Five Star review, originally posted here on September 5, 2013.
Laurel Caverns was great from start to finish! Their website is very informative and clear, which is always a plus. I called a week or two before our trip with a handful of questions, and the woman on the phone was very nice, professional, patient, and helpful. We ran into the same great friendly service from everyone else we met when we arrived. The people definitely seemed to care, which made the whole experience very enjoyable.
Their liability waivers are hilarious. Definitely take the time to read them- somebody put some thought and effort into them, and we were rolling on the floor at lines like “A sprained ankle can lead to a massive 18 hour recovery operation and significant media coverage of your dramatic rescue.” good stuff!
Our group of 3 pretty adventurous adults (ages 27-36) first tried the Cave Rapelling. Both of our guides were great, but I admit this activity was a little underwhelming for our group, who have all rock climbed in the past. It also seemed a little overpriced, especially compared to the great value of the caving tours. I would still definitely recommend this for younger people (like, I guess middle-school-aged? I dunno. I don’t know how kids age. I just know I would have loved this back when my body-to-cliff size ratio was more dramatic). This would probably be good for a birthday party or a score-cool-aunt-points activity.
The REAL thrill, however, was the Lower Caving. (ASK FOR CINDY! She was fantastic!) This was honestly one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I can’t say how it compares to other caving trips, as this was my first time giving it a go, but it was definitely a serious adventure for us newbies. We were a bit nervous about potentially having to do stream crawls and other crazy scary stuff, but the nice thing is that anywhere were we reached something seriously nutso, there would always be an easier way around, meaning everyone in the group could operate within their own Comfort/Thrill Zone. Be warned, though, that you need to take all the info from the website very seriously. Meaning make sure to wear clothes that can get seriously filthy (it is impossible to not get caked in sand and mud), be prepared for a physical challenge and some tight spaces (sadly, a couple parts might still be rough for the overweight or injury-prone), and BRING TWO GOOD SOURCES OF LIGHT! They don’t let you in without these, and with good reason. A head lamp is a worthy investment here- they sell them in the gift shop for pretty cheap.
Definitely check this place out. You’re in for a fantastic adventure.