Penn’s Cave and Wildlife Park in Centre Hall has been giving cave tours since 1885.
“We want to expose them to this natural treasure that we feel, we’re just in the middle of this beautiful region of central Pennsylvania,” Terri Schleiden, Marketing Director at Penn’s Cave & Wildlife Park, said. “So, we give visitors young and old alike an opportunity to see something that was naturally created.”
The 1,600-acre wildlife park gets lots of families, school classes and international groups throughout most of the year, to learn about the natural phenomenon that’s been growing for centuries.
“Stalactites are on the ceiling and they point downward towards the floor and stalagmites are on the floor and they point upward toward the ceiling,” Angelo Nicosia, Cavern Supervisor and Trainer at Penn’s Cave and Wildlife Park, said.
But there’s more than the cave. The gemstone panning and wild land tours, give a glimpse into the history of Centre county and some of the animals that have called this area home for centuries.
They say they’re the only boat cave tour in the state and one of two in the entire country.
To help the environment Penn’s Caves has changed how do they do things throughout the amusement park, including switching to all L-E-D lights inside the cave.
“To conserve energy and also we feel that with the L-E-D lighting it helps to illuminate some of those beautiful formations much better,” Schleiden, said.
They’ve also gone from gas powered motors to electric for most of their boats. They’re also teaching people about keeping our natural water clean.
“On the lake we are practicing, stream bank fencing, which allows us to reduce erosion into our waterways which can pollute them and cause issues with fish and other creatures inside the natural waterways and those trees help keep that soil in place,” Nicosia, said.
Schleiden says business is much better than last year, because of weather.
The cave is fed by underground streams, meaning the water level was much higher at certain points in 2018, than it normally is.
“There were some days in the peak of our Summer season that we were not able to operate the cave tours, that very seldom happens in July and August, but in 2018 it did occur,” Schleiden, said.
The wildlife park has grown food right at their farm for years. Those crops that are used to feed their bison, black bears, huskies and mountain lions, took a hit from the weather.
“With some of the crops that we raise here, it was either too wet in the spring to get them planted at the appropriate time and then for the growing season there was too much rain, so it impacted the growth, and then the harvest was much much later than it should have been,” Schleiden, said.
Their corn, oats and hay is growing without any problems this year.