After years of careful
development and millions of dollars invested in design, engineering,
technology, construction, and guest experience, Natural Bridge Caverns will
open its latest and most ambitious tour: Hidden Wonders. Already the largest and
most visited commercial cave in Texas, this new multi-million-dollar tour
experience features state-of-the-art lighting, a sound and light show, and
expansion into never before toured areas of the property's Hidden Cavern.
Development of the new tour experience and careful development of new areas of
the cavern has been underway since 2017 and will open. It opened to the public on May 12, 2023. As a frequent visitor to Natural Bridge Caverns, I'm really excited to view this new, state-of-the-art expansion.
The large Ballroom in Hidden Cavern
An exceptional experience
Natural Bridge Caverns
is one of the world's premier show caverns. Discovered in 1960 by local cavers,
this family owned and operated natural wonder is the largest cavern in Texas.
In addition to multiple tour experiences through two distinct caverns, the
property features above-ground adventures of a different kind including a ropes
course, zip rails, a 5,000 square foot outdoor maze, and even an interactive
“gem panning” activity.
Ropes course is a fun challenge.
The Hidden Cavern is a second cavern at Natural Bridge Caverns and part of the same geologic system. This distinct and unique environment never had a natural opening to the surface. As a result, incredibly delicate and beautiful formations were able to grow in a completely sealed environment. A Stewardship and technological advances were the main focus when creating this new tour experience.
“Developing this tour has been challenging due to many things, including the depth of the new public tour area. This expansion required the construction of a 710-foot exit tunnel, double the length of anything done before – and to do so with minimal impact on the cavern. We used best in class techniques and developed new ones to make it work. We took the time to do it right. The result speaks for itself.”
state-of-the-art lighting is one of the dramatic changes in the cavern as well
as a 1100 foot long expansion of the public passageways beginning with a
stainless steel bridge across the cavern's deepest point. Now guests will tour
through an area that was only previously accessible by cavers. This addition
will showcase an underground canyon, more formations, and a large 5700 square
foot dome chamber called the Ballroom which serves as an event space. A new
viewing area overlooking a massive passage called the Box Canyon is now a
natural theater for a unique sound and light show finale.
|Unique light show finale in Hidden Cavern|
Exiting the Hidden Wonders tour will also be a one-of-a-kind experience as guests effortlessly ride from underground to the surface on the 700-foot long BAT (Belt Assisted Transport) through the newly constructed exit tunnel. The Bat is the world's first conveyor system ride out of a cavern. All in all, these innovative features will combine to deliver a completely new experience.“We plan to showcase the science behind the beauty of this once hidden cavern on our tour,” said Wuest. “With Hidden Wonders' many enhancements we have an opportunity to both educate and entertain.” Guests will be given new interpretation and insights into the natural processes that led to the creation of the passage and its formations that date back millions of years.
More of the cavern system itself is still being discovered; the Wuest family along with their caving team are still actively exploring new areas in the massive cavern. Natural Bridge Caverns is a designated State Historical Site, National Natural Landmark, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
For more information about the history of the cave visit About Us For general information about the new tour and future expansion efforts visit https://naturalbridgecaverns.com
Information and photos courtesy
Media and Natural Bridge Caverns press release.