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Shenandoah Caverns, Virginia

Updated on June 9, 2019
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Shenandoah Caverns, Virginia, July 2013The famous "Breakfast Bacon" formation. July 2013.On the road to Shenandoah Caverns.  It is a pleasant drive in the country, July 2013.Shenandoah Caverns, Virginia, July 2013Americana in American Celebration on Parade, July 2013.A parade float in American Celebration on Parade July 2013.Shenandoah Caverns, Virginia, July 2013Walkway from American Celebration on Parade to the Caverns Lodge. July 2013.Shenandoah Caverns, Virginia, July 2013Shenandoah Caverns, Virginia, July 2013.A rock formation dubbed "Pluto's Ghost", Shenandoah Caverns, Virginia, July 2013Shenandoah Caverns, Virginia, July 2013Shenandoah Caverns, Virginia, July 2013Shenandoah Caverns, Virginia, July 2013Float decorations used in a Rose Bowl Parade, July 2013.A department store window display, July 2013.Inside the Yellow BarnInside the Yellow BarnA barn inside the Yellow Barn, July 2013Shenandoah Caverns, Virginia, July 2013
Shenandoah Caverns, Virginia, July 2013
Shenandoah Caverns, Virginia, July 2013 | Source
The famous "Breakfast Bacon" formation. July 2013.
The famous "Breakfast Bacon" formation. July 2013. | Source
On the road to Shenandoah Caverns.  It is a pleasant drive in the country, July 2013.
On the road to Shenandoah Caverns. It is a pleasant drive in the country, July 2013. | Source
Shenandoah Caverns, Virginia, July 2013
Shenandoah Caverns, Virginia, July 2013 | Source
Americana in American Celebration on Parade, July 2013.
Americana in American Celebration on Parade, July 2013. | Source
A parade float in American Celebration on Parade July 2013.
A parade float in American Celebration on Parade July 2013. | Source
Shenandoah Caverns, Virginia, July 2013
Shenandoah Caverns, Virginia, July 2013 | Source
Walkway from American Celebration on Parade to the Caverns Lodge. July 2013.
Walkway from American Celebration on Parade to the Caverns Lodge. July 2013. | Source
Shenandoah Caverns, Virginia, July 2013
Shenandoah Caverns, Virginia, July 2013 | Source
Shenandoah Caverns, Virginia, July 2013.
Shenandoah Caverns, Virginia, July 2013. | Source
A rock formation dubbed "Pluto's Ghost", Shenandoah Caverns, Virginia, July 2013
A rock formation dubbed "Pluto's Ghost", Shenandoah Caverns, Virginia, July 2013 | Source
Shenandoah Caverns, Virginia, July 2013
Shenandoah Caverns, Virginia, July 2013 | Source
Shenandoah Caverns, Virginia, July 2013
Shenandoah Caverns, Virginia, July 2013 | Source
Shenandoah Caverns, Virginia, July 2013
Shenandoah Caverns, Virginia, July 2013 | Source
Float decorations used in a Rose Bowl Parade, July 2013.
Float decorations used in a Rose Bowl Parade, July 2013. | Source
A department store window display, July 2013.
A department store window display, July 2013. | Source
Inside the Yellow Barn
Inside the Yellow Barn | Source
Inside the Yellow Barn
Inside the Yellow Barn | Source
A barn inside the Yellow Barn, July 2013
A barn inside the Yellow Barn, July 2013 | Source
Shenandoah Caverns, Virginia, July 2013
Shenandoah Caverns, Virginia, July 2013 | Source

Basic Information

The Shenandoah Caverns are located in Quicksburg, Virginia. It is about 2 ½ hours driving time from Washington, DC, depending on traffic. It is open every day except Christmas. The Caverns open at 9 AM. Closing time is from 4 PM to 6 PM depending on the season. Other places owned by the Caverns have differing operating hours. Ticket prices are $25 for adults and $13 for children 6-12. The price for people over 62 is $22. There are Military and AAA discounts.[i] There are also online discounts so it pays to look for them.


