Penn’s Cave & Wildlife Park – Centre Hall, PA

Penn’s Cave & Wildlife Park is an all-water cavern and wildlife park located in the center of Pennsylvania, close to State College. The cavern is unique because of the water in it, making the tour of the cavern entirely by boat.

Darkness of the Cave

In addition to the cave tour, Penn’s Cave also features a wildlife tour, gemstone panning, and a miner’s maze.

Gem Mining
Gem Mining

When planning a visit, it’s recommended that timed tickets are purchased in advance. Walk-ins are welcome, but tickets are sold on a first-come/first-served basis. Days and times frequently sell out, as only so many people fit in each cavern boat or wildlife tour bus.

When arriving at Penn’s Cave, there’s a large paved parking lot near the historic Penn’s Cave House, which was once a hotel.

Penn's Cave Hotel
Penn’s Cave Hotel

There’s a short walk to the gift shop. Once in the gift shop, you’ll receive your reserved tickets and can proceed to the side door when your tour time is called. They call the groups approximately five minutes before your tour time, as you’ll need to walk a paved path that descends into the cave.

Penn’s Cave Entrance

Penn’s Cave Boat Tour

At the end of the path, there’s a large set of stairs that take you into the cave, which starts as a boat dock. Each boat will load people on both sides of the boat which have wooden benches. Note that the boat does not have much of a back rest. Keep in mind the tour is over water in a cave, and it gets quite dark in spots.

Cave Boat
Cave Boat

The tour takes about an hour. The tour guide will highlight the history of the cave, the animals that live in the cave and the general area. The boat takes a path straight through the cave and out onto a lake if weather permits.

Penns Cave Lake
Lake Nitanee

The tour will circle Lake Nitanee and return to the dock through the cave. When traveling back through the cave a second time, it will be a bit faster, as most of the sights are pointed out the first time through.

Penns Cave Exit
Entrance to Cave from Lake

After finishing the tour and heading back up to the gift shop, there’s other activities such as the wildlife bus tour, gem mining, and a maze. Combination tickets can be purchased to include the wildlife tour and maze.

Bags for gemstone mining can be purchased in the gift shop, and then taken out front of the gift shop to do the actual mining. There are several types and sizes of bags, including an arrowhead bag and a gem bag. The color of the tie at the top matters, so be sure to notice what type of bag you are purchasing.

Mining Bags
Mining Bags

There is a small snack bar in the gift shop that offers some food options. Restrooms are available in a separate building.

Tips for Visiting Penn’s Cave & Wildlife Park

  • Bring a sweatshirt or jacket, as the temperature of the cave is around 52 degrees year round.
  • Reserve your tickets online in advance, as time slots can sell out.

Other things to do Near Penn’s Cave

Check out Bernel Road Park.

Post Author: karenbeth24