Caves.  They are all around us.  This statement is particularly true if you happen to be reading this article inside of a cave.  While Minnesota is known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes, it is also home to several rockier natural wonders.  Caves are the perfect summertime destination for goth teenagers and older folks who want to justify their recent flashlight purchases.  Luckily, our locality offers a variety of wholesome activities involving caves, perfect fun for the entire family on days when you simply can not stand to play another game of Scrabble.Cave exploration doesn’t necessarily have to involve rappelling and nifty yellow hard hats. Take the Wabasha Street Cave Tour offered in St. Paul, for example.  At the bargain basement price of only eight dollars, this 40 minute walking tour explores sandstone caves once used by mobsters for smuggling, nightclubs, and general illegal, mobstery mayhem.  Tours are offered every Saturday and Sunday at 11 AM, do not require a reservation, and are handicap accessible.  At long last, you’ll be able to say to friends, “You know that History Channel show Secret Passages?  No?  Well, I went to some caves that were on there one time!”  Plus, on Thursday nights, eight dollars and the speakeasy password “Gus sent me” will get you access to Wabasha Street Caves for swing dancing!  Doors open at 6 PM, followed by a dance lesson at 6:15 PM and live music from 7 to 10 PM.  Then you can finally cross “swing dancing in a sandstone gangster cave” off of your bucket list.

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Maybe you’re looking to get out of town for a little bit.  Don’t worry, there are caves there, too!  Consider a little road trip out to Mystery Cave, located in Forestville State Park just south of Wykoff.  It’s the perfect destination if you are looking to cool off — the cave stays a constant 48 degrees year-round.  The impressive (and allegedly mysterious) cave boasts stalagmites, stalactites, underground pools, and a variety of tour options.  There is the Flashlight Tour, for example, a slightly rugged experience where flashlights provide the only illumination during an hour of guided exploration.  If that isn’t your style, there is also the Wild Caving and Photography tour to consider.  Prices and times vary by tour: Call (866) 857-2757 for more information.

“But I hate the outdoors!” you cry.  “Aren’t caves just giant hotels for spiders and creepy crawlies?”  Well, I’m honestly not entirely sure why you are reading this, but I do in fact have a suggestion for you: The Salt Cave Minneapolis.  Rather than a natural cavern, The Salt Cave is a salt-lined room designed for the spice’s natural curative properties — you know, like a salt lamp, only bigger.  In addition to salt therapy (known as halotherapy) by the hour, they also offer massages and meditation classes.  They sell gourmet cooking salt as well.  (Few wellness centers can advise that you eat the same material their buildings are made from.)  If you are looking to relax and enjoy nature’s benefits without actual nature getting in your way, The Salt Cave is the perfect choice.

Sadly, there can only be one Batman, but that doesn’t prevent the rest of us from enjoying the splendor and offbeat amenities which caves have to offer.  You too can do something new this summer and explore your own (natural or unnatural) dark depths.


By Liz Walker