[i] Shenandoah Caverns, https://shenandoahcaverns.com/planyourvisit.html, last accessed 5/26/19.

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Shenandoah Caverns, VA June 2017Shenandoah Caverns, VA June 2017Shenandoah Caverns, VA June 2017Shenandoah Caverns, VA,  May 2016Shenandoah Caverns, VA,  May 2016Shenandoah Caverns, VA,  May 2016Shenandoah Caverns, VA,  May 2016
Shenandoah Caverns, VA June 2017
Shenandoah Caverns, VA June 2017 | Source
Shenandoah Caverns, VA June 2017
Shenandoah Caverns, VA June 2017 | Source
Shenandoah Caverns, VA June 2017
Shenandoah Caverns, VA June 2017 | Source
Shenandoah Caverns, VA,  May 2016
Shenandoah Caverns, VA, May 2016 | Source
Shenandoah Caverns, VA,  May 2016
Shenandoah Caverns, VA, May 2016 | Source
Shenandoah Caverns, VA,  May 2016
Shenandoah Caverns, VA, May 2016 | Source
Shenandoah Caverns, VA,  May 2016
Shenandoah Caverns, VA, May 2016 | Source

The Cavern Tour

It is the only cavern in Virginia that has an elevator. This means visitors don’t have to worry about a long walk up a flight of steps after an hour-long tour. The caverns are not handicap accessible. The average year-round temperature in the caverns is 56 degrees Fahrenheit (13ᵒC).[i] Touching the formations are illegal.

The tour includes 17 rooms and passageways. National Geographic Magazine featured the cavern’s “Breakfast Bacon” formations.[ii] In caverns formations are often given nicknames. One of the most striking formations is called the Diamond Cascade. It is a long crystalline formation. In caves a small water puddle can give the illusion of a deep body of water. This is caused by the reflection of the stalactites above the puddle. The cavern has such an illusion in an area dubbed Rainbow Lake.


[i] Shenandoah Caverns, https://shenandoahcaverns.com/planyourvisit.html, last accessed 5/26/19.

[ii] Shenandoah Caverns, https://shenandoahcaverns.com/aboutus.html, last accessed 5/26/19.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
An American flag used in a Presidential Inaugural parade, July 2013.A moving diaorama of a Presidential Inaugural parade inside Mainstreet of Yesteryear, July 2013.Vehicle inside the Yellow Barn, Jun 2017.A Santa Clause display inside the Yellow Barn, Jun 2017.Inside the Yellow Barn, June 2017Vehicle and call box inside the Yellow Barn, June 2017.A beehive inside the Yellow Barn, June 2017.The Norden bombsight inside the Yellow Barn, July 2013.Inside the Yellow Barn, July 2013.A department store window display inside Mainstreet of Yesteryear, July 2013.Inside Mainstreet of Yesteryear, June 2017A train set inside America on Parade,  June 2017Inside the Yellow Barn, June 2016.Inside Mainstreet of Yesteryear, June 2016.Bears trom a Rose Bowl Parade float inside Mainstreet of Yesteryear, June 2016.A float at American Celebration on Parade, July 2013.A float at American Celebration on Parade, July 2013.A float at American Celebration on Parade, July 2013.An electric train set around an artificial tree, American Celebration on Parade, July 2013.
An American flag used in a Presidential Inaugural parade, July 2013.
An American flag used in a Presidential Inaugural parade, July 2013. | Source
A moving diaorama of a Presidential Inaugural parade inside Mainstreet of Yesteryear, July 2013.
A moving diaorama of a Presidential Inaugural parade inside Mainstreet of Yesteryear, July 2013. | Source
Vehicle inside the Yellow Barn, Jun 2017.
Vehicle inside the Yellow Barn, Jun 2017. | Source
A Santa Clause display inside the Yellow Barn, Jun 2017.
A Santa Clause display inside the Yellow Barn, Jun 2017. | Source
Inside the Yellow Barn, June 2017
Inside the Yellow Barn, June 2017 | Source
Vehicle and call box inside the Yellow Barn, June 2017.
Vehicle and call box inside the Yellow Barn, June 2017. | Source
A beehive inside the Yellow Barn, June 2017.
A beehive inside the Yellow Barn, June 2017. | Source
The Norden bombsight inside the Yellow Barn, July 2013.
The Norden bombsight inside the Yellow Barn, July 2013. | Source
Inside the Yellow Barn, July 2013.
Inside the Yellow Barn, July 2013. | Source
A department store window display inside Mainstreet of Yesteryear, July 2013.
A department store window display inside Mainstreet of Yesteryear, July 2013. | Source
Inside Mainstreet of Yesteryear, June 2017
Inside Mainstreet of Yesteryear, June 2017 | Source
A train set inside America on Parade,  June 2017
A train set inside America on Parade, June 2017 | Source
Inside the Yellow Barn, June 2016.
Inside the Yellow Barn, June 2016. | Source
Inside Mainstreet of Yesteryear, June 2016.
Inside Mainstreet of Yesteryear, June 2016. | Source
Bears trom a Rose Bowl Parade float inside Mainstreet of Yesteryear, June 2016.
Bears trom a Rose Bowl Parade float inside Mainstreet of Yesteryear, June 2016. | Source
A float at American Celebration on Parade, July 2013.
A float at American Celebration on Parade, July 2013. | Source
A float at American Celebration on Parade, July 2013.
A float at American Celebration on Parade, July 2013. | Source
A float at American Celebration on Parade, July 2013.
A float at American Celebration on Parade, July 2013. | Source
An electric train set around an artificial tree, American Celebration on Parade, July 2013.
An electric train set around an artificial tree, American Celebration on Parade, July 2013. | Source

