Every vacation to a new destination requires a few touristy trips, such as downtown walkabouts and theme parks. While these activities are always fun, and worth a visit (or 10), if you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, you have to dig a little deeper to find it. Not even 10 minutes away from Hershey, Pennsylvania and The Suites at Hershey, is the town of Hummelstown, home of the Indian Echo Caverns.
Originally used as a place of refuge by the Susquehannock Indians in the early- to mid-1600s, these caves were then visited by French fur trappers in the later 1600s and early 1700s, a hermit who lived there for 19 years, followed by the general American public and vacationers who wanted to see something spectacular. Upon entering Indian Echo Caverns, guests are greeted by the cave’s cartoon mascot, “Chief Kumsee,” a wooden cutout directing visitors where to go to get your tickets. The gift shop sells tickets to the cavern tours and activities are set up to entertain you and the kids while you wait for your tour tour to begin. There is a station where you can pan for gemstones, as well as a small petting zoo to keep you busy while you wait for the tour to begin. Bring your camera to make sure you remember this leg of your vacation.
Take a Tour
The grand entrance to Indian Echo Caverns reflects the immensity of the caverns below ground. The caves are about 440 million years old, and full of twists, turns, drops and puddles—not to mention the stalactites and stalagmites that will catch you if you’re not careful. For 45 minutes, a tour guide steers you around the caverns and tells you about each room, passageway and formation. Your guide will take you to the main chamber, the large area known as the Indian Ballroom, and lead you through one of the many side tunnels to let you experience total darkness. Inside the cave you will also see what is known as the Wedding Chapel, a narrow cavern with a large, glistening formation that resembles a wedding cake. Some 40 weddings have been performed in front of this formation.
Once the tour is finished, you will have seen something that was created before the dinosaurs were even stomping around on this world. It is an attraction worth visiting during a vacation to Hershey—and many who have seen it would be happy to return. The tour is entertaining for both adults and children, and the tour guides are friendly and knowledgeable. The only thing to be aware of are the low overheads and dampness. You will have to duck a few times and watch for puddles, especially if there is rain. And, at only 10 minutes away from The Suites at Hershey, visiting the caves is a great opportunity to see a little more than the chocolaty side of town.