Tyendinaga Caves

I’m a huge nerd, so I always enjoy things like caves and fossils and science museums. Kids love this stuff too so “taking the kid” is often an excuse for me to nerd out and indulge my childlike curiosity.

As a result, we’ve been to a LOT of caves and archaeological sites all over the world. Ontario is definitely full of caves too, and during a trip to Prince Edward County I happened to notice there was one nearby.

Entrance to the main cave and cavern

The Tyendinaga Cavern and Caves is a somewhat small cave system located in Belleville (though according to the sign it’s the biggest natural cavern in Ontario…. go figure). Owned by a local family who has made the caves accessible to the public, to explore Tyendinaga you have to join a small group guided tour of the caves; our group was just 10 people.

The guide did a pretty good job educating us about what we would see in the caves, such as cave mushrooms, various fossils, different types of rock, and stalactites and stalagmites. There was also a rock pool, lit up for us to see, and freezing cold!

Some sections of the caves were quite narrow, so the guide only let one or two people descend at a time to see certain areas. The caves were cold! We didn’t see any bats but the guide did tell us that bats often live down here.

At the end of the tour, the guide told us about some sensory deprivation studies done in caves and the effects that complete darkness can have on humans. To let us experience a taste of the study, she turned off all the lights for 15 seconds. It was incredible to be immersed in absolute darkness, so dark you can’t see your hand in front of your face. (Also made me grateful that iPhones have a flashlight function, just in case!)

So what’s the verdict? The caves are a bit small, in my opinion, but interesting to explore. Especially if you’ve got kids (or adult family members) who are big nerds.

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