For Thrills Worthy of Your “Bucket List,” Penn’s Cave Delivers

There are (at least) 28 places you gotta go in Pennsylvania before your time on this earth is up. One of them isPenn’s Cave and Wildlife Park, which made the Pennsylvania Bucket List compiled by Penn Getting “lost” inside this natural wonder is a thrilling and historic experience.

Discovered by the Seneca Indians in Penns Valley, this centuries-old natural landmark takes you underground for a tour of glittering stalactites and stalagmites in some familiar shapes (the Statue of Liberty, for one). Penn’s Cave is the only cavern east of the Mississippi River that you can tour in a flat-bottom motorboat. The 45-50 minute tour takes you into room after room of magnificent views, each one lighting up as you enter. 

If you’re looking for a place to cool off, Penn’s Cave is it. The temperature is 52 degrees, so you may want to bring a sweater or jacket, as well as comfortable shoes for walking. Still and video photography is permitted. 

Visitor packages include a 90-minute farm, nature and wildlife tour by bus through the park’s 1,600 acres of pastures, mountain trails and forests. You’ll see Penn’s Cave’s resident bears, wolves, elk, deer, bobcats, bison, mustangs, and mountain lions, among other animals. 

Your tour options also include a 4,800-square foot labyrinth; a fully guided, 2-1/2 hour tour by jeep “from the cave rock to the mountain top,” where you can view mountain vistas; and gemstone panning. 

Penn’s Cave opened to visitors in 1885, welcoming them to the newly built Penn’s Cave Hotel. Both Penn’s Cave and the Penn’s Cave Hotel were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. 

If you recall the story of the Indian maiden, Nita-nee, for whom Mt. Nittany was named, you may know that she had a forbidden love, a French trapper named Malachi Boyer. They ran away together but were captured, and Boyer was thrown into Penn’s Cave to die.

While not as dramatic as that, couples do pledge their eternal love to each other in Penn’s Cave; as recently as last weekend, Ethan Liddick popped the question to Amanda Conquest inside the cave and she said yes! 

Tour it by boat, by bus or by jeep. Open from 9 am to 7 pm daily, Penn’s Cave is located 18 miles east of State College. Group tours are available.

Also, don’t miss a chance to visit Penn’s Cave during the annual Nittany Antique Machinery Show held September 10-13! You can purchase antiques from over 700 vendors, browse through over 800 tractors and 800 campers on display, and enjoy some fare from some of the best food vendors out there.

Learn more about the Penn’s Cave experience.

Follow Penn’s Cave on Facebook, where you’re invited to post your own photos from your visit.

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