Exciting underground attractions
Are you tired of touring the same tourist spots as everyone else? Are you looking for something a bit different? If so, we have just what you’re looking for, fellow travelers. .Here then, without further ado, are America’s 25 amazing underground attractions.
1. The Greenbrier Bunker, West Virginia
The Greenbrier Bunker can be found far below the well-known West Virginia wing of the popular Greenbrier resort. Constructed in the late 1960s, this bunker was a “top-secret” project meant to protect the United States Senate in the event of an actual nuclear war. This two-story bunker has 18-ton blast-proof security doors and can host 1100 people. Run by its own power plant, it includes bunk beds and decontamination showers.
2. The City Market Catacombs, Indiana
Deep beneath the busy cafés of Indianapolis’ City Market is a desolate network of quiet catacombs, spanning an area of 2,044 square miles. The brick and limestone pillars and arches here were once actually the basement of old Tomlinson Hall. Tomlinson Hall was a huge city building that was torn down following a fire back in 1958. Organized tours are available but are presently “limited.”
3. Onondaga Cave, Missouri
You will find exciting Onondaga Cave deep within the bowels of Onondaga Cave State Park on the Meramec River in Leasburg. Explore this striking subterranean place full of stunning stalagmites and stolid stalactites. One of the highlights of this particular system of caves is
the memorable Lily Pad Room. It is named after its numerous lily-like calcite deposits, which are gently situated atop a pool of crystal clear water.
4. The Dinosaur Caves, San Luis Obispo County
Along the coast here you’ll discover a world of arches, caves, grottoes, and caves. Take a kayaking excursion to explore the mysterious watery depths. Paddle past the breakers and see the coastal vistas, the kelp forests, and protected coves that lead to the intriguing, mysterious Dinosaur Caves. Some of them are 30-feet (nine meters) deep. There are dolphins, otters, and seals as well.
5. Old Sacramento Underground, California
The city of Sacramento was blasted by 45 days of Pacific storms in 1861. All the rivers surged through the city and swept thousands of people to their drowning deaths. Rather than run, the residents had a plan
They would raise their homes and streets by nine feet. Today you can tour the abandoned alleyways, basements, and underground streets thanks to the Sacramento History Museum. You can even catch a live virtual tour on their website.
6. The Inner Space Caverns, Texas
The exotic Inner Space Caverns were accidentally discovered by the Texas Highway Department in 1963. They were drilling through the rock there to determine if the rock could actually support an overpass. The drill dropped through the roof of what is now named the Discover Cave. It was shortly after that they discovered they were standing above a large subterranean network of caverns complete with still pools, sharp stalagmites, and coral from what was once actually the Pacific Ocean floor.
7. The Indiana Caverns, Indiana
The family-friendly Indiana Caverns near the city of Corydon opened to the public back in 2013. They are officially a part of the Binkley Cave system. Binkley Cave is the state’s longest cave and is one of America’s top ten caves. The Indiana Caverns staff offers visitors several different options including various cave tours and even kayaking on a subterranean river where you can spot cave crayfish.
8. Wetherill Mesa, Colorado
Situated ‘neath the overhanging cliffs in the Mesa Verde National Park is approximately 600 sandstone cliff dwellings. Some of them are over 820 years old. They are the ancient villages of the ancestral Pueblo Indians who once farmed the earth now over them. Visitors can see these unique buildings that make up the popular Wetherill Mesa area of the park via ranger-led or even self-guided tours.
9. The Valley of Fire Cave, Nevada
The rust-red cavern here in Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park in Overton is no more than four feet wide and not much deeper. Still, the otherworld-like rock formations and striking color make it truly worth a visit. See how the powerful wind eroded the sandstone there to form the wondrous Windstone Arch and an assortment of other alien-like shapes as well.
10. Seattle Underground, Washington
Following a devastating fire in 1889, Seattle was rebuilt one story higher. Roads were raised and ground floors became basements to lift it out of the boggy ground. New pavements were created and tunnels were left underneath it all. Today you can explore these old subterranean tunnels via guided tours and see what remains including bank vaults, shop fronts, and even an old toilet.
11. Mammoth Cave, Kentucky
This mammoth labyrinthine cave network in Mammoth Cave National Park has over 405 miles of documented passages. It’s the world’s longest cave system. Here you can take guided hikes through 10 miles of tunnels. See the famous Frozen Niagara which resembles a waterfall sculpted out of rock. These caves are also home to albino shrimps, endangered bats, and cavefish but book in advance.
12. Strataca, Kansas
Take the 640-foot elevator drop into the bowels of the earth and in 90-seconds you’ll find yourself in the underground salt mine museum known as Strataca. Here in this huge mined-out space to see vast salt rocks, learn about mining, and ride a train through areas that were mined during the 1950s. Take a special tram ride even deeper into the earth if you dare!.
