HIDDEN WONDERS BELOW
Largest cavern in Texas excavates new tour for explorers near Austin
Texan spelunkers now have a new cave to explore at the state’s largest cavern, located not too far from Austin. Natural Bridge Caverns’ newest tour, Hidden Wonders, will open to the public on May 12. This new tour comes less than a year after the last expansion, so visitors who have not been recently have much to explore for the first time.
Development of this second cavern has been in the works since 2017. It was previously sealed under the Earth’s surface, perfectly encapsulating the natural environment and its beautiful, unique formations. The new tour will allow visitors to access an area that was previously accessible only by cavers.
“In developing this area of the cavern system, we have both pursued and established best-case practices for working in this delicate environment,” said Natural Bridge Caverns president Brad Wuest in a statement. “Our goal is to give visitors a stunning view of the cavern like never before, without impacting its beauty.”
The multi-million dollar expansion into never-before-seen areas of the cave will feature state-of-the-art lighting and a unique sound and light show. Public passageways expanded by 1,100 feet with a new stainless steel bridge that crosses the cavern’s deepest area.
Additionally, a new 5,700-square-foot dome chamber, entitled the Ballroom, has been constructed to serve as an event space. For the light show, a viewing area called the Box Canyon will serve as the show's natural theater.
Wuest explained that certain aspects of developing the cavern had been a challenge, such as the depth of the new touring area. Fortunately, they were able to construct a new exit tunnel "with minimal impact on the cavern."
"We used best-in-class techniques and developed new ones to make it work," he said. "We took the time to do it right. The result speaks for itself.”
To exit the Hidden Wonders tour, visitors will take a glorious ride on a pioneering conveyor system ride, the Belt Assisted Transport, to the surface through the newly constructed tunnel.
“We plan to showcase the science behind the beauty of this once hidden cavern on our tour,” said Wuest. “With Hidden Wonders’ many enhancements, we have an opportunity to both educate and entertain.”
More information about the new tour can be found on naturalbridgecaverns.com. The visitor's center at the caverns is located at 26495 Natural Bridge Caverns Rd, San Antonio.