Above Ground

The caverns’ lobby has a gift shop. The floor above the lobby has Main Street of Yesteryear. This section has department store window displays from the 1940s and 1950s. The animatronics on these displays work so patrons can see these displays as they looked in store windows in the middle of the 20th century.

There is a large building named American Celebration on Parade. Hargrove, Inc. owns the Shenandoah Caverns. Hargrove, Inc. is in the business of decorating parade floats. Some of these floats are on display in this building. There are examples of floats from the Rose Parade, Miss America Pageant Parades, New Orleans Marti Gras Parades, Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parades, and Presidential Inauguration Parades. There is a button near each float that will start the float’s animatronics. Visitors can see these floats and all their intricacies up close and for as long as they like. The building also has an electrical train set.

Across the street from American Celebration on Parade is the Yellow Barn. The Barn sells food, wine, and other items. There is an indoor beehive. The Barn has a collection of antique carriages and farm equipment. Overhead there is an electric train set. There are other examples of Americana on display and there are settings that are good for a couple to pose for pictures. Among these antiques is a Norden bombsight. The United States Army Air Forces used the Norden bombsight during World War ii. It was a sophisticated bombsight for its day. A mythology of its pickle barrel accuracy was built around the sight. While the bombsight didn’t match its mythology, it was a good bombsight in its day and is an important historical artifact.

The History

Rainwater seeping through the soil eroded the limestone over eons. In 1884 the Sothern Railway needed to quarry limestone near its railway line. Abraham Neff was one of the farmers who permitted Southern Railway to quarry limestone on his property. Neff’s sons felt cold air rising from a hole in the ground while they were playing in the quarry. The Neff boys got ropes and candles and went down the 275 foot (85 meter) long hole. They found a room full of stalactites, stalagmites, and flowstones.[i] The family made additional explorations and found the room was part of a large cavern system. Local businessman Hunter Chapman purchased the caverns in 1920. Chapman built an entrance and a pathway in the caverns, and a 3-story lodge building on top of the entrance. The building’s first floor housed the entrance and a gift shop. The top two floors were a hotel. The Shenandoah Caverns opened for tourists, who could reach it by the newly completed railroad line, in 1922. In 1931 the elevator began operation. The railroad ceased service to the area in the mid-1940. Tourism continued despite the railroad closure. H.B. Long purchased the caverns in the mid-1950s. He attempted to remodel the building but the remodeling caused a fire in 1957. The fire destroyed the top floor and severely damaged the second floor.

