Concealed beneath the rolling farmland and wooded countryside of Champaign County, Ohio, the caverns were formed thousands of years ago when an underground river cut through ancient limestone and created vast rooms and passageways that later filled with countless crystal stalactites, stalagmites and other amazing formations.
Today, these once-hidden caves are one of Ohio's top tourist attractions. The caverns remain a steady 54 degrees year-round, regardless of the surface temperature. The humidity is always above 90 percent, and the air inside the caverns is cleaner than the air above ground — filtered by the water that formed the caves and still drips today.
The caverns are the largest in the state, with over 2 miles of surveyed passageways ranging in depth from 30 feet to the deepest point of 103 feet. Special tours take you into the "historic" part of the cave — the portion first discovered and opened decades ago.
Ninety-five percent of the cavern's formations are still active and growing. The largest and most famous formation in the Ohio Caverns is the Crystal King, a pure white wonder that is one of the largest and most perfectly formed stalactites in any cave, anywhere. Nearly five feet long, and weighing an estimated 400 pounds; it drips once every seven to eight minutes.
In addition to being known for their wide variety of colors, from blue to orange to bright white and deep, reddish-black, the Ohio Caverns contain a brilliant array of formations and features — fascinating rock formations, ranging from wavy ribbons of luminous white stone to upside-down forests of tiny straws that twist, turn and curl upon themselves.
There are remarkable "dual formations," combinations of iron-oxide and calcium crystals that are quite rare, unseen in most caves but fairly plentiful in the Ohio Caverns. There is "Fantasyland," a large, open chamber that brims with stalactites and stalagmites.
There is the "Palace of the Gods" and the "Big Room," which comprise a half-acre, open chamber packed with a breathtaking array of crystal formations that defy the imagination in complexity and delicacy of design.