Olentangy Indian Caverns aren’t beautiful but a unique feature makes them a great place for kids. These are the only caverns that I know of that offer a self-guided tour at certain times of the year. I think the ability to tour these caverns as a family, instead of being in a large group makes it a great adventure for kids as well as parents.
The caverns got their name from the Olentangy river nearby and evidence that the Wyandotte Indians used them as shelter and a refuge from their enemies. J.M Adams is believed to be the first white man to discover them in 1821. He found them while looking for a lost ox. Unfortunately, the ox found them by falling to its death inside the entrance.
Today, you can safely enter the caverns by descending a 55 step stairway, accessed from a museum. The museum itself is small but interesting, with more information on the Wyandotte Indians.
The cavern passages are narrow in some areas but most people can squeeze through. They are damp, with dripping water in many areas, so you may want to wear a hat and be cautious with expensive cameras.
If you’re on a self-guided tour, they will give you a map when you buy your ticket. There are stations set around the caverns that have more written information as well as audio. However, many of them are damaged from the moisture and are hard to read or the audio doesn’t work. It’s still a nice little adventure walking around on your own.
After the tour, there are still plenty of things to do, like this gem-mining setup. You will also find a miniature golf course, playground, horseshoes and hiking trails.
If you want to make a day of it, they have picnic facilities complete with grills and a volleyball net.
While not the most spectacular caverns I’ve been to, all-in-all Olentangy Indian Caverns is a great place to spend the day with the kids if you live near-by. It’s also an interesting place to stop and visit if you’re passing through.
Location: 1779 Home Rd, Delaware, OH 43015
Hours: They’re open from 9:30am to 5pm every day for most of their open season. The self-guided tours are available from April 1 to October 31st.