In 1966 Earl C. Hargrove of Hargrove, Inc. purchased the Shenandoah Caverns. Hargrove, Inc. has decorated floats for every presidential Inaugural since 1949. In 1996 Mr. Hargrove renovated the lodge’s second floor to house Main Street of Yesteryear. It houses props from Rose Bowl Parade floats and antique department store window displays. In 2000 American Celebration on Parade opened. The Yellow Barn opened in 2007.


[i] Two ways to remember the difference between stalactites and stalagmites: Remember “c” for ceiling, and “g” for ground. Stalactites hold tightly to the ceiling and stalagmites might reach the ceiling. When a stalactite meets a stalagmite, they form a column.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Robert Sacchi

Comments

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    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      2 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Robert

      Really enjoyed this, it reminded me of some caves near here.

    • Robert Sacchi profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert Sacchi 

      3 months ago

      Excellent!

    • Asad Dillz profile image

      Asad Dillz Khan 

      3 months ago from United Kingdom

      Yeah. I will!

    • Robert Sacchi profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert Sacchi 

      3 months ago

      I hope you go. That would make for a great article.

    • Asad Dillz profile image

      Asad Dillz Khan 

      3 months ago from United Kingdom

      No Robert! But I planed to visit Fingal's Cave.

    • Robert Sacchi profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert Sacchi 

      3 months ago

      Thank you for reading and commenting. Have you visited caverns in the UK?

    • Asad Dillz profile image

      Asad Dillz Khan 

      3 months ago from United Kingdom

      An amazing place and your words make it much wonderful. A great informative and beautiful article Robert! I would love to visit this place after reading this article! Fabulous Job!

    • Robert Sacchi profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert Sacchi 

      3 months ago

      Thank you for reading and commenting. Yes, Skyline Drive is wonderful any time of the year but with a preference fall is the time to go. The first time I went to Shenandoah Caverns I mentioned to one of the staff how few people were there. He said Lurray gets more publicity. Shenandoah Caverns is a bit further away from DC but I think it is worth the extra time.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      3 months ago from USA

      I’ve never been to these caverns (not that I recall) but I have been to Lurray and used to live in the area at the base of the mountain. I’d travel Skyline Drive frequently on weekends and would enjoy the gorgeous scenery each morning. Fall was fantastic. This is worth a trip back this fall!

    • Robert Sacchi profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert Sacchi 

      3 months ago

      Thank you both for reading and commenting. It is a wonderful place to visit. I didn't know about it until recently. In this area Luray Caverns gets most of the publicity. I was amazed the first time I saw the floats.

      Circa 1980 I visited 3 of the caverns in the San Marcos, Texas area. Caverns are wonders to visit.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      3 months ago from Houston, Texas

      The Shenandoah Caverns look beautiful. Lighting makes all the difference in how people perceive them. My husband visited Carlsbad Caverns decades before I had a chance to see them. Much more lighting was added when I got to visit them, so I had an entirely different experience than the one he had.

      Getting to see those historic floats and other sights at the caverns in Virginia make this a real destination point. Thanks for sharing this information with us. Your photos were excellent.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      This looks like a fascinating place to visit. Your photos are great. The caverns alone would be well worth the trip, but there is so much more to see as well. This is an excellent and well-illustrated account.

    • Robert Sacchi profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert Sacchi 

      3 months ago

      The Shenandoah area is very scenic. There is much to see there. I never went all the way on Skyline Drive myself.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      3 months ago from Sunny Florida

      What a wonderful place to visit! I love just driving through the Shenandoah mountains, and I have not stopped at the caverns. I would love to visist that area again. Nice article Robert.

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