A Day at Scenic Caves by Michelle Brandes
By Natalie & Phil Monday, August 17, 2015
We had a fantastic day at Scenic Caves Nature Adventures in Collingwood. Our 3 daughters, ages 12, 10 & 8, couldn’t have had a better time. We drove from Toronto, through Collingwood & past the ski hills of Blue Mountains, to Scenic Caves. Upon arrival, my girls were immediately drawn to the playground – they probably could have spent the day just playing there. They climbed the spider web and monkey bars, balanced on the surf boards, and even had some fun with Shrek.
I was finally able to drag them away. After a picnic by the pond, we started the climb up to the caves. Luckily I had seen the notice that requires visitors to wear running or hiking shoes for easy navigation through the park. Great idea. We began our journey to the caves by walking through the forest – the trail is a little bumpy but not too difficult to navigate. As we got closer to the top and were able to climb down into the caves, walking was a little bit more treacherous. We walked carefully down the steps, over the rocks and through the rugged terrain. It was spectacular.
We explored quite far down into one of the caves and marveled as the path narrowed to 36 cm across, before turning around to return the way we came. We even got a chance to step down into a “natural refrigerator” – a cave that can stay cool at around 4 degrees Celsius. Very cool – literally!!
After returning from our cave excursion, we decided to try our luck at the gemstone mining. I was skeptical at first but pleasantly surprised at what we found in our little bag of sand. As we sifted through the sand in the water tower we discovered arrowheads, pyrite, hematite, rose quartz, red jasper, black onyx & other gems. My girls had a great time trading their best gems with each other. We all had fun.
After gemstone mining, we rode the tractor to the suspension bridge. This incredible 420 ft. suspension bridge sits 25 metres above the valley. My daughter is afraid of bridges, so was reluctant to cross at first. After she read that the bridge could support people standing right next to each other & then stacked 4 people high all the way across the bridge – she finally agreed to cross. Lucky she did, because the view over Georgian Bay is breathtaking!
We were pretty hot & tired by this point, so I treated us to some amazing popsicles at the entrance to the suspension bridge – I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a popsicle that much since I was 12! It gave us a little bit of extra energy to climb back up to the main grounds.
My girls wanted to spend some more time in the park (I don’t know how kids have so much energy!) I was happy to watch them play while I sat in the shade. When they were finally ready to go, we took one last look at the pond & made our way towards the exit.
It was a really full day. We were a little too tired to try one of the other incredible features of the park – the Thunderbird Twin Zip line. Only my older daughters and I would have been able to go on the attraction since you have to be over 10 years old to ride. The ride looked amazing though – it’s the longest twin zip line in Canada! I have to admit – I’m scared of heights but maybe by next year I’ll gather up enough courage to do it!
Michelle Brandes, Summer Fun Guide newsletter editor