Off we go again. This time it's a day trip to Luray Caverns in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. (http://luraycaverns.com/Home/tabid/437/Default.aspx). This one is all Prince William's idea and I'm not going to lie, this one scared me. We packed up the car with snacks, strollers and a couple of movies to watch on the way and headed out about 10:00 am. The trip was roughly 2 hours one way but all in all a pleasant drive. Parking was easy and close (and free). Our first stop was the Garden Maze. The Maze took about an hour and was tons of fun. You had to search for clues so we let each child take a turn at leading the family around. They loved being the leader. A very fun experience. We then hit the ice cream shop. This was just a little store that sold ice cream sandwiches, popcicles, etc. but nonetheless delicious. They also have a great little area to sit outside and relax and eat your ice cream. Again, just wonderful. Once the Garden Maze and ice cream were done, we hit the Caverns. This is the part that scared me. I guess I wasn't sure the kids would be entertained enough or I would loose my mind watching four small children near cliffs and underground. I had been here once before back in elementary school (not going to share how long ago that was but it has been awhile - leave it at that). I had completely forgotten how amazing this place was. Every turn was more spectacular and the kids were just eager to learn all they could from the tour guides. The tour took about 1 hour and I thought it was fantastic in every way. After the tour, we walked back to the gift shop and picked up a few souvnirs and then toured the Car and Carriage Caravan Museum. Prince William loved this part (you know men and cars).
PROS: Weather is the key yet again. The day we went, the weather was absolutely perfect (totally not planned just lucked out again). So definitely check the weather. Make sure to make time to stop and smell the roses and enjoy the beauty of this area. We only did a small portion of what they had to offer so next time (and there will definitely be a next time), we plan on exploring more of the sites.
CONS: I thought the pricing was high. Lines were long to enter the Caverns but it moved sort of quickly. Gift shop was a little pricey too.
OVERALL: I got to give it to Prince William. Another great idea. Pick a day with great weather because the sites are gorgeous and you can't do the Garden Maze in the rain and we definitely loved the Garden Maze. Maybe a weekday would be less crowded (we went on a Saturday).
TOTAL COST: The total cost for a family of 6 was roughly $145.00. For the Garden Maze, adults were $7.00 a person and the kids (6-12) were $6.00 each (got two in free-this equals a happy Prince William). Ice cream shop was just basic items-nothing fancy. Spent about $20.00 there. The actual Caverns (which I will say were stunning) were $23.00 for adults and children (6-12) were $11.00. We did buy a few souvenirs at the gift shop for the children and we also toured the Car and Carriage Caravan Museum (which was free if you showed your Caverns ticket stub - which we did).
If you go, tell us what you think