Thursday, March 22, 2012

Day Trip: Caverns of Sonora

Our grandson was visiting during his Spring Break last week, so we decided to take him to the Caverns of Sonora just to the southwest of Sonora, Texas. We had taken his mother there when she was about his age, so we were excited to share this experience with him.

Entrance to Caverns of Sonora
It was an overcast day on Wednesday, March 14. In fact, it drizzled a tiny bit a time or two. Sonora is about an hour south of San Angelo. To reach there, we passed through Christoval on the South Concho River, then Eldorado. While passing through Christoval, we noticed a new winery just off the highway, Christoval Vineyards and Winery. Looks like an opportunity for another day trip.

We arrived at the caverns about 11:30. We stepped up to the ticket counter and received 2 surprises. First, the next available tour would not be until 1:00, and ticket prices were $20 for adults and $16 for children. Ticket prices are not listed anywhere on the website that I could see, so I was really surprised at this amount. But we had come all this way, so it wasn't the proper time to be a cheapskate.

Tours leave every 30 minutes in groups of about 12 or fewer. Since this was Spring Break, they had quite a few customers waiting to tour the caverns. We should have arrived earlier, I guess. And if you go, you probably want to eat first as there is little more than basic snack items at the Caverns. Prices for everything are rather high. The caverns are probably about 10 - 15 miles out of Sonora, so they do have a corner on the market.

The caverns of Sonora are highly regarded by those who know more about caves than I do. There are beautiful formations throughout the cave system, and the pictures I've posted below do not do justice to the beauty of the caverns. The famous "butterfly" formation, which served as the cave's trademark for years and years, was vandalized in November, 2006. It was a beautiful formation, almost perfect in its shape resembling a butterfly. There are numerous other formations of interest in the caverns, from the "passing quarterback" to "applesauce" that are all of interest.

Our tour guide, Betsy, did a wonderful job leading us through the cave and giving us insight into the cave's history and various features. Each tour lasts about 1 hour 45 minutes. Please take seriously the information on the cave's website regarding clothing and temperature. By the end of the tour, most of the folks with us were a bit warm; it is very humid in the caverns. 

If you do journey to the caverns, probably the best place to eat in the area is the Sutton County Steakhouse located on I-10 in nearby Sonora.

Cave Popcorn
Horseshoe Lake
Various Formations
Apple Sauce
Cave Bacon
The Butterfly or, what's left of it. The top of the right wing was broken off by vandals.
Donna and our grandson Xander in the Belly of the Whale

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