Crystal Cave, Kutztown, PA
Sitting right off of I-78, between Allentown and Reading, lies a natural limestone cavern known as Crystal Cave. Named after the glittering minerals lining its walls, the cave been host to millions of tourists since its discovery in 1871. Today, guided tours are held several times a day nine months out of the year.
Crystal Cave itself is a very interesting visit. If, like me, you've never been in a cave before, it's downright breathtaking. There are many rock formations to admire, and several large "rooms" to see. The tour is aimed to keep kids entertained- there's plenty of "We call this rock 'The Turtle!'" which, for the older crowd, can get a little dull. In between the fluff the guides do give out some more relevant facts about the history of the cave and the formations. The entire tour is approximately 45 minutes long, with an eight minute long video before the tour. Remember to bring a coat, as the cave is about 50 degrees at all times!
Besides the cave, there is also a restaurant and ice cream parlor, miniature golf, "panhandling" and a gift shop. The gift shop is large and full of little trinkets. The panhandling guarantees your kids will go home with a few fossils and gems, and of course ice cream is a must in the summer. If you don't have kids there isn't much of interest, but if you do there's enough to make a good day out.
While it may not be a very exciting day for adults, kids will have a great time. I can't say that I will return to Crystal Cave regularly, but it is certainly something everyone should experience once. Visit Crystal Cave to see geology at its oldest and finest, wrapped up in a nice little package for a day of family tourism. It's nestled in Pennsylvania Dutch Country and close to attractions in the Lehigh Valley like Dorney Park and the Crayola Factory.
Bottom Line: If you're in Berks County and you have a couple hours, Crystal Cave is well worth the visit and tour fees, but will likely appeal most to a younger audience. You can see more at Crystal Cave's website here.