13. Luray Caverns, Virginia
Luray Caverns lie deep beneath the outskirts of Shenandoah National Park. Here you’ll see huge chambers with ceilings more than 10 stories high. Visit Dream Lake, a pool with a surface so glassy it actually mirrors the stalactites above it. Be sure to see the famous Great Stalacpipe Organ too, where a musician plays Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata by striking 37 stalactites of varying sizes with rubber mallets.
14. Antelope Canyon, Arizona
Antelope Canyon’s dusty canyon floor and waves of unusual red rock make it look like Mars. The sometimes shadowed sandstone canyon walls rise as high as 100 feet. Their unique wave-like shapes are the product of millions of years of wind-powered erosion. You can only visit this special place on guided tours because it is legally within the confines of the Navajo Nation.
15. The Edison, California
Looking for an electrifying hot spot? How about the basement where the Los Angeles power plant was originally located? Yes, it’s now a bar, complete with utility tunnels and the old turbine steam generators. Comedically christened, The Edison, this place is one of the coolest clubs in the city and is reported to be nigh legendary for its drinks and buzzing burlesque shows.
16. Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico
The country’s most popular underground cave network has roughly 400,000 visitors swarming to it each year. The 119 beautiful caves as a result of sulphuric acid dissolving the region’s limestone, thus leading to formations of all types, colors, and sizes. Explore the stunning undersea world of the cave’s popular Big Room section that’s teeming with natural stalactite and stalagmite creations.
17. Lockport Cave, New York
For almost 15 years workers blasted through the rock to create this impressive 2,000-foot cave beneath the city of Lockport in the state of New York. Opened in the 1850s, this man-made chamber was originally meant to move water from the Erie Canal to various industries located in New York. An underground boat ride is usually available here. Walking tours are available.
18. The Butte Underground City, Montana
Hidden under the city of Butte, you will find a deserted prison, shoe stores, a barbershop, and the once lively Rookwood Speakeasy, The Rookwood was a secret bar that thrived during America’s Prohibition days. These surprisingly well-preserved remnants from the early 1900s when the mining industry was in its heyday and 100,000 residents used underground areas joined by tunnels.
19. Lehman Caves, Nevada
The limestone Lehman Caves were formed by millions of years of erosion from subterranean streams. Ensconced in Great Basin National Park, these caves were once the home of a secret speakeasy during Prohibition. Today you’ll see thousands of needle-like crystals and hollow, delicate stalactites nicknamed “soda straws.” You’ll also see “cave popcorn”, formed out of little lumps of calcite that truly resembles the real thing.
20. The Homestead Crater, Utah
Located in the city of Midway, this popular geothermal spring is deep within the unique dome-shaped limestone rock. The water is a beautiful blue and bath-like with a temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Visitors can go scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming, or simply relax and enjoy. There’s no marine life here but divers love diving 45 feet down without wearing a wetsuit.
21. Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota
The Wind Cave is underneath the grasslands. It’s the longest network of caves in the world. Its name is apropos as mighty winds blow in and out of the mouth of the cavern and some of the rock formations here are over 310 million years old. Be sure to see the popular box-work where the calcite has created interesting intricate honeycomb patterns.
22. Ruby Falls, Tennessee
Ruby Falls is a hidden 45-foot tall, sheer waterfall that plummets through a shaft 1,120 feet inside Lookout Mountain into a cave. The waterfall is lit by colorful LED lights and fed by a comparatively deep subterranean stream. The water drops 145 feet into a cave of limestone. It was discovered by Leo Lambert in 1928. He named it for his spouse, Ruby.
23. Mega Zips, Kentucky
Mega Zips is the planet’s only totally underground zip line course. It is situated in a huge hollowed-put 100-acre limestone quarry now known as the Louisville Mega Cavern. The cavern is so large it stretches out under sections of the Louisville Zoo and the Watterson Expressway. Here you can fly through the air as high as 70 feet on this exciting underground attraction.
24. Emerald Cave, Arizona
You will find the Emerald cave a mere 45-minute drive out of Las Vegas in the as yet unspoiled Black Canyon. Veteran visitors say this cave is the true highlight of the canyon with its striking sparkling green waters. Here you can go kayaking in the calm cove’s water or escape the glaring sun by paddling into the caves that run through the cliff face.
25. The City Hall Subway Station, New York
Finally, you’ll wonder why the other New York subway stations are so drab-looking once you see this place. This abandoned City Hall subway station comes complete with chandeliers, a vaulted tile ceiling, and leaded skylights. Opened in 1904 this station was shut down in 1945 because of its short platforms. Ah, but you can still see this outstanding spot thanks to tours offered by the New York Transit Museum.