Who would have thought that finding a sinkhole in a field would turn into one of Ohio's top tourist destinations? Celebrating a 125-year anniversary on August 17, that is exactly what Ohio Caverns has become and if you haven't visited "America's Most Colorful Caverns," located at 2210 State Route 245 E. in West Liberty, then you are missing out!
In August of 1897, a farm boy was investigating the disappearance of water into a sinkhole in a field and discovered a grouping of underground passageways. After digging down a few feet, he uncovered an opening to a cave that was formed out of soluble limestone bedrock. This cave, currently estimated to be approximately 400 million years old, likely started forming during the Ice Age. Ground water dripping through the cave's ceiling formed stalactites, stalagmites and a mineral coating all over the cavern's walls, floors and ceiling. Not long after discovery, the Caverns opened for business. In 1925, a more geologically interesting section of the cave was uncovered, and the original opening was closed. Today, the Natural Wonder Cavern Tour is done through this section and showcases a more colorful scenery and higher density of stalactite and stalagmite formations. Guests follow a winding path overlooking the beautiful valley and enter through a sinkhole entrance opened in 2012.
Since this time, Ohio Caverns has attracted visitors from all over the state, country and world. It is home to Ohio's largest known cave systems, with over 2 miles of passageways and depth ranging from 30 to 103 feet. Inside, amongst a wide array of formations and features that come in all different colors - ranging from blue to orange to reddish black, is the Crystal King. The Crystal King is the most famous formation in the Caverns and one of the largest and most perfectly formed stalactites in history - at almost 5 feet long, 400 pounds and over 200,000 years old!