As with many so-called "show caves," Indiana Caverns has the requisite geological formations and a river for subterranean boat rides. But the pre-historic bones — believed to be among the largest cache discovered in one cave — are the "frosting on the cake," says marketing manager Carol Groves.
Located in southern Indiana about 25 miles west of Louisville, the new attraction is part of the 36-mile-long cave Binkley cave system (the nation's 11th longest). Portions have been explored for more than half a century, but the section opening Saturday was only discovered three years ago by a group of caving enthusiasts.
Early exploration required crawling four miles in and four miles out. (A more convenient entrance is now in place for paying visitors.) And when members of the Indiana Speleological Society first encountered the bones, they assumed they were the remains of cows, pigs and other livestock that had been disposed of in a sinkhole.
Scientific examination later revealed them to be the bones of a dozen or so peccaries (related to pigs), a couple of bear skulls and an Ice Age bison, among other animals that entered through an entrance that closed 10,000 or so years ago, Groves says.
This is the third cave attraction developed by Groves' brother, Gary Roberson. It occupies the uppermost level of a complex cave system and includes steel walkways through a 180-foot room that descends to the underground river.
The 1 hour, 20 minute tours are $18 adults; $9 ages 4-12.
Source: USA Today