I’m blessed to have a kid that loves to travel as much as I do, and we try to get out and go on a regular basis. A couple weekends ago, we visited Inner Space Caverns in Georgetown. It’s only an hour and twenty drive from home in Waco, and just a couple exits down I-35 from Round Rock, where there’s plenty of shopping and dining options.
Texas is awesome because there are all sorts of things to see and do! There’s no shortage of museums, national parks, amusement parks, natural wonders, awesome restaurants, great music, and stuff that caters to grown-ups and families alike.
We made a Sunday afternoon of it, and I definitely recommend the trip. The caverns were so cool! It’s not an adventure that’s well suited for little ones because you can’t take strollers into the caverns, but if your kiddos are able to comfortably walk the mile of the tour, or your baby is small enough for a sling, you shouldn’t have any problems.
Be sure you talk to your kids before y’all go! The caverns are living formations, and it’s a felony to touch the rocks! Serious stuff, because the oils on your hands will effectively kill the cavern growth. It causes the calcite in the water slip right on past instead of allowing it to build up!
The caverns are humid! They stay at 72 degrees year-round, but because of the humidity, it feels like 78. We weren’t uncomfortable on our excursion, but several people in our tour group complained of being hot. I’d recommend short sleeves and comfortable tennis shoes. It’s very damp in the caverns, and I wouldn’t suggest wearing flip-flops or sandals simply because they don’t have a lot of traction.
Flash photography is permitted on the tour, but be aware bats and insects live in the caverns. Your guide will discourage you from startling the animals. They try their best not to disturb the caverns any more than necessary, turning the lights on and off as you pass through.
The caverns are open from 9 AM to 4 PM Monday through Friday, and 10 AM to 5 PM on Saturday and Sunday. They are located at 4200 S. I-35 Frontage Road, Georgetown, Texas, 78626 and you can visit the website at https://innerspacecavern.com. They are also on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. To book tours, or for any questions, you can call 512-931-2283.
About The Caverns
Inner Space Caverns have been developing for over 10,000 years! They were discovered in 1963 when the Texas Highway Department was taking core samples to ensure the strength and stability of the ground beneath what would eventually become I-35. After drilling through 33 feet of rock, the crew broke into what is now known as the Discovery Room.
The caverns are comprised of limestone, and the formations developed from a buildup of calcite transferred by water. It takes 100 years for one cubic inch of calcite to form, and about three days for water from above to reach the caves! Calcite is white, but other minerals in the surrounding rock, such as iron, cause the formations to take on a reddish hue.
Sinkholes would develop as carbonic acid ate rooms into the rock so large the ceilings couldn’t support their own weight. These sinkholes allowed animals to enter the cavern, and researchers have found the bones of 44 different species inside the cave, 11 of which are extinct.
It’s rare for the caves to flood because the water flows through them into the Edward’s Aquifer! But when the aquifer is completely full, and with nowhere for the excess water to go, the caves will fill. It takes a massive amount of rainfall for this to happen, and the last time the caves flooded was in 2007.
Inner Space Caverns offers three different tours, depending on your interest and skill level. There really is something for everyone! Be aware that the caverns have exceptionally low ceilings in many places, so watch your head!
The Adventure Tour
The beginner’s tour is called the Adventure Tour and is suitable for all ages (but as I said earlier, you can’t take food, drink, strollers, large backpacks, or wheelchairs into the caves, so be prepared). It costs $12.95 for kids (4-12 years, 3 and under are free), $20.95 for adults and takes about an hour and fifteen minutes to complete. The Adventure tour doesn’t require a reservation, and tours depart every 20-30 minutes. Your family can kill time in the gift shop or on the playground while you wait.
The Hidden Passages Tour
This is the intermediate tour, for guests 7 and older. Tickets are sold on a first come, first serve basis, with limited availability. No reservation is required. This tour explores newer sections of the cave and closed toed shoes are mandatory. The tour takes about an hour and a half, and you’ll be provided a flashlight to help you explore. It costs $16.95 for kids and $25.95 for adults. It isn’t recommended for guests with claustrophobia or physical limitations due to the undeveloped nature of this trail.
The Wild Cave Tour
This tour is the most advanced tour and requires reservations to be made at least one week in advance. Tours are offered on Saturdays and Sundays and cost $100 per person. Guests are given protective gear as they explore the caves on the nearly four-hour adventure. Children must be 13 or older, and children between the ages of 13 and 17 must be accompanied by an adult. Every guest under 18 must have signed parental consent.
Shopping and Dining
All that exploring will work up an appetite! Just down I-35, there are plenty of places to grab a bite! We went to Steak n’ Shake for an inexpensive meal, but there are also all your standard fast food options (McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Taco Bell) and lots of sit-down places (Rudy’s, Chuy’s, Jack Allen’s Kitchen, Torchy’s Tacos, Deckhand Oyster Bar).
If you’re in the mood for some shopping, there’s the Round Rock Premium Outlets, Ikea, and a number of smaller shops and boutiques selling everything from clothes to home furnishings and Texas-style gifts and knick-knacks.
Stay curious, y’all. Safe travels!