We have been working on some exciting enhancements for Stark Caverns that are certain to make your next visit even better. The most obvious changes are the addition of two new buildings – our Visitor Center and Maintenance Building, but there are other changes in the works that you’ll want to see and experience yourself. We can hardly wait to show you.
We have an amazing new Visitor Center underway. It’s going to be a beautiful building with a look and feel of the past – dark red siding with a green roof and dormers, a wide covered porch on two sides with rocking chairs to sit in, and maybe even a few checkerboards to keep you occupied while you relax on the porch. The first floor will house a spacious ticket sales and gift shop while the second floor will be dedicated to the Cave Museum and Education Center. We expect the Gift Shop to provide the Stark Caverns memorabilia that you are most interested in (let us know if there’s something we’re missing) as well as a wide range of educationally- oriented nature and science merchandise for all ages.
We believe the Education Center will be an incredible resource for our visitors, either paired with a tour of the caverns or as a stand-alone facility. Our primary use will be for education – both youth and adult, focusing on nature and science, but it’s easy to imagine other potential uses of this great space:
- Presentations by speakers
We expect its best uses to be revealed over time as we hear from you and others about how this space can best help our community and support the caverns.
We’ll have chairs and tables available for your use and will add resources as we better understand our visitors’ needs. It will be a versatile and attractive space with a wall of windows looking out onto a hill of woods and wildflowers.
Our intent is to have the grounds seem like a natural oasis for both you and our local wildlife. We are taking a conservation approach, avoiding the use of any toxic chemicals so as to best protect the full range of wildlife on the ground and in the water. Some of the new features include:
- Native wildflower beds
- Butterfly garden
- Camp-fire circle
- Hand-made picnic tables
- Sitting benches
Since the best time to plant wildflower seeds is winter, we’ve planted winter cover crops in our planned wildflower areas so we can restrict soil erosion and enrich the dirt with nutrients provided by the cover crops. These changes will take time before their full beauty is realized, but it’s now easy to imagine what the grounds will become within the next few years.
Caverns Event Space - Now Complete
We have also brought back to life one of the most fun historical uses of the caverns – the dancefloor. We have added a large paved area where the old dancefloor was that will allow us to host events inside the caverns. This could be for choral performances, readings, speaker presentations, yoga classes, massages, and more. As with our Education Center, we are anxious to hear how people want to use this space. We have seating for more than 100 in this exciting new space and have already hosted Carol's in the Cavern and Yoga classes there. It's an amazing location.