sit on the tour, so be prepared for quite a bit of standing and walking around. There were a few places that Scott held my hand just in case of a slip, but no such things happened. There are no strollers allowed on the tour, so be prepared to carry any little ones.
Our tour guide was great! She was very knowledgeable and was able to answer our questions. Sandy had a lot of them! For those who are afraid of bats, we did see one. But it was asleep and didn’t make a peep while we visited her cave.
A couple of things that really peaked Sandy’s interest were experiencing “total darkness” in one part of the cave and the gems that glowed in the dark near the end of the tour. We did get a chance to see fossils in the cave walls, disolving agents, different rock formations, stalagmites and stalactites and learned the difference between the two. It really is a fascinating tour for the science nerd and the outdoorsman.
**Travel Tip** Wear a sweatshirt or jacket no matter what time of year you plan your trip. The cave is always a steady 50 degrees all year round. Also, wear comfortable, close toed shoes that grip well.
Pan for Gems and Stones
At the end of your tour, you’re escourted back up to the shop above. After being saturated with neat cave history and facts, it really gets you amped up to search for some cool stuff. And of course they have just the thing to satisfy that itch.
We purchased a bag of sand that contained a multitude of gems to be found. Sandy was so excited to go do some hands on exploring at their panning station outside. The bag she received contained a guide as well, so she was able to identify the rocks she didn’t already know. The panning station is under an overhang so even though we visited on a nice day, the Crystal Cave is a great location to visit rain or shine.
Inside the gift shop, there is an abundance of items to choose from for souvenirs. Sandy chose a Geode of course. She was on a rock kick at the time, so this trip was really fascinating to her. They have a device inside that the kids are able to crank to crack open their geode themselves by turning the lever. She only needed a little help from dad. Her first geode turned out to be a dud, It was very dirty inside and didn’t show much in the way of sparkles. They offered her a second one that turned out to be beautiful inside, and still let her keep the dud. We took a toothbrush to the dirty one when we got home and it ended up being quite beautiful too. Two for one!
The mini golf course is a little route filled with dinosaur galore. It’s really quite cute and fun for everyone. There were some real little ones climbing on the statues and older kids trying their hand at putting.
We gave it our best, though we weren’t very good. It was really fun and a great way to end our trip.
Overall, this is a great little spot for a day trip or a pit stop. Your can make it as long or short as you want to. For a near end of pregnancy trip, I’d say it’s doable.