Natural Bridge Caverns, near San Antonio, TX, will soon open the new Hidden Wonders Tour starting May 12.
After years of careful development and financial investment, Natural Bridge Caverns will open its latest and most ambitious tour: Hidden Wonders. Already Texas’ largest and most visited commercial cave, this new multi-million-dollar tour experience features state-of-the-art lighting, a sound and light show, and expansion into never before toured areas of the property’s Hidden Cavern. Development of the new tour experience and careful development of new areas of the cavern has been underway since 2017. This new area will open to the public on May 12.
Natural Bridge Caverns resides in Texas hill country. Natural Bridge Caverns is 30 minutes north of downtown San Antonio. Natural Bridge Caverns is one of the world’s premier show caverns. Discovered in 1960 by local cavers, this family owned and operated natural wonder reigns as the largest cavern in Texas.
In addition to multiple tour experiences through two distinct caverns, the property features above-ground adventures of a different kind, including a ropes course, zip rails, a 5,000 square foot outdoor maze, and even an interactive “gem panning” activity. More of the cavern system itself remains to be fully discovered. The Wuest family and their caving team continue exploring new areas in the massive cavern. Natural Bridge Caverns is a designated State Historical Site, National Natural Landmark, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Hidden Cavern provides a second cavern at Natural Bridge Caverns. The Hidden Cavern functions as part of the same geologic system as the original cavern. This distinct environment never had a natural opening to the surface. As a result, incredibly delicate and beautiful formations were able to grow in a completely sealed environment.
“In developing this area of the cavern system, we have both pursued and established best case practices for working in this delicate environment. Our goal is to give visitors a stunning view of the cavern like never before, without impacting its beauty,” said Brad Wuest, president of Natural Bridge Caverns. “Developing this tour has been challenging due to many things – including the depth of the new public tour area. This expansion required the construction of a 710-foot exit tunnel – double the length of anything done before – and to do so with minimal impact on the cavern. We used best in class techniques and developed new ones to make it work. We took the time to do it right. The result speaks for itself.”
Fully programmable state-of-the-art lighting offers an upgrade to this cavern. This change and a 1100-foot-long expansion of the public passageways beginning with a stainless-steel bridge across the cavern’s deepest point, provide a better guest experience. Now guests will tour an area that was previously accessible only by cavers.
This addition will showcase an underground canyon, more formations, and a large 5700-square-foot dome chamber called the Ballroom. This area serves as an event space. A new viewing area overlooking a massive passage called the Box Canyon is now a natural theater for a unique sound and light show finale.
Exiting the Hidden Wonders tour will also be a one-of-a-kind experience as guests effortlessly ride from underground to the surface on the 700-foot-long BAT, Belt Assisted Transport. This takes guests through the newly constructed exit tunnel. The BAT marks the world’s first conveyor system ride out of a cavern. These innovations combine to deliver a completely new experience for guests.
“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.”
For more information on the Hidden Wonders Tour and future expansion efforts planned at Natural Bridge Caverns, visit Natural Bridge Cavern’s website. Also, guests could soon pop over to Six Flags Fiesta Texas to check out the new ESIX Gaming Studio opening soon. Thanks for reading!